From HITECH to SMART-on-FHIR: Where Does Healthcare Interoperability Currently Stand?

News | February 11th, 2022

The 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act has been instrumental in moving healthcare into the digital age – ushering in widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) in hospitals across the country over the past 10 years.

While EHRs contain a vast amount of patient data, they have also created information silos, making it difficult to share data with stakeholders — from patients and providers to payers and the research community. These limitations are no longer acceptable, as healthcare providers expect the same usability and interoperability in healthcare applications as they do with online banking or shopping.

The key to breaking down these silos is requiring EHRs to interoperate with each other and a host of diverse applications created by innovators in healthcare.

Steps in the Right Direction: The History of SMART-on-FHIR

Introduced in 2011 as a data standard that defines the structure of health data in transit, Fast Interoperable Health Resources (FHIR) was the first step towards achieving EHR interoperability. Substitutable Medical Applications, Reusable Technologies (SMART) was introduced around the same time, which fostered the development of a standard framework enabling the development of interchangeable healthcare applications.

Working together, SMART-on-FHIR created an open, free, standards-based application programming interface (API) that facilitates the development of applications that can run anywhere within the healthcare system. With SMART-on-FHIR, third-party apps can be developed for a variety of use cases that clinicians can launch within their existing EHR workflow.

SMART-on-FHIR is the inflection point for the healthcare industry’s continued shift towards value-based care, due to its ability to provide another pathway to integration in which user experiences — not just discrete data — are shared across systems, enabling lightning quick implementation.

The Future of SMART-on-FHIR Applications

Looking forward, SMART-on-FHIR will ultimately be the catalyst for growth in the healthcare app market. Rules mandating integration, access to healthcare information, and technological innovation in use cases will collectively result in the introduction of new apps that support the value-based care evolution and help reduce costs for patients, providers and payers alike.

​​These apps will be used to further address aspects of healthcare, including remote patient monitoring, integration of personal fitness trackers with EHRs, managing patients with chronic diseases, collecting patient-reported outcomes, and more.

SMART-on-FHIR apps are also valuable to the research community, as they give researchers greater access to more patient population data when they’re delving into cures for diseases. These apps also support clinical studies, as they can connect a single web application to multiple centers through SMART-on-FHIR.

With so much data being generated in healthcare today, SMART-on-FHIR is the fire our industry needs to heat up the app ecosystem.

Rimidi’s Approach to SMART-on-FHIR Applications

As early adopters of SMART on FHIR, Rimidi’s apps work directly within leading EHR’s – which means no separate sign in, no workflow disruption, and better clinical efficiency. Rimidi combines patient-generated health data from connected devices or patient reported outcomes measures with clinical data to drive patient-specific clinical insights and actions through embedded clinical decision support cards. Current clinical use-cases of the Rimidi platform include chronic, cardiometabolic conditions, epidemic management, and perioperative care. Specifically, our clients are using Rimidi to:

  • Bring daily CGM data to primary care
  • Monitor blood pressure in new moms who had high-risk pregnancies
  • View and act on ASCVD risk scores within their existing EHR workflow, and more!
    To learn more about Rimidi’s FHIR-based applications, please contact a member of our team or request a demo.