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FHIR: Simplifying Electronic Health Records (EHR) in India

Updated: Jun 12

What is FHIR?

FHIR stands for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. It's a standardised healthcare data format developed by Health Level Seven International (HL7). Think of FHIR as a common language that allows different electronic health record (EHR) systems to communicate and exchange patient data seamlessly.

How Does FHIR Help EHR Transmission?

Prior to FHIR, exchanging data between different EHR systems was a challenge due to incompatible formats and structures. FHIR addresses these issues by providing:

  • Standardized Data Format: FHIR defines a common format for representing clinical data, such as allergies, medications, and diagnoses. This allows different systems to understand the information consistently.

  • Flexible Structure: FHIR offers a flexible structure that can accommodate a wide range of data types and clinical needs.

  • RESTful APIs: FHIR utilises web-based APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that facilitate easy data exchange between EHR systems through secure connections.

Benefits of FHIR for EHR Transmission:

  • Improved Interoperability: FHIR enables seamless data exchange between disparate EHR systems, allowing healthcare providers to access a patient's complete medical history regardless of where the data was originally captured.

  • Enhanced Care Coordination: Better access to patient data facilitates better collaboration between different healthcare providers involved in a patient's care.

  • Streamlined Data Sharing: FHIR simplifies data sharing for research purposes, public health initiatives, and improved patient outcomes.

India's FHIR Implementation for EHRs:

The Indian government recognizes the importance of interoperability in healthcare and is actively promoting the adoption of FHIR for EHR data exchange. Here's how India plans to leverage FHIR:

  • National Digital Health Mission (NDHM): The NDHM has adopted FHIR as the standard for data exchange within the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) framework. This enables secure sharing of patient health information across various healthcare stakeholders.

  • FHIR Implementation Guides: India is developing its own FHIR implementation guides tailored to the specific needs of the Indian healthcare system. These guides will provide a roadmap for healthcare providers and developers on how to implement FHIR for EHR data exchange.

Finding Details on India's FHIR Implementation:

Here are some resources where you can find details on India's FHIR implementation for EHRs:

By adopting FHIR, India is paving the way for a more connected and efficient healthcare system, ultimately benefiting both patients and healthcare providers. Drona Pay has adapters that help integrate with FHIR compliant messages to process healthcare claims. Drona Pay’s real time decisioning platform will leverage FHIR along with other standards like ICD-10, SNOMED CT and LOINC to automate health claims processing. 

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