A simple app to help using the Mapping Language

So I’ve just been at the FHIR devdays in Amsterdam which was really interesting (of course – attending a devdays is a ‘must do if possible’ for FHIR implementers). One of the presentations I attended was on the FHIR mapping language – more specifically Firely’s implementation of the mapping engine (currently in a ‘technical preview’ state).

I’ve always been interested in the mapping language, and its ability to create portable mapping files – allowing specialists to create the mapping instructions, which can then be used by any compliant engine, as the following image illustrates:

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Validating a resource

It’s often helpful to be able to determine whether a particular resource instance is compliant with a given profile or profiles – including the the core profiles defined in the FHIR specification.

The FHIR project has provided validation functionality that can be used for this. It can be downloaded from the spec  and has also been incorporated into a number of the on-line reference servers. This post describes a simple app that acts as an interface to these servers.

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Updating a resource using patch

We’ve received a bit of pushback from the community regarding our proposal to use custom operations for updating the Patient in NHI upgrade project. But the development team really isn’t keen on using PUT updates of the complete resource – the main reason being that of ‘accidental’ data changes when the updater doesn’t return the parts of the resource that should remain unaltered. (Apparently, this is not uncommon with messaging based updates that are kind of similar).

I mentioned in that post that we didn’t really take a close look at PATCH updates – but a couple of days ago I saw this trail in the FHIR chat which is about a similar project (slightly different requirements) and thought I really should take a closer look at PATCH.

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Slicing with Forge

This is a ‘so I can remember how I did it later’ post.

Slicing in FHIR is where you take an element that can repeat and create ‘sub-lists’ which have specific values. The example in the spec involves slicing the Observation.component element to represent a Blood Pressure measurement where you want to record the systolic and diastolic values in a single observation.

In my example I wanted to create a slice on Patient.identifier as part of the work we’re doing for the NHI (National Health Identifier) interface. Because patients are frequently duplicated in the NHI registry, it’s common for a single person to have a number of different identifiers – the current ‘active’ one, and any number of ‘old’ ones – numbers that were assigned to duplicate entries than have been merged or linked (we call them dormant ones).

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Thoughts about updating Registries

In New Zealand we are lucky enough to have had a national patient registry for some years which serves as a unique identifier of patients in New Zealand – the National Health Index or NHI. The Registry is an instance of an EMPI (Enterprise Master Patient Index) and currently  exposes a SOAP interface that can be accessed by clients across a protected network.

In order to make it available for more users we are working in a project to expose a FHIR API that will offer similar functionality to the existing SOAP one, be simpler to use, available across the public Internet and so accessible to a wider range of clients in support of the healthcare ecosystem. We’re also looking at similar work for Provider registries.

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FHIR Bundle Visualizer

So a little while back I wrote about an app I developed during the WGM Connectathon to send an HL7 v2 message to a converter app, and display the response (a FHIR Bundle) in a number of visualizations after validating it using the community supplied validation tool (actually, exposed by the reference servers via the $validate operation). It occurred to me that this visualization might be of use to implementers who are developing query applications – such as the CSIRO Primary Care project for example, so I pulled it out into a separate application.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a beer box!

At the last HL7 Working Group Meeting my good friend Brian Postlethwaite shared with us a video on how he made a plane out of a beer carton! This is so quintessentially Australian (and New Zealand), that I just had to share…

(Can’t wait to see what he does for an encore!)

Updated: here is the encore. This is why New Zealand always beats Australia at Rugby –  we know that the idea is to go BETWEEN the poles…  (The best bit us at 24 seconds)…