HL7 FHIR Accelerator ‘Vulcan’ to Address Clinical Research

HL7 FHIR Accelerator ‘Vulcan’ to Address Clinical Research

David Raths

The project is still in its formative stages. Published notes from a kickoff meeting for Vulcan held last fall describe its goals of helping the research community leverage FHIR for more effective acquisition, exchange and use of data for clinical research.

At the meeting Wayne Kubick, HL7’s chief technology officer, suggested several use cases for research:

• Feasibility, instigator and subject searches

• Monitoring protocol execution

• Pre-populating case report forms

• Collection of patient-reported outcomes

• Bulk transfer of clinical data for analytics

Among the value propositions:

• Comprehensive data integration

• Reduce redundancy and duplication

• Improve in-workflow data exchange to support value-based care and population health

• Drive innovation through data accessibility

In an interview a few years ago, Kubick discussed the potential for FHIR in clinical research with Healthcare Innovation: “You have the possibility of tapping into data, not just for randomized clinical trials, but also for an analytical view of what is really going on in terms of patient populations for these targets being explored for various drug products,” he says. “One early potential use case involves being able to look at what types of patients are in an EHR to see who would be eligible for a clinical trial and whether they would be interested in participating directly. Another is being able to pull in EHR data to pre-populate a case report form.”

 Brian Anderson, M.D., chief digital health physician of MITRE Corp., who is working on the CodeX FHIR accelerator in oncology, said the FHIR Accelerator

projects in HL7 has proven successful precisely because the work groups are use-case-driven. “That helps the stakeholders understand value of data models,” he said. “FHIR Accelerators have created a system and process that enables use cases to be identified and stakeholders engaged.”

Here are brief descriptions of the other Accelerator Projects:

• The Argonaut Project: The purpose of the Argonaut Project is to rapidly develop a first-generation FHIR-based API and Core Data Services specification to enable expanded information sharing for electronic health records and other health information technology based on Internet standards and arc

• The CARIN Alliance: This Accelerator is seeking to improve the ability for consumers and their authorized caregivers to gain digital access to their health information via non-proprietary application programming interfaces or APIs

• CodeX: A multi-stakeholder community is forming to address the need to obtain high-quality, computable data for cancer care and research. CodeX — the Common Oncology Data Elements eXtensions project is leveraging the mCODE (minimal Common Oncology Data Elements) FHIR Implementation Guide.

• Da Vinci Project: The goal of the Da Vinci project is to help payers and providers to positively impact clinical, quality, cost and care management outcomes.

• Gravity Project: The Gravity Project seeks to identify coded data elements and associated value sets to represent social determinants of health data documented in EHRs across four clinical activities: screening, diagnosis, planning, and interventions.