Where there are sparks…

One of the (many) things I like about FHIR is the fact the test servers were established very early in the process, so that the ideas that were being proposed could be tried out before becoming part of the specification. They form a core part of the connectathons that are held at each HL7 Working Group Meeting, although these days there are other servers springing up – which is a great thing!

Originally there were two servers: Grahames (which is built in Java) and Ewouts (which is .net based).  (Grahame and Ewout are part of the 3 person ‘core team’ of FHIR – the other being Lloyd McKenzie. In fact, the FHIR logo can be thought of as “the sign of the three” – with apologies to  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.)

In my examples thus far, I’ve been using Grahames server, but they work equally well on Ewouts server – so the following examples from the Elbonian proposal for a FHIR Patient registry work the same as on Grahames:

Note that the servers won’t always have the same version of FHIR (or the same data) – due to the current rapidity of FHIR evolution. This will stabilize once the spec reaches DSTU early next year. In fact, you should always check a servers conformance resource to see what version it supports.

Some other things:

  • Ewouts server is actually developed by a company based in the Netherlands called Furore, and he has a blog on FHIR that is worth following – it tends to be more technical than mine.
  • Furore is one of the early supporters of FHIR, and are planning a commercial FHIR server – which is great to hear. I do believe that FHIR is going to be a disruptive influence in the Health IT space, and the availability of commercial grade servers based on widely adopted standards is a key part of that. They also designed the current logo.
  • Ewout is also planning a couple of cool tools in the FHIR space:
    • A server validation tool codenamed ‘sprinkler’ that can be used to check that a server correctly implements FHIR, and disclosing any deficiencies.
    • A profile designer. Profiles are a very important part of FHIR, but not easy to understand, so an easy to use tool to develop them is a ‘good thing’ for the spec as a whole.

When I know more about the new tools, I’ll post about them…

About David Hay
I'm an independent contractor working with a number of Organizations in the health IT space. I'm an HL7 Fellow, Chair Emeritus of HL7 New Zealand and a co-chair of the FHIR Management Group. I have a keen interest in health IT, especially health interoperability with HL7 and the FHIR standard. I'm the author of a FHIR training and design tool - clinFHIR - which is sponsored by InterSystems Ltd.

One Response to Where there are sparks…

  1. There’s also another server out there: Josh Mandel’s and even better, his is open source and has the coolest URI: https://api.fhir.me/

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