Posted in Standards

The importance of architecture to healthcare interoperability

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
The importance of architecture to healthcare interoperability

There’s a lot of excitement in healthcare around using application programming interfaces (APIs) and open standards such as HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) to achieve widespread interoperability.
But HIMSS Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Steve Wretling says the importance of quality architecture in supporting interoperability can’t be underestimated.
In an interview with Healthcare IT News Editor-in-Chief Tom Sullivan, Wretling discusses IT architecture, the excitement of innovation, and the many opportunities available in healthcare for technology entrepreneurs.
Asked about data interoperability, Wretling said: “There’s so much good happening and we could leverage it so much more. When the JASON task force published its Robust Health Data Infrastructure report in 2014 there was a rough draft of an architecture and what took hold was the APIs and that’s great. However, an architecture needs to be developed to see interoperability beyond APIs.”
The JASON task force was created under the auspices of the Health IT Policy and Health IT Standards Committees of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to analyze and synthesize feedback related to the JASON Report, which was issued in 2013 and argued for an “urgent focus on creating a ‘unifying software architecture’ to migrate data” from legacy systems.
Wretling also expressed optimism that FHIR is approaching maturity.
“I believe version 4 of FHIR will be a normative standard,” he tells Sullivan. “If you’re on version 2 and I’m on version 3, I can’t necessarily work with your FHIR. 4 will be a true go-forward standard. So hospitals and services providers should start demanding the types of apps they need to fit into their workflow. Startups should be looking at APIs as the glue that will connect disparate systems.”
You can read the entire interview here.