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HHS Planning FHIR Code-a-Thon for Public and Private Healthcare Developers

December 30, 2015
by Heather Landi
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to sponsor a code-a-thon event in April to help drive the development of innovative solutions using HL7’s Fast Health Interoperability Resource (FHIR) application programming interface.

According to an HHS.gov Idea Lab blog post, the event will take place in April 1 and 2 in Washington, D.C. and is expected to bring together developers from federal and state-based organizations with entrepreneurs, startups and research organizations to build solutions using the open-source s HL7’s (Health Level Seven International) FHIR API.

According to the blog post written by Mark Scrimshire, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at HHS, the Code-a-thon event will include a friendly competition and the winners will have the opportunity to showcase their work at the Health Datapalooza event in May in Washington, D.C.

“We want to find the innovators across federal government that are planning or piloting FHIR-based solutions and invite you to the code-a-thon to meet with others who are working with FHIR in the public and private sector. I recently attended a HL7 FHIR Connect-a-thon and it is clear that there are tremendous benefits to be gained from sharing what we are working on,” Scrimshire, who is also the co-founder of HealthCa.mp, a consumer-focused healthcare company, wrote.

FHIR is an open source, developer-friendly API for exchanging data in healthcare. FHIR brings together friendly REST APIs and structured data formats. FHIR is managed by the International HL7 standards organization.

Referring to FHIR as the “hottest API in healthcare,” Scrimshire stated in the blog post “innovators across the federal agencies that are dealing with health (numerous agencies within HHS, the Veterans Administration and the DoD) are developing innovative solutions with FHIR.”

“They are ‘playing with FHIR’ to solve real health data challenges. We want to demonstrate the amazing amount of innovation that is taking place and how it is being used to fuel improvements in the delivery of care,” he wrote.

Scrimshire’s work at HHS includes working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’s Chief Data Officer Niall Brennan on designing the next generation of BlueButton.

“We are building a data API that will enable Medicare beneficiaries to connect their CMS data to the applications, services and research programs they trust. We are accomplishing this by building BlueButton On FHIR. Using the FHIR framework to publish information for beneficiaries in a standard structured format,” he wrote.

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