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University of Wisconsin Puts FHIR to Work


A research project led by Dr. Richard Bruce of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is now underway to use the latest iteration of the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard to improve radiology workflow and care quality. Working with their vendor partner, McKesson Imaging & Workflow Solutions, the university has deployed a prototype FHIR interface module which connects Conserus Imaging Fellow™, a McKesson vendor-agonistic workflow solution, to the university’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.

“FHIR represents the future for modern standards-based interfaces not only between enterprise health care applications, but between future patient apps and health care systems. Our goal is to validate that useful information can be exchanged between separate enterprise systems implementing the standard independently. Early signs show the promise of FHIR is real,” said Dr. Bruce. “FHIR allows applications to automatically query for the precise information of interest from the EMR in real-time and present it to the user in a context-appropriate manner.”

Dr. Bruce further explained, “The best part is that this was all accomplished without proprietary, vendor-specific code. McKesson recognizes the impact and value of a standards-based approach. We should, theoretically, be able to drop in another FHIR-compliant data source and draw information from that just as easily. The long awaited world of plug-and-play information exchange is becoming a reality.”

“McKesson understands that our customers are faced with pressures in the shift to value-based care. These pressures continue to impact the need for cost efficiencies and better manage a patient population and its outcomes,” says Itai Galili, director of product management, McKesson Imaging & Workflow Solutions. “By working with our customers, we are developing solutions that put standards-based interoperability on the forefront. Specifically, emphasis is placed on compliance with industry standards such as FHIR.”

Dr. Bruce plans to continue the research project in the coming months, conducting a structured exploration of the range of information flowing through the FHIR interface to see how it can be employed to address the widest variety of clinical care scenarios. This research will involve a large number of radiologists covering a variety of specialties within the field. “FHIR is still a young standard, and the information that can be provided through it will only get richer going forward,” said Dr. Bruce. “We want to see what is possible now, and also what will become possible with each new update to the standard and resource object available for query on the network.”

About the University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public, land-grant institution that offers a complete spectrum of studies through 13 schools and colleges. With more than 43,000 students from every U.S. state and 126 countries, UW–Madison is the flagship campus of Wisconsin’s state university system. UW–Madison is a formidable research engine, ranking sixth among U.S. universities as measured by dollars spent on research. Faculty, staff, and students are motivated by a tradition known as the Wisconsin Idea that the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state and beyond.

About McKesson Corporation:

McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 5th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to making the business of healthcare run better. We partner with payers, hospitals, physician offices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and others across the spectrum of care to build healthier organizations that deliver better care to patients in every setting. McKesson helps its customers improve their financial, operational, and clinical performance with solutions that include pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management, healthcare information technology, and business and clinical services. For more information, visit www.mckesson.com.

Trademark Information:

FHIR and the FHIR flame logo are registered trademarks of Health Level Seven International.

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