· Apr 30, 2016 3m read

Evergreening Epic Practitioner Information with Open Epic and FHIR

Getting around to wrapping up a short tour in Professional Playtime, I wanted to share my experience at the HIMSS FHIR Connectathon I participated in out in Indy in April.

A quick note about the venue, aside from the sponsors, and those who put this thing on... great job.  The venue was amazing, hosted by/at the beautiful campus of Eskenazi Health and in a city that really gave a damn about innovations in our space.  The food was great, the caffeine was continual, and was even rescued by the great host Brian Norris (Ryan Seacrest of Connectathons anybody?) with a saving throw for Starbucks on Sunday morning.

Props to the sponsors too: Hall Render, InterSystems, Epic, Eskenazi... Also managed to hang with the InterSystems folks, Dr. Russell Leftwich and  Gayle Leinberry.  I got to meet Janet Campbell from Epic too everybody!

We even got a kickoff via WebCam from the renowned John D. Halamka via webcast, which was great, but I cant tell a lie it kind of creeped me out.  It sorta looked like a Boston based Healthcare IT overlord was broadcasting influence over us, which is correct I guess, but see the uncanny comparison to the movie Equilibirium with Christian Bale ?

EquilibriumJohn Halamka HIMSS Indy FHIR


Prelude to a RANT

I am NOT a FHIR Fanboy.  I was totally in this for the Hall Render services prize. I get it though, developers young and old understand REST in a myriad of programming languages, this in itself is pretty cool stuff, and the speed of which these teams got access to clinical data was amazing.  I talked quite a bit here, and cant get on the bandwagon of bashing Epic for not enabling write access in FHIR to enable some of these solutions false hope that they are going to be able to do this in the real world.  First of all, its not that the EMR doesnt want your amazing data, but at the heart of this is something very fundamental,  its not your EMR, and its certainly not a magic storage facility for your data that you just PUT stuff in (no pun intended) without cost and expect somebody to make sense of it, store it, present it, and oh by the way, back it up and host it.  This type of "Data Firewalling" has been resident in HL7 implementations for years... I mean just because you shoot us an ADT message, do you think we are going to admit somebody ?  No.  You have to be an "authenticated system" and be trusted by the implementation of the EMR.

So let's establish some trust...

Piggy backing on what I did out in Phoenix at Global Summit 2016 with a National Provider Directory, amidst having a ridiculously good time, I managed to pull off some pretty cool concepts of Master Data Management with the new InterSystems HealthShare Provider Directory.  

Continuing on my RANT of the trust of the data, all I really wanted to accomplish at this hackaton was the Evergreening of the Epic data through the Open Epic API.  In a nutshell, "Evergreening" is a Master Data Management concept in which an entity of a particular interest is either retrieved or pushed to the MDM hub that matches with information in the Hub.  The MDM hub then enriches the information in the Hub from the original payload, and then sends an update in the exact same format.  For me,  this was a simple GET of a practioner with good data from Open Epic, and a PUT of practitioner information with "gooder" data in the exact same format to OpenEpic.  That format was FHIR folks.

Now, lets have a conversation at the validity of the Data I have and want to PUT in the Epic System.  Its consolidated, has high data quality, is governed, is related, and is from what I can tell, pretty valuable... can I have write access to the practioner API much like you do for Credentialing with HL7 MFN?  Its a different conversation.

So that is what I did, on Saturday did a GET, on Sunday did a PUT, and I was donesies (I know right? busy, busy, busy) without further ado, here was my submission for the Connectathon, you can download it to the right or check it out via SpeakerDeck too:

Fun, Fun, Fun... off to the MIT Hacking Medicine Grand Hack event next week... get a hold of me if you want to get in a technical argument or something.


-Ron Sweeney

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