The FHIR EndPoint resource

In the previous post, we talked about how FHIR could support a provider registry – the resources that would be involved and the types of query that you could use to access data within the registry. I was talking with Brian Postlethwaite (who is one of the authors of these resources, being a co-chair of the Patient Administration committee within HL7) and he pointed out that I didn’t mention the Endpoint resource.

Let’s rectify that.

The Endpoint resource is new to STU3. Its function is stated as “The technical details of an endpoint that can be used for electronic services, such as for web services providing XDS.b or a REST endpoint for another FHIR server. This may include any security context information.”

So the idea is that once you’ve located your provider, the Endpoint tells you know how you can electronically communicate with that provider – eg to send them a referral (If you’re after a human style contact, then you’d use details from the ‘telecom’ property that a number of the resources have). As you may have gathered, a lot of what FHIR is about is discoverability of things – as well as how to share them.

In the following image, we’ve added a couple of Endpoints to the clinFHIR scenario that we worked with before, and selected one them so we can see what properties it has available.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 7.09.27 am

Some points to note.

  • A single endpoint can, conceivably be shared by more than one resource instance – in the example above, both the Organization and the HealthcareService use the same endpoint. This will be implementation specific of course.
  • The connectionType property indicates what sort of connection this is – FHIR REST server, XDS interface, direct interface, with the address property having the actual url (the format will depend on the type of interface of source). The connectionType binding is extensible – which means that you should use these values if they apply, but can add others if you need to. Carrier pigeons for example…
  • There are other properties to indicate payload type, the public key for secure conversations and so forth.

By the way – do note also that selecting a property in the tree view of the resource type in clinFHIR will show the description of that property, and if it is coded will allow you to view the ValueSet that is bound to it.

So – a short post, but does round out the Provider Directory discussion a bit further.

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.

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