Microsoft Azure has launched a new open source project on GitHub – the FHIR server for Azure. The server is designed to support the exchange and management of health data according to the FHIR standard.
Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is a set of standards for healthcare data management that are designed to help various healthcare information systems work together better. According to FHIR’s definition of its framework – “FHIR solutions are built from a set of modular components called “Resources”. These resources can easily be assembled into working systems that solve real world clinical and administrative problems at a fraction of the price of existing alternatives. FHIR is suitable for use in a wide variety of contexts – mobile phone apps, cloud communications, EHR-based data sharing, server communication in large institutional healthcare providers, and much more.”
FHIR Server for Azure provides support infrastructure for immediate provisioning in the cloud, including mapping to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), and the ability to enable role-based access controls (RBAC). The GitHub documentation also includes an “easy button” that deploys FHIR Server for Azure into nearly any Azure public region.
The server is offered in four layers – hosting, RESTful API, core logic and persistence. The server currently supports the FHIR R3 standard, but will upgrade to FHIR R4 when the next release is finalized. When deployed in the Microsoft Cloud, all Azure services used to support the FHIR Server for Azure are ISO 27001 certified and meet all the compliance requirements for HIPAA and GDPR.
Microsoft’s support for FHIR standards is part of an ongoing effort with several other technology companies. In August 2018, Microsoft joined with Amazon, Google, IBM, and other companies in a commitment to remove barriers for the adoption of technologies that support healthcare interoperability, particularly those that are enabled through the cloud and AI. In a statement, the company said that it was contributing its FHIR as an open-source project to further those efforts. Microsoft also said it plans to open up a “broad set of core services” that support healthcare interoperability standards like FHIR.