Healthcare and Standards and FHIR
I am not sure that standards (like HL7, DICOM) are very necessary or relevant in the connected health world. Think about this way - HL7 and DICOM were standardized improvements over then-current adhoc, non-standard network communications approaches.
Most of the connected health devices I know use very simple to implement HTTPS-based APIs. With such approaches to connectivity, standardization (in the sense of DICOM) is not only necessary, but it’s counter-productive. Having worked w/ DICOM for a few years, its standardization leads you into a posture where you think all systems are compliant, but you can still see incompatible approaches to DICOM (especially CDs and newer additions to the spec, like DICOM GSPS). HL7 is even worse (the common joke is write once, run once :) !
So, having disparate HTTPS APIs feeding the system is not only easier to implement, but allows for simple architectural approaches (instead of using lower-level protocols like MLLP or binary protocols like DICOM) that can be reused to implement all sorts of integrations (connecting to FitBit to get data isn’t much different than connecting to Nike to get their data).
We’re finally entering the era of API-driven healthcare development, away from integration engine-driven development that’s been the reality in healthcare for the last few decades. As a matter of fact, all you have to look at is [FHIR] (http://www.hl7.org/implement/standards/fhir/). This is the future of healthcare communication, and the future of HL7.
Tags: hl7 fhir dicom HealthIT healthcare