On March 22, HL7 International released the newest version – Release 3 – of the FHIR standard to the public. The latest version is the last step before the FHIR standard moves from the “trial use” status to the “normative” status. Normative refers to the final version of the standard that implementors should conform to moving forward. FHIR progress continues.
Between FHIR release 2 and 3, HL7 changed from using "DSTU" (Draft Standard for Trial Use) to just simply "STU" (Standard for Trial Use) to reflect the maturity of the FHIR specification. Release 3 is far beyond draft specifications and has been widely implemented by technology vendors throughout the healthcare industry.
According to HL7, FHIR Version 3 is the culmination of 18 months of extensive work to incorporate changes and enhancement requests received from implementation partners across the world, including the Argonaut Project.
According to Grahame Grieve, chief architect of FHIR:
"The FHIR community invested a huge amount of work in this release – hundreds of people have contributed to the specification, and there have been thousands of change proposals processed (>2400). Most of these change proposals arose from 3 different places:
- Implementation Experience (Trial use is working)
- Alignment with other standards
- Internal Quality Review processes
Some of the key changes:
- Added support for Clinical Decision Support and Clinical Quality Measures
- Broadened functionality to cover key clinical workflows
- Further development of Terminology Services, and support for Financial Management
- Defined an RDF format, and how FHIR relates to Linked Data
- Incremental improvements and increased maturity of the RESTful API and conformance framework
In addition to FHIR Release 3, we’ve also published the first release of the US Core Implementation Guide. This generalizes the lessons learnt through the Argonaut process, and publishes the agreements as a base profile for all use of FHIR in the US context. ONC and other implementation guides will build on this, and the Core Implementation Guide will provide a general base for consistency across all these contexts."