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FHIRBall: Doing Business the FHIR Way

Rien Wertheim

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It all started with a cup of coffee in a Starbucks ten months ago. Here we are now launching the FHIR Business Alliance. FHIRBall: Doing business the FHIR way.

After the FHIR Connectathon in May 2019, I met with Duncan Weatherston, the CEO of Smile CDR, in the Starbucks along Crescent and Saint-Catherine St. Ouest in Montreal, Canada. First, we talked about what it meant to be friends while being competitors at the same time. We also discussed the unimagined growth of FHIR and how this was only the beginning. Then, we complained (Statler and Waldorf commenting on the world) about how new players were jumping on the bandwagon now that FHIR was officially proclaimed a Gartner hype. We talked about the slow pace of innovation in healthcare and how hard it was to make that vital step from PoCs and pilot projects to business-critical environments. Most of all we marveled at what FHIR meant for companies like ours. Without FHIR, we would not have existed.

Starbucks coffee shop in Montreal
The Starbucks on Crescent and Saint-Catherine St. W, in Montreal

“Instead of competing, why don’t we align with like-minded companies?”, we asked ourselves. “Let’s join forces and help grow the market for FHIR products and services.”

After all, our real challenge is to speed up the adoption of FHIR in the marketplace.

We reached out to 1upHealth and AEGIS. These two companies are as dedicated to FHIR as we are, and we agreed to form what is now called the FHIR Business Alliance, or FHIRBall. 1upHealth is probably the ultimate example of innovation through FHIR and AEGIS has been heralding FHIR quality assurance (“testing!”) for as long as FHIR has existed. Two obvious co-founding partners for the FHIR Business Alliance.

Our motto is Doing business the FHIR way. We have taken the FHIR principles laid down in the FHIR manifesto from the original FHIR architects and translated these principles into the following business values:

  • Health data belongs to the care provider or the patient
  • FHIR is contradictory to vendor lock-in, and so are we
  • We support open standards, open source and open communities
  • We focus on the developer to build FHIR-compliant products and tools

Almost a year after that meeting in the Starbucks Crescent & Saint-Catherine, we will launch the FHIR Business Alliance at HIMSS 2020. Here we will share a booth (#8200-69) and participate in several panels, sharing our mission of doing business the FHIR way.

Through our joined marketing efforts the FHIR Business Alliance provides a platform for forward-looking companies and will ultimately contribute to innovation in healthcare. You can read the Press Release and visit the FHIRBall website.

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