Health Language Blog

FHIR: An Evolving Opportunity

Posted on 09/08/16 | Comments

Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) from Health Level Seven (HL7) is making waves across the healthcare industry. In fact, EHR vendors including Cerner, Epic and Meditech are quickly embracing the next-generation framework for its potential to advance data mobility and interoperability.

While still under development, the FHIR framework leverages the latest web standards and applies a tight focus on implementation, while also offering significant flexibility. In terms of more meaningful exchange of information, FHIR will provide the infrastructure to make data:

  • Available easily on demand
  • Retrievable across disparate EMR and other HIT applications
  • Understandable using common healthcare language


Topics: HL7, interoperability, FHIR

Capturing Both Context and Conditions in Family Health History

Posted on 03/20/13 | Comments

Recording a structured family health history is a menu requirement in Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, both for eligible providers* and eligible hospitals**. Both specifications require that the health history of first-degree relatives be recorded, and provide the choice of recording the history either in SNOMED CT or using the HL7 Pedigree standard. One of the key issues we’ve been working with clients on is how to capture both the context (which relative is being discussed) and the condition (medical issues associated with the relative).

The HL7 Pedigree standard provides very explicit directions on expressing context (using the Family Member Value Set). To express the condition, the Pedigree standard is flexible, allowing the use of a variety of terminologies (e.g. SNOMED CT, ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM) to capture the conditions that each relative has. Examples of the XML format for the HL7 Pedigree standard can be generated using the US Surgeon General website My Family Health Portrait.


Topics: SNOMED, HL7, Family health history, terminology

Understanding HL7 and its Fit with Meaningful Use

Posted on 03/01/13 | Comments


While Meaningful Use is on everyone’s mind, semantic interoperability may be an unfamiliar concept. Semantic interoperability, medical vocabulary, Meaningful Use, LOINC ®, and HL7 might seem even more of an alphabet soup.  How do all these pieces fit together and how does it help my organization?

Healthcare is complex. The ability to exchange diverse clinical information generated during delivery of healthcare is essential to ensuring continuity of care and patient safety.  Electronic exchange of information can occur

  • between providers
  • between providers and patients
  • between organizations
  • between care settings


Topics: Meaningful use, Medical vocabulary, LOINC, HL7, Healthcare interoperability