Open mHealth vs. HL7 FHIR

OK, so check this out. I signed up to the mailing list for Open mHealth, an initiative that promotes the use of designs and technologies that I believe in, like REST APIs and JSON. They have started to post some documentation and specs, and have even have published some early implementation code. They have some discussion going on in a Google Group.

But what I am trying to figure out is how this relates to HL7’s FHIR. They seem to be using the same tools with similar missions.

It will be interesting to see which one gets traction:

  • the open initiative (seemingly) driven by the user community (doctors and people working in hospitals), or;
  • the standard from the well-established and accepted healthcare standards body

It reminds me of MINT (open community) and DICOM Working Group 27‘s (standards body) output (but in this case it was many of the same people involved in both).

In general, the open community moves faster, drives rapid innovation, and gets lots of attention, but the established healthcare IT vendor community often waits for the responsible standards body committee to provide a formal, consensus-driven specification (with design controls and governance around it to prevent unexpected changes), before implementing the API. Also, initiatives like IHE will typically only reference final standards in their integration profiles.

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