ValueSet editor in clinFHIR

I’ve been working on the profiling abilities of clinFHIR recently. As I’ve said before, although there is the official tool for creating profiles – Forge – I think there is a place for a simple profiling tool primarily aimed at clinicians, with the goal to help them understand how FHIR profiling works.

One of the big things that keeps coming up is ValueSets – and how to create them.

As a short recap – recall that the purpose of profiling is to take the core resources and make them more suitable for real-world Use Cases by adding new elements (extensions) and removing the ones that are not needed. As part of this process you often want to specify a particular set of values for coded elements that is different to the one in the spec and the ValueSet is the mechanism that you use to specify those. The problem is that there isn’t currently any widely available tooling to create ValueSets (outside of the tooling used to build the specification itself) – especially ones for clinicians to use, so over the weekend I decided to write a simple ValueSet Editor.

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Modifier Extensions in versioning (maybe)

So I think I’ve come across my first real place where using a modifier extension makes sense. (actually, not quite – see the note at the bottom of the post, but the discussion is hopefully still interesting)

Before we get into that, a short recap on what a modifier extension is. As most people working with FHIR will be aware, the specification aims to keep the individual ‘packets’ of data (Resources) as small and simple as possible, by providing a fixed core of elements that ‘most’ people are currently sharing and an extension mechanism that allows individual implementers to add the extra elements that they may need for specific Use Cases – a process called Profiling.

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Using clinFHIR for profiling

One of things we’ve discussed many times in the past is profiling FHIR – taking the base resources and adapting them to specific Use Cases by adding extra fields (extensions) or restricting/removing base fields.

The community has provided tooling in the form of the forge tool from Furore for creating these profiles, but to do this properly requires a certain amount of planning and work, and there is a place for being able to quickly create a profile to try something out. This is kind of like clinical modeling – you have some data you wish to add to a resource, but you’re not sure where the best place to put it is – or you want to quickly create a profile that others can then comment on.

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Benefits of FHIR

Like many people I suspect, I do feel rather ‘odd’ when recording interviews (feels a bit like being told that I am ‘showing off’) but Orion Health (my employer) is doing a lot of work with FHIR – both in terms of implementing it in the products, and also supporting my FHIR work in a number of areas outside the organization including attending various meetings so when they asked if I would record a short interview on the benefits of FHIR I thought it was a reasonable request.

So here it is – I guess it’s not too bad, though there are so many more things I could have described – such the value in analytics, population based queries (find patients ‘at risk’), decision support, precision medicine and so forth..

But I still find it odd looking at recordings of myself!

FHIR on the Pi

This is in the nature of a ‘just for fun’ post.

The Raspberry Pi is a ‘credit card’ sized computer that was originally developed to help children become interested in programming. Costing only around $35, it is a fully fledged computer that runs the Linux Operating system and can be used for a wide variety of purposes – including being a FHIR server! Read more of this post