March 23, 2017
This weekend, HL7 is teaming up with AMIA to bring together a new type of FHIR event, the first ever FHIR Datathon. It takes place the day before the AMIA Joint Summits on Translational Science meeting. It’s a bit like a FHIR Connectathon, but perhaps slightly less geeky—or maybe just geeky in a different way. Instead of a room full of developers, we will have a room full of clinical informaticists. Instead of people writing code for their systems, and exploring new ways they can use the FHIR standard, we will have people learning about the power of the standard through data exploration.
The world is heading full speed ahead into an API economy. Healthcare, though perhaps a little behind, is poised to rapidly catch up. Many of the largest EHR vendors already support some sort of API interface into their systems. Nearly all have announced their support for the FHIR standard and are actively building out their capabilities, and all of these new standards-based interfaces represent an unprecedented opportunity. Like never before, data in EHR systems will become much more available.
All of the data access is very promising and at the HL7-AMIA Datathon we plan on taking a look at how we can turn the promise into reality. We will have a bunch of researchers, analysts, and implementers all in the room together exploring how the FHIR standard can be used for research and discovery. This is great not only because we will be exploring more ways in which the FHIR standard can be used, but we will be expanding the reach and usage of the FHIR standard to new communities and stakeholders that have not used it before—people whose organizations could greatly benefit from the opportunity that FHIR represents, and will be able to do so now that they are starting to get hands-on experience with it. The relative simplicity of the FHIR standard as well as the growing community and available tools will make it much more attainable for a larger audience than what was possible with traditional interoperability standards. That doesn’t mean just improved interoperability, but improved data integration, use, and understanding.
When I heard about this event, I thought it was a wonderful idea. When HL7 asked me to administer and MC it, I was very honored and said yes immediately. I was so excited about the opportunity this event represented, I asked my company, Infor, if they would be willing to sponsor it. Story short, Infor is the proud sponsor of the first ever HL7-AMIA Datathon. We are hoping next year that we will be able to say it was the first annual HL7-AMIA Datathon.
In my next blog post, I plan on providing some detail about all the great tools and activities undertaken at the Datathon. There are some pretty exciting capabilities we are introducing. Stay tuned.
-Corey Spears, Director of Healthcare Interoperability Standards for Healthcare