Off the Shelf and On the Table: Putting Data Interoperability to Use


“Some of these [implementation guides] go through the HL7 process and they sit on the virtual shelf. If the value metrics approach can take into account, what have we really seen with those artifacts, it would be a really valuable contribution because I don’t think anyone is really looking at that.”

- Micky Tripathi, National Coordinator for Health IT 

Last Thursday, Cambia Grove was honored to bring together Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, CEO of HL7, and our 2021 Innovator Fellows to celebrate the conclusion of their work and present their findings. This year’s program was the first time all six of the accelerators from Health Level Seven® (HL7®) International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® (FHIR®) ACCELERATOR™ Program collaborated on a single effort to build a value metrics framework showcasing the value of use case implementation. Below are a few highlights from the event:  


As someone who wants to implement FHIR standards, how do you even begin?  

Reducing Barriers through the Value Metrics Framework  


The HL7 FHIR standards provide a framework which allows health care information to be exchanged, integrated, shared and retrieved. Implementing these standards would improve the technical and business needs of health care systems and their data capabilities. However, putting this into practice can be complex and lack of resources, time and money are barriers.  

To help provide a path forward for those considering implementation, this year’s fellows developed a foundational value metrics framework. This tool is intended to serve as a guide for potential implementers, demonstrating which areas an organization can expect to realize advantages of a particular use case(s).  


Silos Do Not Work  


Achieving interoperability would not be possible if each project were working only to advance their use cases and moving in separate directions. To achieve this goal, cross-pollination between accelerators and use cases must exist and include stakeholders from across the 5 Points of Health Care™.  

“There is a lot of cross-pollination that is already happening, but that's ultimately what's going to allow this all to work. If we're all siloed and trying to solve our individual use cases then we're not going to achieve the ultimate goal, which is interoperability.” - Steve Lam, 2021 Innovator Fellow 


Navigating Long-term Impact vs. Short-term Savings  


The value metrics framework does demonstrate value in terms of numbers in some cases, but in many cases the referenced value is something less tangible. “When assessing the value of something, the numbers can often merely reflect the easiest thing to count,” reflects Chris Boyd, 2021 Innovator Fellow. While numbers are important, they do not tell the full story. When applying a short-term lens, the long-term impact is not always immediately visible.  

Imagine you’re in an office setting in the 90s and everything is being tracked on paper. Implementing email would carry significant financial, time and potentially staff implications. Very likely, this would not seem to be a good investment if it was approached from a short-term perspective. However, the long-term impacts of implementation include significant financial savings and time efficiency.  

Interoperability can be viewed from this same lens. Many of these use cases within the framework have not yet been implemented or implemented at scale to fully showcase their value. Not only is investing in FHIR implementation a short-term consideration but a long-term proposition that ultimately improves delivery of and access to health care.  

“I think the thing that is exciting to me [in this the thread of interoperability] is this need to do everything that we can do with the data at our disposal to decrease complexity, increase the chances of better health and healthcare.” - Sarah Greene, 2021 Innovator Fellow 


View all the compiled work and learn more about the 2021 Innovator Fellowship Program below:  


The 2021 Cambia Grove Innovator Fellowship worked with national leaders to showcase the value of data interoperability in health care to accelerate adoption. 

Fellows who took part in this program collaborated with the Health Level Seven® (HL7®) International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® (FHIR®) ACCELERATOR™ Program including the Argonaut Project, CARIN Alliance, CodeX, Da Vinci Project, Gravity Project and Vulcan. 

The Value Metrics Framework  
Fellows' Executive Summaries  
Re-watch the 2021 Innovator Fellowship Finale Event 
Advancing Interoperability with Micky Tripathi, The National Coordinator for Health IT 
Learn more about HL7 FHIR Accelerator Programs