“In early March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released two sets of rules on information blocking. They made two dramatic changes: patients would be able to more easily access their health information through apps, and health IT companies and providers could be penalized for failing to securely share health information.” (Med City News, 2020)

However, considering the recent pandemic, the timeline for hospitals and health IT vendors to comply has been extended by 6 months, making the new requirements in effect by 2021.

Source: MedCity News

One way for hospitals to come into compliance, is by implementing FHIR on Google Cloud using GCP.

So, what is FHIR?

Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) introduced by HL7 International is a healthcare standard which enables the exchange of healthcare information electronically. FHIR sets standards to respond to the growing use of electronic health records (EHRs) and the need for patient records to be readily available, discoverable, and understandable.

What is Google Healthcare API?

The Cloud Healthcare API provides an easy solution for storing and accessing healthcare data on the google cloud platform and is committed to HIPPA compliance. Healthcare API offers managed scalability, less maintenance and is easy to implement. Healthcare API enables users to unlock significant features like data analysis, machine learning and AI. These capabilities in turn can change the future of next generation healthcare solutions. API provides easy and secured access to health care data to patients and providers both, by transforming EDI formatted data to FHIR data without the need to invest the huge capital in the development, management, and the infrastructure.

Advantages of Using Google Cloud Healthcare API

  • Standard Conformance
  • Compliance with the Privacy Regulations (HIPPA)
  • Data Location Control & Security
  • Bulk Export and Import
  • Scalable and Auditable

Healthcare Standards that can be Implemented using the Cloud Healthcare API

  • Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)
  • Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) DSTU2, STU3, and R4 standards
  • Health Level Seven Version 2.x (HL7v2)

How to Implement FHIR on Google Cloud using Healthcare API

Setup

  1. Create a GCP account. GCP provides a free account with 300 credit dollars valid for one year.
  2. After creating the GCP account, create a new project on Google Cloud.
  3. Enable the Cloud Healthcare API
  4. Enable Cloud AI Platform
  5. Enable Cloud Pub/Sub
  6. Enable App Engine
  7. Cloud storage

High-Level Architecture Diagram for the Implementation of FHIR on GCP

Architectural Overview

Healthcare FHIR store will receive patient data from the user and EMR/EHR software, and then processes the data. The FHIR store will generate a notification to the Pub/Sub Topic associated with the store. That notification will trigger an invocation of Cloud Function. The Cloud Function will retrieve the Patient bundle, extract the model input parameters, invoke your TensorFlow model, and write the resulting prediction back to the FHIR store. The trained and saved tensorflow model resides in the data store bucket.

Healthcare API simplifies the integration of medical data with the existing applications and allows information technologists to focus on the hidden intelligence of the data. The continuity of care document (CCD) has the specifications intended to prepare patient records for exchange with requirements for structure, and semantics. This standard is used to identify types of information being transmitted (e.g., diagnoses, prescriptions, family history, procedures, care pathways). The implementation of CCD format can vary from EHR to EHR and has limits to send and receive information accurately. Therefore, Google Cloud Health Care API is easy to integrate with most of the EHR systems and is ready made.

 

If you have questions about this integration, or need assistance, please feel free to reach out to our experts.


 

 


 

Vinod Rachala, Analytics Associate

Vinod Rachala, Analytics Associate

With over 2.5 years of IT experience, Vinod is passionate about discovering and delivering innovative Big Data, Data Science and Machine Learning solutions to solve critical business problems across the industry. His expertise lies in analyzing data through insightful reports, and making & communicating recommendations. He is skilled in identifying trends, usage patterns, and growth patterns that impact business decisions, defining new KPIs and tracking existing ones.

Vinod holds a Masters Degree in Computer & Information Sciences from Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia, and a Bachelors Degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering from India.

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