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Availity announces support of FHIR standard for healthcare data exchange

Availity, the nation’s largest real-time health information network, announced that it will be using the HL7 FHIR standard for sharing critical data between payers and providers, including patient eligibility and benefits, lab tests, diagnoses, medical attachments, ADT, and other healthcare information.

Availity is currently implementing a FHIR solution for both solicited and unsolicited medical attachments. This enables providers to send supporting documentation in a patient’s file to a health plan without a specific request, saving the provider and the plans both time and money.

Availity is also developing a FHIR solution for member lookups. A provider could use this to determine coverage, pull patient demographic information such as address, date of birth, and gender—allowing providers to view information in real-time and saving front-office staff from lengthy patient eligibility processes.

“Availity has always been at the forefront of supporting industry standards that drive efficiencies and interoperability and reduce costs and administrative burdens for our customers,” said Russ Thomas, CEO of Availity. “FHIR enables our partners and clients to securely and easily exchange well-defined information. We believe that this standardization is essential to the shift to value-based models of care, where payers and providers are seeking secure ways to better communicate and exchange information.”

The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is a next-generation standards framework created by HL7 that can be used for mobile phone apps, cloud communications, EHR-based data sharing, and server communication. The FHIR standard offers better security, as it does not exchange data via text files and uses standard interfaces for access to data across multiple platforms and modalities.

FHIR is based on Representational State Transfer (RESTful) web services, an architectural style that offers performance, scalability, and customization for web-based services. The standard is based on similar approaches used by many web service companies, like Google and Facebook. Availity has about 150 proprietary REST services built for internal and external use.