Medical Intelligence and FHIR

On September 25th the Medical Intelligence Initiative organized an event about the potential of FHIR for the University Medical Centers in the Netherlands. The MI Initiative was founded by the Leiden UMC, Utrecht UMC and Firely in 2012. Currently, the initiative is aligned with the  Data4lifesciences program and all eight UMCs in the Netherlands take part.

Topics of the event included medical research, quality measures, external reporting as well as patient apps running on EHRs.


Lilian Minne, FHIR consultant of Firely, kicked the meeting off with an introduction to FHIR. She also talked about a proof of concept at VUmc, where a FHIR server is installed to provide FHIR API access to the clinical data repository (CDR) for researchers. To achieve this goal, a mapping was established between the detailed clinical models of the CDR, the FHIR data model and the MedMij FHIR profiles of Nictiz (derived from the ZIB clinical building blocks).

FHIR applications

Gajen Sunthara impressed the room by presenting a wealth of FHIR applications at Boston Children’s Hospital, both patient and doctor facing apps, and research-oriented applications. Boston Children’s is one of the first hospitals worldwide to apply CDS-Hooks (clinical decision support), a protocol to launch apps from within the EHR, in their daily clinical practice.


Bouke de Boer continued by presenting the Pijn-app, an example of how to integrate a homegrown app with the hospital EHR (in his case: Epic). The Pijn-app was awarded the innovation award by the STZ branche organization.

Ease of use

Tim Lustberg concluded by confirming a widespread recognition of one of the advantages of FHIR: its ease of use for a software engineer. In his use-case, MAASTRO clinic provides outcome reports to the national DICA registry for oncology. After trying to achieve this with another version for half a year, it took the MAASTRO developer only days to achieve an interface with FHIR.

After the speakers Ewout Kramer joined the panel to answer questions from the room.

The presentations of the speakers are available:

An impression of the event: