FHIR server exploration tools

Just found this cool tool for exploring a FHIR server. It is hosted by Furore – the guys who also host a public test server, and allows you to view the conformance resource of any publicly accessible server, and then has a simple query builder that assembles a query, and returns all matching resources – displaying the text property.

Grahames test server has a similar facility – in fact allows you to view the resources directly, in XMl & JSON etc – but only operates against his server.

Both are cool tools if you’re starting out…

btw – there are other tools mentioned on the Furore site – a profile editor and a server test tool that you can request from furore…

FHIR Connectathon: Sample data

As part of the planning for the next FHIR connectathon, we want to make better sample data available for participants to build applications against – and, of course, to continue to exercise the specification. For the last event, I wrote an application using one of the open-source clients that has been developed (in this case the c# client by Ewout Kramer of Furore) and suggested that I could enhance that with more data.

It was suggested that I take the data on this page to use as the clinical scenarios.

I was blown away by this for a couple of reasons:

  • First the amount of work that my colleagues have put in to creating it
  • And secondly – just how far FHIR has come in being able to represent real-world clinical data.

If anyone still has lingering doubts about whether FHIR is going to be ‘fit for purpose’, then these scenarios should remove all doubt…

It’s going to be a reasonable amount of work to do properly – especially as we want to use this to test the FHIR document architecture, but should be do-able, and I’ll keep you appraised on progress…

(btw – I stuck a # in front of the FHIR so it shows up as a hashtag in twitter – if anyone knows how to get wordpress to automatically add the # when sending a notification then let me know)….

Where there are sparks…

One of the (many) things I like about FHIR is the fact the test servers were established very early in the process, so that the ideas that were being proposed could be tried out before becoming part of the specification. They form a core part of the connectathons that are held at each HL7 Working Group Meeting, although these days there are other servers springing up – which is a great thing!

Originally there were two servers: Grahames (which is built in Java) and Ewouts (which is .net based).  (Grahame and Ewout are part of the 3 person ‘core team’ of FHIR – the other being Lloyd McKenzie. In fact, the FHIR logo can be thought of as “the sign of the three” – with apologies to  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.)

In my examples thus far, I’ve been using Grahames server, but they work equally well on Ewouts server – so the following examples from the Elbonian proposal for a FHIR Patient registry work the same as on Grahames:

Note that the servers won’t always have the same version of FHIR (or the same data) – due to the current rapidity of FHIR evolution. This will stabilize once the spec reaches DSTU early next year. In fact, you should always check a servers conformance resource to see what version it supports.

Some other things:

  • Ewouts server is actually developed by a company based in the Netherlands called Furore, and he has a blog on FHIR that is worth following – it tends to be more technical than mine.
  • Furore is one of the early supporters of FHIR, and are planning a commercial FHIR server – which is great to hear. I do believe that FHIR is going to be a disruptive influence in the Health IT space, and the availability of commercial grade servers based on widely adopted standards is a key part of that. They also designed the current logo.
  • Ewout is also planning a couple of cool tools in the FHIR space:
    • A server validation tool codenamed ‘sprinkler’ that can be used to check that a server correctly implements FHIR, and disclosing any deficiencies.
    • A profile designer. Profiles are a very important part of FHIR, but not easy to understand, so an easy to use tool to develop them is a ‘good thing’ for the spec as a whole.

When I know more about the new tools, I’ll post about them…