New Tool To Help Utilize EHR Data

by | Dec 5, 2023 | EHR & Interoperability

MedStar Health Research Institute has developed two novel data tools as part of the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® (FHIR) Factories project, in collaboration with Georgetown University Medical Center and HealthLab. Funded by the 2020 ONC Leading Edge Acceleration Project (LEAP) in Health IT, these tools are designed to revolutionize the way electronic health record (EHR) data is accessed and utilized. The FHIR Factories, enhanced data platforms, allow researchers access to standardized formats of data for large-scale extraction and analysis. Utilizing FHIR to transform data into knowledge accessible via application programming interfaces (APIs), these tools bring important information directly to the frontlines of clinical care. The two new data tools, the Bugs & Drugs FHIR Factory and the Trend Engine FHIR Factory, are available on ONC’s GitHub repository. They are specifically designed to leverage standardized Health Level Seven International® (HL7) FHIR data as required by the ONC Cures Act Final Rule for certified health IT.

The Bugs & Drugs FHIR Factory is a tool that provides near real-time, continuous antibiograms to define drugs of choice for treating urinary tract infections. Antibiograms, essential in identifying effective antimicrobial drugs, traditionally rely on microbiology culture and susceptibility results. The FHIR Factory, coupled with the SMART-on-FHIR app, updates antibiograms with new EHR information, making them more current than traditional research publications. This tool also enables tracking of local and regional antibiotic resistance, and its flexibility allows for adaptation to create antibiograms for other infection classes. The Trend Engine FHIR Factory, on the other hand, monitors trends for various diseases, resource utilization, medication use, and more. It leverages EHR data to observe illness rates, health service utilization, laboratory testing, and clinical diagnoses in specific areas of interest. Focusing initially on an opioid use case, this tool can track patterns in emergency room admissions due to opioid use. It has been replicated for over 50 other disease conditions and can be used by hospitals to monitor the effectiveness of intervention efforts.

The future applications of FHIR Factories are extensive, with one unique capability being the automation the actions of a data scientist, which allows for the generation of living research articles. These articles can be automatically updated each time new data is available, providing results that are almost real-time and consistently up-to-date. They can include statistics, simulations, and visualizations, and every result can be made available via API calls, integrating the articles into clinicians’ workflows. The MedStar team is committed to sharing their learnings through journal articles and conference posters, contributing to the ongoing improvement of FHIR Factories architecture. This initiative will be further highlighted at the 2023 ONC Annual Meeting in December, where the LEAP FHIR Factories team will present their work.

The healthcare industry faces persistent challenges in electronic health data interoperability, impacting data quality, timeliness, usability, and the overall clinical trial experience for clinicians and patients. Vynamic, a global pharmaceutical leader, is addressing these challenges through its innovative eSource program. This program aims to redefine the secondary use of EHR data for clinical research, harmonizing data across various standards in the industry. Vynamic’s approach focuses on technology transformation, stakeholder management, business process enablement, strategic program management, and industry engagement. Key to this approach is the automation of the clinical trial data exchange process using HL7® FHIR® standards to normalize and aggregate data from disparate sources. This effort both improves data quality for clinical research, and reduces the burden of data capture for investigator sites and research study teams.

The results of Vynamic’s efforts are clearly portray the potential of data interoperability solutions in healthcare.The company has designed an industry-first data interoperability solution that automates the use of EHR data for clinical research. This solution enhances data quality, reduces the burden of data capture, and ultimately improves the clinical trial experience for patients and physicians. The company’s engagement in multiple industry consortia, including the HL7® Vulcan® Accelerator for research, connects cross-sector participants and advances interoperability solutions. Vynamic’s initiatives are shared at various industry conferences, demonstrating their commitment to industry-wide progress and innovation.

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