The outlook for HL7 FHIR profiles in Sweden

University essay from KTH/Medicinteknik och hälsosystem

Abstract: The Vision for eHealth infers that Sweden should be best in the world to utilize the opportunities of the digitization by 2025. One of three particularly important areas of action to realize the vision is standardization of e.g. exchange of information. HL7 FHIR is a modern standard for interoperability within e-health. HL7 FHIR enables the exchange of information between different healthcare information systems in an easy way. The basic building blocks in HL7 FHIR are called resources. These represent healthcare entities of some kind, e.g. Patient, Medication, Care plan, and Device. A base set of resources should either together, or by themselves, be able to satisfy the most common use cases in healthcare. A set of rules about a resource's content is called a profile, which is used for defining extensions and constraints on a resource. Profiles can be used to customize the standard to everything from a small local use-case to characteristics common for a whole country, so-called national profiles. This master thesis project sought to investigate the opportunities and restrictions with HL7 FHIR profiling by mapping the outlook of e-health stakeholders in Sweden. The project conducted a mixed method approach. Surveys were sent out to regions, county councils and private caregivers and interviews were held with national stakeholders, industry suppliers, HL7 Sweden and subject experts. The qualitative data was processed through a thematic analysis and the quantitative data was processed through a descriptive analysis. The results showed that there were positive views on governing and maintaining HL7 FHIR and FHIR profiling on a national level and to the establishment of national FHIR profiles. However, questions remain on how it shold be done. Among caregivers there were in general positive attitudes towards HL7 FHIR as a standard for interoperability and towards a possible implementation. However, the implementation level was low and specific knowledge of HL7 FHIR profiles is yet needed.

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