Will FHIR be used with telehealth and telemedicine?
Answer from HL7 FHIR Governance Board Co-Chair and Corepoint Health CTO Dave Shaver:
The initial motivating examples for FHIR’s creation was, in fact, mobile health. So the distinction in my mind between telehealth and mobile health is that telehealth is remote presence. I’m able to talk to a physician through a webcam or through some sort of feed that can perhaps lead to a remote diagnosis.
Mobile health is, in my mind, simply being able to get access to data remotely.
A great example of that might look like: I’ve got an outpatient EMR and, of course, I’ve got my own database. When I’m sitting in my office, I’ve got the ability to put in a prescription and that prescription is then sent off to the cloud. My patient can then pick up that prescription at their favorite pharmacy.
The problem I have occurs after hours: How does the provider access and interact with the database so I can request a refill?
Historically, the way this works is I’ve got my cloud-based application and I’ve got a database in the cloud where the provider has to push and deliver the information all the time. So after hours, the caregiver would be required to log in to the cloud-based application and authorize the refill request. You can imagine that FHIR would allow us to do a couple things.
Rather than require the caregiver to present herself or himself to the cloud via the database in the sky, the provider would be allowed to directly gain access to the data through the cloud.
Taking it one step further using a FHIR API, you could imagine eliminating the cloud aspect entirely and the caregiver could have a mobile application that allows direct interaction with the database. Rather than it being a cloud-based sign on process in the lab application, this FHIR API allows me to quickly gain access to just the areas of the record that the caregiver needs.