HL7®FHIR® DevDays comes to the U.S.
Health Level Seven International (HL7), the standards-developing organization for the exchange of electronic health information, hosted the inaugural FHIR DevDays in Boston, MA. If you were one of the lucky 380 attendees – a number that but for the Fire Marshall could have been as high as 500 – you know what it was like. In case you missed it, the US version of the long-running, premier European FHIR event didn’t disappoint.
Imagine a three-day extravaganza of all things FHIR, consisting of presentations by leaders in healthcare IT, tutorials, a hackathon and a coding boot camp. There was something for everyone. New to FHIR? There were tutorials to introduce you to the standard and exercises to get you started. Already an experienced FHIR developer? There were deep-dive tutorials, presentations of FHIR projects and applications (including Apple’s HealthKit) and impromptu “birds of a feather” meetings that let you explore the finer points of FHIR. Working on a FHIR project? The hands-on room was full of easily-identified, yellow-shirted FHIR experts ready to help.
From the moment it started you knew DevDays was going to be good. The first-day keynote by Dr. John Halamka, Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess and leading interoperability proponent, focused on the need to securely share healthcare data. Dr. Halamka described, through personal anecdotes, how we all can benefit from this. The keynotes on days two and three of the event were just as good. Project manager Eyal Oren demonstrated how FHIR is used by Google’s Big Brain AI project for healthcare, and Deven McGraw, formerly the top healthcare privacy official at the Department of Health and Human Services and currently the Chief Regulatory Officer at Silicon Valley startup Ciitizen, led a discussion of the balance between the benefits of healthcare data interoperability and the need to maintain personal privacy.
By themselves these things would make this an event not to be missed, but DevDays has one other thing going for it: timing. Imagine if you could go back in time and attend a conference with a presentation on personal computing by Steve Wozniak, internet protocols by Vint Cerf, or web browser design by Marc Andreesen. That’s what DevDays is like – a chance to learn about FHIR as it’s being created, from the people who are creating it. DevDays gives developers and companies the opportunity to be involved in the emerging standard, learning it almost from the beginning and being able to help guide and shape it. That makes it special, and given what was on display this week, that specialness will continue on an annual basis for years to come.
As part of our commitment to building open, connected communities of health, Allscripts proudly supports HL7 and various other organizations working to advance standards to better the lives of patients around the globe. We will go back to our everyday jobs taking the content learned at the DevDays event with us.
Editor’s Note: This blog post first appeared on the HL7 blog.