FHIR Competition

Calling clinicians and students:  join us in solving a real-world problem using FHIR, the new frontier of digital health interoperability.

HL7 FHIR © (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) is the only international healthcare data and interoperability paradigm that allows true, secure sharing of patient data in healthcare. It's transforming international healthcare data and enabling true digital health.

You don't need to be a coding whiz to take part in this competition –  you just need a passion for solving digital health challenges, and some familiarity with JSON. This is a great opportunity to gain exposure to FHIR, learn skills that are highly valued in the health industry and tackle a real-world problem.


+ What is FHIR
FHIR (pronounced "fire") is designed to enable health data, including clinical and administrative data, to be quickly and efficiently exchanged. It's an Australian invention, and stands for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). Read more.

+ Why is it important?

Our colleague, Professor Chris Bain of Monash University's Faculty of Information Technology, who inaugurated the competition in 2019, says most problems in healthcare arise from our inability to share information.

“No one ends up in the Coroner’s Court because too much information was shared between healthcare providers - the opposite is true.” Read more...

+ What problem are we trying to solve here?
Right now, data exists in siloed systems that don't talk to each other. Imagine someone with a chronic condition like asthma who takes a trip to the emergency department at 3am on a Sunday, having to convey basic information about their condition and its management, because it only exists on paper at their local clinic.

Interoperability in healthcare means that person's data is able to be accessed readily in digital form – reducing and perhaps one day eliminating reliance on faxes, letters and the telephone.

+ What does FHIR do? FHIR offers the ability to exchange data  across different systems, reducing reliance on sending documents. Advantages include real-time data access, and (some day) the ability to interface with third-party apps, and integrate that information with a patient's electronic health record.

+ Where is the world headed on interoperability in health? 

In early 2021, the Biden administration appointed Dr Micky Tripathi as the US National Coordinator for Health IT, leading the Department of Health. Tripathi is a proponent of standards-based interoperability.

"FHIR’s emergence and rapidly rising maturity thus come at the perfect time because it offers tools to provide better interoperability experiences just at the moment that physicians are now demanding it," Dr Tripathi told Healthcare IT News in 2019.

+ Who's the genius behind FHIR? 
Grahame Grieve is the Australian founder of FHIR, and the Centre for Digital Transformation of Health is proud to count him as a Centre Technical Advisor – Integration and Interoperability. Here is Grahame telling his personal story of how he came to the challenge of interoperability.

And this is how he explained its evolution to Forbes:
"We started work on FHIR out of frustration with the complexity and unwieldiness of the existing healthcare standards, and because we could see wonderful things happening on the web. Our goal is to drive down the costs of exchanging data, to set the healthcare information free so that people can solve real world healthcare problems more easily and cheaply. FHIR has grown into a very capable standard that's still really simple to implement, and we're thrilled by all the excitement that it's created." 

+ What sort of problems does the competition tackle? 
Last year, entrants used the FHIR server to provide access to thousands of synthetic medical records. Students were given practical questions that health professionals often need answers to, such as  the average blood pressure of Australian women aged 40-45.

+ How technical does it get?
You don't need to be an expert: just have an understanding of data-exchange formats, such as JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) to represent data.

+ Who should take part?
Students and clinicians with an interest in connected health, from a range of settings, from primary health networks to hospitals.  We want to boost participation by people who we know are traditionally underrepresented in exercises such as this:  women, people from Culturally and Linguistically  Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, Indigenous people and people who are LGBTIQA+. 

+I'm outside Australia. Can I take part?

+ What are the prizes?
Prizes* (values all in AUD)
1st Prize value: $1000
2nd: $400
3rd: $100
Best Female Submission: $500
Best New Entrant: $500

+ What's the time investment needed?
You must be available for several preparatory briefings. The first  day, Monday 28 June, starts with two workshops. The competition ends at 2pm , Monday 5 July.

+ When is the Competition?
2:00pm Mon 28 June - 2:00pm 5 July 2021

+ How do I register?
Fill out the form here.