There is something wonderful about not having to pay for things as you consume them. Sure, it’s all part of the registration fee, and yet, it feels like it’s free. Or at the very least you appreciate not having to go through the trouble of completing a transaction, as if your time to interact with others was so valuable that you should not be encumbered by such empty use of it.
And that is vital in a place where people are gathered to do just that: to learn and to share. To connect and socialize. To show and tell. To meet clients and to make partnerships. To understand what we do in this business of healthcare interoperability.
So many of the people here are those who put much of their time and intellectual capacity into making FHIR® do what it promises, which is ultimately to make creating and sharing healthcare information better, faster, cheaper, more reliable, more effective, and efficient. There are plenty of benefits that accrue from there. In the end, we all hope it saves money for patients as well as their very lives and the quality of those lives (QoL).
We hope, but can never be sure, can we? Hope is nice, but it doesn’t trade well.
Purpose and action are what trades well. And the FHIR® principals, the contributors, the people who are at the level of spending so much time in the details of policy and tool making, well, they are the purpose and the action that creates the value the rest of us will harness. And it’s up to us to convert that hope in QoL and money in pockets.
That’s why I was there, and why Rhapsody was there — to better understand where we fit, what we should do to leverage all that purpose and action, to glean a better idea about how FHIR® will really work, beyond the memes and into the devilish details.
And perhaps more so than just that sense of how it can be used and what we should build, there is also the recognition of the immense value in being part of this community — not just a consumer or an implementer, but a real contributing member of the FHIR® community.
When I look at what we may build, I will keep an eye out for how that can be extended to benefit the broader FHIR® community. There is always a dichotomy at work in commerce. We must grow and be profitable to survive. Everything we do should have our own company’s health at the forefront.
And yet we need the community that envelops us. We don’t exist without HL7.org and the standards they created. Without IHE, our job is more difficult. Without FHIR®, we can’t even begin to see a future of healthcare IT that’s divergent from the present. But we will live in that world of the future, we will need to not only survive but also to thrive. We will thrive when we are immersed within it, and when we are indistinguishable from it.
That is my first takeaway. Rhapsody has an opportunity to be a contributor to the FHIR® community. We should know the major actors, and they should know us. There should never be any doubt as to Rhapsody’s capabilities in the FHIR space.
The future of healthcare IT is FHIR®, of this I am convinced. For those who think it may fall by the wayside, will have limited uptake, or will never breach the inner walls of the hospital, it’s really just a question of when it will happen: before or after you retire. IT is moving quickly all around us. Why would anyone think healthcare is isolated from that?
The next takeaway is the nature of our mission. Rhapsody wants to be a solutions-oriented company. We should not focus so much on creating tools as we should on the overall development process. We need to focus on fostering the development and deployment of FHIR®-based workflows that will traverse through our product.
If we don’t — if we spend too much effort on tools that may not be up to the job, or if we don’t change quickly enough — we will lose customers along the way. This means we need to find the tools that developers would prefer to use and create smooth pathways in and out of our product stack. It means we need to identify the key features we can add to facilitate the broadest set of FHIR®-related requirements. I am looking at fast development, narrow-use filters, and services that will give us that impact.
Lastly, we need to determine who will make good strategic partners in this space. Not everybody in the community is a good fit, but many are. Finding out what we can do together is something I will focus on in the coming weeks.
More than anything else, I will remember that amongst the interesting and fun-loving personalities, there was a lot of serious effort and accomplishments happening there. Work Hard. Play Hard. Eternal principles for a world that is never at rest.