HHS announces FHIR Code-A-Thon to encourage use of 'developer-friendly' flexible standard

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The Health Level Seven International-developed Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources has been a dark horse of sorts in the national interoperability discussion. While vendors, the federal government and various coalitions publish statements, ally or butt heads over whether or not the proper standards for efficient data exchange exist, and whether or not they're widely applicable, HL7's FHIR is being tested in healthcare settings around the world with significant success. The standards use an open application programming interface, which CMS has already begun to leverage to build the next generation of it's BlueButton program, which will enable Medicare beneficiaries to publish and share their data in a standard structured format.

A new post on HHS' Idea Lab blog announced a two-day Code-A-Thon it plans to host in April to encourage a cross-pollination of ideas. The post also delves deeper into why FHIR standards hold promise to improve data exchange in healthcare.

"Major players across the healthcare industry have switched on to FHIR (just Google 'Project Argonaut' for more background on activities in the commercial sector)," wrote Mark Scrimshire, entrepreneur-in-residence for HHS and CMS.

Mr. Scrimshire outlines how federal agencies, including the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration, among many others, are also "playing with FHIR" to solve important health data problems.

The Code-A-Thon will take place April 1-2, 2016 in Washington, D.C. It will include an innovation competition and the winners will have the chance to showcase their work at the Health Datapalooza in Washington, D.C. in May. Additionally, the post urges readers to complete a survey on who is using FHIR standards and how.

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