Project Argonaut and FHIR

Most readers of this blog will be familiar with Project Argonaut – a project announced last year under the aegis of HL7 but funded by a number of US Vendors & Healthcare Providers to help accelerate the development of FHIR, and also the ‘SMART on FHIR‘ project.

Last week there was an on-line kick-off meeting attended by almost 100 people to describe the scope and purpose of the project, and to invite participation in the next phase. The project team were at pains to emphasise that the purpose of Argonaut is to accelerate the current work – it is not a ‘fork’ of the specification, or in competition with it in any way. All of the outputs remain fully open source – in fact they define it as a ‘code and documentation sprint’ – one that is time based and will finish once the objectives have been achieved (though, to my mind, follow-on projects are likely).

From a scope perspective, the following is taken directly from the presentation given at that seminar:

The Argonaut Project is refining and packaging specifications and implementation guides for:

  • FHIR RESTful API for data element query of the Common MU Data Set
  • FHIR RESTful API for document-level query of static documents (such as CCDA)
  • SMART on FHIR OAuth2 security profile for authorization of enterprise-approved applications to retrieve health data
  • SMART on FHIR OpenID Connect profile for single sign-on to enterprise-approved applications

Ultimate goal is to broaden the OAuth2 use cases to include authorizations for accesses that cross organizational boundaries, but the current use cases focus on simpler scenarios involving the use of hosted and mobile apps to access resources within a single organization. Specifically:

  • Hosted applications that enable a patient to access her own EHR data
  • Mobile apps that enable a patient to access her own EHR data
  • Hosted applications that enable a clinician to access data within a single EHR
  • Mobile apps that enable a clinician to access data within a single EHR


  • The FHIR Data Query Profile and FHIR Document Query Profile and accompanying Implementation Guides will be included as an informative ballot mapped to the general FHIR DSTU R2
  • The Security Implementation Guide will eventually be incorporated in the HL7 balloting process but for this project will be developed in parallel to accompany the FHIR Data Query and Document Query Profiles and Implementation Guides

The project is now at the stage where wider involvement from the community is being sought to actually participate in the testing. There are 3 ‘levels’ of participation:

  • Pilot Implementations – for organizations that are ready to begin pre-production deployment
  • Synchronous testing & Connectathons – for organisations that aren’t ready to go live, but do have the internal resources to participate in real-time virtual connectathons
  • Asynchronous Testing – for organizations that do wish to participate – but at their own pace rather than at the time that the virtual connectathons are held.

The time line is pretty tight – by the end of April they hope to have completed the following steps:

  1. Query for patient demographics with no added security layer
  2. Add: Query for CCDA and security for hosted (confidential) applications
  3. Add: Query for additional data fields (Problems?, Medications?)
  4. Add: Security for mobile (public) applications

If you do wish to participate – and the more the merrier! – then contact Jennifer Monahan at jmonahan{at}maehc{dot}org (email included with permission)

exciting times!

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.

6 Responses to Project Argonaut and FHIR

  1. tlukasik says:

    RE “..from the presentation given at that seminar” <= how can one get a copy of this resource?

    Is it published on-line anywhere for viewing, if not downloading? I'd expect that given the open source nature of the work products that the presentation materials would be able to be shared and distributed.


    • David Hay says:

      Hi Thomas – I expect that they will be uploaded to the argonaut web site linked at the top of the post (especially if the team knows that there is interest in them!)

      • tlukasik says:

        And who do you think I can haunt if the resources never show up? It’s kind of disappointing to see both the ‘Documents and Presentations’ and ‘Minutes’ lists showing ‘1 – 0 of 0’ items. Maybe someone with some influence can put a bug in their ear to make that page look like something is going on. It’s kind of feeling a little “insider-ish” without there being any content posted for the benefit of all those folks that they’d like to participate.

      • Clearly there are plenty of process points still to be worked out. I’m working hard to ensure that all Argonaut Security materials are available in google drive:

        Also re: Security: there’s an overview with links to discussion forums and specific documents at:

  2. Micky Tripathi says:

    Hi Thomas,

    You can haunt me. I’m the project manager for the Argonaut Project. Sorry for the delay in getting the website launched. We will be posting to it by week’s end. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me any time.


  3. tlukasik says:

    Micky, Josh..

    Many thanks for your quick and very thoughtful responses! They’re both helpful, and much appreciated.


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