The clinFHIR Chat

One of the things we’ve found at the various connectathons we’ve held is that communication between the attendees can be an issue – there are quite a number of different ‘streams’ of activity and it can be hard to connect people with questions or comments, to people with answers.

We’ve used skype in the past, which has been OK, but has a number of limitations – it can be quite a firehose, which means that stuff is missed, there’s no easy to maintain a ‘thread’ of conversation (though sometimes interesting when threads get mixed together!) and hard to review the history at the end of the event. Oh – and there’s a fixed limit of 300 people per conversation, which we recently discovered.

So for the ‘Clinicians on FHIR’ event that we’re holding at the HL7 Working Group Meeting in October, we’re going to try a different approach. We’re developing a basic ‘chat’ application that is hierarchically organized, and also integrated with the tooling – clinFHIR – that participants in the event use. If all goes well, it’s also going to help in running ‘virtual’ events in the future, where people are not in the same place.

This post describes how the chat application is structured.

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Creating Lists in clinFHIR

As we’ve just discussed, clinFHIR allows you to quite easily create resources based on profiles (whether the ‘core’ resource profiles or simple ones created by clinFHIR) but what about more complex structures like Lists?

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Building resources from FHIR profiles.

This post finishes off our ‘mini-series’ on creating a simple profile using clinFHIR – now we’ll create a resource based on the profile that we created earlier.

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Using clinFHIR to create a profile

In the previous post, we outlined our plans for creating a profile against the Patient resource, and manually created and saved some of the supporting resources (ValueSet and our NamingSystem) that we’re going to need.

Next up is the extension definition and the actual profile against Patient. Once we’ve done that (which is the topic of this post) we can actually create conformant resources.

Fortunately, we can use clinFHIR to create these artifacts, so start up that application and select the ‘profile builder’ from the front page. (And a reminder that this is very much ‘beta’ software designed for training! Let me know of any issues)

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Creating and using FHIR profiles

One of the things we discussed at the recent seminar in New Zealand was profiling FHIR resources. This is where we take the base resources and then adapt them for specific use cases. While quite simple in concept, there are some complexities ‘under the hood’, so part of the talk was to describe some of the ‘infrastructure’ that makes all this work.

Once we had the set up some of the supporting resources, we used the clinFHIR tool to actually assemble the profile, as this makes it easier for ‘non-technical’ people – especially clinicians – to build these artifacts, and then build a resource that is conformant to that profile.

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Finding Patients seen by clinicians

So I got an interesting email yesterday.

Someone asked me how to fulfill the following User Story: As a clinician, I want to search for a list of patients being seen by certain consultants today.

There were some Acceptance Criteria given:

  • I can enter the name of one or more consultants to search against, combining this with any clinics, wards and specialties that have been specified in the search criteria
  • I can amend a search by removing an item from the search criteria
  • In the list of results, I can see the following properties for each patient:
  • Hospital Number
  • NHS Number
  • Full name (surname, first name)
  • DOB
  • Sex
  • Consultant
  • Location (ward or clinic name)
  • Date (admission/appointment date)

Now, we’d want to dig a bit into the specifics of how some of the searches should work – eg what does it mean when you specify a consultant and a ward – that the consultant saw the patient on the specified ward on that date? And what happens when both a consultant and a specialty are in the query parameters?

But lets start with a simple case – getting a list of patients seen by a consultant on a specified date. This is not quite as simple as it sounds!

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A FHIR learning application for non-technical folk

One of the things that is happening to FHIR is that as it grows in maturity, it is starting to attract more Clinicians and Business Analysts who are less interested in the technology, and more interested in how it can be used to represent the clinical information they want to share – both inside and between organizations.

Indeed, the chair of HL7 – Stan Huff – referred to this explicitly at the last Working Group Meeting when he referred to the importance of the clinical community getting together to develop the profiles of use that take the core FHIR specification, and make it work for the clinical community. There is a very real risk of developing multiple different profiles that actually mean the same thing and thus harming interoperability. FHIR offers mechanisms to avoid this, but it does mean that people – especially clinical and analysts –need to have a good idea of how FHIR in general – and these mechanisms in particular – work.

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