Profiling FHIR in DSTU-2

As we mentioned in the previous post, profiles have changed significantly in the next DSTU.

Profiling is a really important part of FHIR. The resource themselves are designed to be quite generic ‘building blocks’ that can be used in many different contexts. If you take a look at one, you’ll notice that almost all of the properties are optional and even where coded properties have Terminologies assigned to them, these are often quite ‘loose’ and designed to be amended by a Profile

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A simple FHIR extension viewer

One of the big changes that occurred in the DSTU-2 candidate was that the profiling mechanism has been substantially improved (albeit a bit more complicated than it was). In particular, extension definitions have been moved out of the profile resource, and are now a specific resource in their own right, which allows better re-use.

We’ll take a deeper look at extensionDefinitions and Profiles in a little while (they are also a topic in the next connectathon), but I thought I’d share a simple tool I wrote to help locate and visualize the ones that are being developed at the moment. You can view the tool here.

It retrieves all the definitions from the specification, and then lists them in a number of different ways (by name, by resource, by context) with some basic searching/filtering. You can select a definition, and then visualize it either as JSON or XML, as well as a simple text view.

A couple of notes:

  • It retrieves the definitions using this call: It would be better to load them directly from a FHIR server, but the build process is not currently loading them properly. I’ll adapt it what that is corrected.
  • As it loads all the definitions from a single source into memory, it won’t scale at all well – but then, I suspect it’ll be redundant before that is a problem.
  • I wrote it to run in Chrome. It should run in any recent browser, but no guarantees…
  • This is not a production level app and may/will break! Let me know if so and I’ll figure out what went wrong. No specific SLA though…

You’ll also appreciate why I haven’t attempted a new career as a web developer 🙂

I intend to enhance it as time goes on, specifically adding profiles and possibly basic editing but any suggestions and/or bug reports) are welcome!

Merry Christmas to you all!





Skype Chat Archives

One of the primary ways that the FHIR community interact is via Skype conversations. They are free to join (any existing member can add others) and offer a very rapid way of getting assistance and making comments.

The conversations can be a bit of a firehose at times, and it’s easy to lose sight of comments and notes that you might want to remember, so some months ago Josh set up a system whereby the archives are posted in a more convenient format to read.

It’s easy to forget this – which is why Grahame made the following comment recently:

which reminds me – periodic reminder for all participants on this skype channel:

– archives are posted publicly at
– your contributions are covered by the HL7 operations manual (particularly section 16), see

(most importantly this says, you yield the copyright of material arising from this discussion to HL7)

There are plenty of other resources for those working with FHIR – as detailed in the wiki, but the skype chat is one of the more popular ones, so the archives can be very useful!

(It’s also a timely reminder that everything posted on the chat is available publicly…)

More about argonaut

This time from John Halamka

Project Argonaut: from Grahame

I guess that most readers of this blog are also subscribed to the FHIR list, but in case you’re not – the following email from Grahame was sent last night, so I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing it in full here:

From Grahame Grieve on the FHIR List:

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The FHIR Choir in Amsterdam

And another video from Rene from the recent dev days:


Don’t blame me for the singing – I wasn’t even there…

The Circle of Care in FHIR

I was asked an interesting question yesterday by one of my colleagues at Orion Health – how to best represent a patients ‘Circle of Care’ (or Care Circle) in FHIR. Now, there are a number of different interpretations of what a Care Circle actually is, but in our scenario it’s all about relationships between a patient, and those who are involved in their care (which includes clinical and non-clinical alike).

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Project Argonaut

An interesting development in the US using FHIR to access data in EHR systems:

exciting times!

More FHIR videos

Rene Spronk has created a number of video’s that feature FHIR – in fact we looked at one just recently where the FHIR chiefs signed a poster of themselves in Chicago (with the proceeds to go to a good cause – I live in hope…)

I had occasion to go back and have a look at some of them, and there are a couple of recent ones worth mentioning – one serious, and one not so much…

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Contemplating compartments in FHIR

This is one of those posts that I am really writing for myself, so I know where go when I (again) get confused by FHIR compartments.

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