FHIR Meeting Report – Montreal, May 2016

Preparation for STU 3

The main focus of the meeting was preparing for the September ballot of release 3, which will be “STU  3” (note that we’re now using the title “STU” – Standard for Trial Use –  rather than “DSTU”  – Draft Standard for Trial Use – to reflect that important parts of the spec are well past the draft stage)

Planned key dates:

  • ballot sign up starts: Jul 27
  • ballot opens: Aug 12
  • ballot closes: Sept 12
  • Baltimore Connectathon / HL7 meeting: Sept 16-23
  • tentative target release date for STU 3: Dec 31

STU 3 is currently planned to include:

  • formats: no change to XML & JSON formats, but we will generate JSON schema. Introduction of RDF, tied to an ontological base
  • RESTful API: no change to existing API, bar some clarifications around transactions. Maybe add Patch?
  • Conformance – split out CodeSystem from Value set and minor changes to other resources, including the use of FluentPath instead of XPath
  • Core Clinical, Administrative & Financial resources – ongoing minor changes in response to trial use and improved quality
  • Continuing improvements to the Clinical Decision Support / Quality Measure framework
  • A new framework for workflow / task management
  • Draft mapping framework and CCDA/FHIR mapping guides

Alongside STU3, we expect to be providing a full tool chain to support implementation guides, covering editing, publishing, validation, and a public registry

Growing Maturity

One clear conclusion from this is that growing importance of the FMM (maturity model) – some areas of the specification are quite stable now, and are being managed accordingly. STU3 will probably be the last version of FHIR that doesn’t include any normative content.

With regard to FMM levels, In the lead up to the Montreal meeting, we surveyed the FHIR use base. From the results of that survey, we were able to make the following list of resources that are a priority for implementers:

Patient Observation Medication Condition
Practitioner DiagnosticReport MedicationOrder AllergyIntolerance
Organization DiagnosticOrder MedicationStatement Immunization
Encounter Bundle MedicationAdministration CarePlan
Person Conformance MedicationDispense Procedure

Specifically, these are resources that the community would most like to see move up through the maturity levels, so the HL7 committees will prioritize these resources when preparing for ballot. Note, though, that it’s mostly up to the community to trial these resources now.

Specification Road map

The FHIR specification is now starting to have real breadth and depth, and we’ve had some comment about growing complexity of the specification. In particular, these areas have attracted comments:

  • RDF / Base Ontology work
  • Fluent Path and the new mapping language
  • Clinical decision support resources
  • CIMI / logical model development

The concern around this work indicates that we need to provide better a better road map to the specification on the main page, and the documentation page, so that people can better understand how these parts of the specification relate to each other, and which parts are relevant for them to implement.

We will be working on this over the next few months.


The FHIR community continues to grow in both size and importance. 1000s of implementers have taken part in connectathons, and the number of active contributers – committers, editors, work group co-chairs, facilitators, evangelists – just keeps growing. And not just the number, but the volume and depth of their input.

The FHIR community is our biggest asset – and it’s getting bigger every day.

#FHIR Publishing Plans

At the Orlando meeting, the FHIR Management Group (FMG) made an important decision around the future plans for the FHIR specification.

In March 2015, the FMG decided to publish DSTU2 that covered the base infrastructure, and to plan to release a DSTU 2.1 that left the infrastructure unchanged, and filled out additional details around the Financial and workflow resources, for ballot in the May ballot.

We’ve been following that plan until the meeting in Orlando, but it was evident that we needed to reconsider our plans. There were two reasons why:

  • Resolving the issues around the workflow resources was taking longer than we hoped, and sticking to our plan would mean no connectathon testing of the redesign
  • There was ongoing pressure to make changes to resources that were frozen for DSTU 2.1

After consulting with as many stakeholders as we could, and considering the ramifications of waiting until the September ballot, FMG decided that we will no longer publish a DSTU 2.1 version. We will instead plan to ballot DSTU 3 in September, with a likely publication date late this year.

At this stage, we don’t know all of what is planned for DSTU3. It certainly will include:

  • Significant changes to the financial resources
  • A total redesign of the workflow related resources
  • A set of new resources to support clinical reasoning and decision support

There will be other changes; these will be announced as the process continues.