How do you choose which FHIR resources to use?

It should be easy, but it’s not.

A patient is a Patient. That’s easy.

A procedure is a Procedure. That’s easy too.

How about a DiagnosticReport? That sounds easy. But maybe you should use a FHIR Document instead.

I asked about this last week because I was only 95% sure:

When should you use a Media resource instead of an Attachment? And should you use it instead of a Binary resource or coupled with a Binary resource? And what if the image is stored in a DICOM server. Do you need an ImagingStudy as well?

It’s not always clear which FHIR resources you should use for a given scenario. Even a common scenario.

As more organizations start using FHIR, the number of developers and teams using FHIR grows.

Many of them come to a project with little or no experience of FHIR. Sometimes with little or no experience of healthcare data.

That number — the lack-of-experience number — is growing as FHIR use grows.

Where do these devs start?

Reading the documentation? Learning in isolation?

Inventing the same wheel again and again. All of them making the same mistakes.

Over the past few weeks I made two posts about mapping a specific medical scenario to a set of FHIR resources.

I was curious if they would be of interest. They were. People left comments, they sent messages.

– Scenario 1:
– Scenario 2:

My thought at the time was that there should be a set of templates like these that roughly map common medical scenarios to their corresponding set of FHIR resources.

Not an off-the-shelf solution, but a starting point for new devs and new teams. So they don’t make the same mistakes. So they don’t over-simplify.

Twenty or fifty common scenarios.

For each scenario, start by looking at a particular set of FHIR resources. If they don’t quite fit your use case, adjust accordingly. But start there.

If we genuinely want to improve the quality of what goes into and comes out of FHIR servers, we need to provide useful, practical help to new devs and teams.

Maybe a resource like this already exists, but I haven’t found it.

Love to hear any thoughts people might have.



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