Colorado HIE launches FHIR initiative to improve patient data access

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Colorado HIE launches FHIR initiative to improve patient data access

Health information exchanges (HIEs) are designed to enable the sharing of patient data. But if users lack the tools to easily access this information, the purpose of HIEs is defeated.
To ensure authorized users can obtain the patient data they need, the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) has launched an initiative that utilizes Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) to provide user-configurable access to patient data in the CORHIO HIE.
“Starting next month, CORHIO will add FHIR-based API access to the CORHIO environment,” said CEO Morgan Honea. “This enables access to one of the largest healthcare data environments in the United States. Our first use case is based on consumer-driven consent which will begin to bridge the divide between the clinical data ecosystem and the consumer-facing application domain.”
The project is funded by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. CORHIO announced the initiative at the Prime Health Innovation Summit in May.  
FHIR is a next-generation standards framework developed by Health Level Seven International (HL7), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing technologies for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information. FHIR solutions are built from a set of modular components designed to be easily assembled into working systems that solve real world clinical and administrative problems.
On its website, HL7 explains that FHIR can be used to enable “mobile phone apps, cloud communications, EHR-based data sharing, server communication in large institutional healthcare providers, and much more.”
CORHIO said use of this new technology is in sync with the organization’s dedication to an interoperable approach to improving health outcomes.
“Without access to all the information available on a patient, including medications, test results and recent hospitalizations or emergency room visits, providers cannot make the best, most informed decisions for the patient,” the organization said.
CORHIO also said it plans to advance use of HIEs beyond clinical data to access and share new types of patient information, including social determinants of health such as housing, transportation, and financial.