HSDS officially interoperable with FHIR

Exciting news this week, a culmination of work we’ve been doing for at least two years:

We’ve now successfully aligned the HSDS model for social service directory information with the FHIR resources for healthcare provider directory information. See the announcement here: https://openreferral.org/hsds-is-now-interoperable-with-fhir/

A few notes:

  1. FHIR is now the industry standard for health information exchange required by Medicare and Medicaid. The health IT field is essentially being pushed in the direction of this standard – and now in turn HSDS is the official means of providing social service directory data to FHIR-based health IT systems.

  2. This can be expected to reinforce the trend in which HHS agencies like Administration for Community Living are stipulating use of HSDS in their policies and programs.

  3. This Implementation Guide is based on the previous deprecated version of HSDS, but the changes we made in HSDS 3.0 actually align even more closely with FHIR – so there shouldn’t be significant compatibility issues. I do expect we will be able to upgrade the FHIR IG to align with 3.0 – and we can develop a profile of HSDS specifically to comport with the FHIR IG, making implementation easy.

  4. One of the only serious challenges in this process is the issue of taxonomy. We pushed hard to keep taxonomy requirements from being included in this IG… and successfully achieved an IG with only ‘example’ taxonomy guidance (citing Open Eligibility as an example). I’d say there’s a sense in the FHIR community and health IT space at large that this makes the IG less valuable without specific categories for searching and coding and etc. I understand that concern – we should consider options for addressing this need in the future.

  5. If you’re working on FHIR implementations, I want to hear from you!

That’s all for now. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Big thanks to @davidraznick, then of Open Data Services Coop, who helped make this happen on our end.

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Oh – I should link directly to the spec page: http://hl7.org/fhir/us/hsds/STU1/

And here’s the process page in case anyone wants to get involved on the FHIR side moving forward: FHIR IG for Human Services Directories - Human and Social Services - Confluence