Devs new to FHIR can be productive almost immediately.
This is not always a good thing. Early productivity can hide how much they don’t know.
This was me years ago.
To compensate for what I didn’t know, I made multiple calls to FHIR to get data I didn’t need. Then I wrote code to filter the results.
Let’s say you’re responsible for maintaining a list of Practitioners in a FHIR server.
A dev new to FHIR might make a GET request for that list, run some logic on the results in C# or Java, then send back a Bundle to update some Practitioners and create others.
It works, but it’s awkward.
This is where the “conditional update” or “conditional PUT” comes in — a moderately advanced FHIR feature that many devs never use.
You don’t need to GET the Practitioner first.
All you need to know is: “Can the Practitioner be uniquely identified by a FHIR query?”
Then you let the FHIR server do all the heavy lifting.
In the case of our dev updating Practitioner details, her conditional PUT request might look like this:
The FHIR server will look for a Practitioner with an Identifier of:
– system: http://hl7.org/fhir/sid/us-npi
– value: 789654789X
If it finds one, it will update the resource.
If it fails to find one, it will create a new Practitioner.
If it finds more than one, it will fail with a 412 error.
A single query. No code required.
Of course, not every FHIR server implements conditional updates.
Learn more: https://build.fhir.org/http.html#cond-update
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