How FHIR Solutions Do Double Duty for IT Teams and Clinicians

Laura Grobecker, Implementation Consultant, Healthwise Professional Services

There’s a series of Wendy’s commercials from the 1980s that features a very small hamburger in a very large bun and a dissatisfied customer who asks over and over, “Where’s the beef?!” A similar question is causing heartburn in healthcare.


Clinicians are asking “Where’s the beef?” about updated health education content. They receive notification that updated health education is available, but then they wait and wait…and wait for the updates to appear in their systems. Who’s at fault? Often clinicians assume IT backlogs are the reason for the lag in content updates, but overstretched technology staff can’t always drop everything to complete the time-consuming, manual update process.

This content lag is problematic because health information is ever changing (exhibit A: new research and recommendations around COVID-19 throughout the pandemic), and getting the most up-to-date information into clinicians’ hands is crucial. Most health education solutions require quarterly content updates, which means despite the fast-changing healthcare landscape, information is only updated four times a year. That’s not often enough.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get new and enhanced health content to patients faster? Healthwise has been exploring this particular pain point for our clients who use Epic. Health education solutions powered with SMART on FHIR technology can do it (which stands for Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). SMART on FHIR technology means health content and application updates are pushed to your systems and updated automatically in real time. This takes the pressure off your IT team (no more manual updates!) and ensures clinicians always have the most current health education.


Stop IT heartburn

Why is it so important to us that we find efficiencies for your IT staff? IT teams in healthcare are busy. Most healthcare systems are on the path to digital health transformation. And who’s in charge of making that happen? IT teams. A survey of 4,000 healthcare professionals ranked their top five digital transformation priorities, and the list spans all aspects of care from improving clinical operations to modernizing data platforms and integrating disparate systems.

That’s some big stuff. Clearly, healthcare IT teams have a lot on their plates, and smaller projects like education content updates can get pushed to the side when broader, more transformative projects are on the to-do list. So how can FHIR solutions help them?

  • Automatic, real-time updates prevent bottlenecks
    No more waiting for that quarterly update to roll around or requesting a special manual update to make that one really important health education change show up in your system. All updates and new content are deployed to your system automatically whenever they happen.
  • FHIR can save time and drain on technical resources
    Let your IT team keep working on your health system’s priorities uninterrupted. Instead of applying quarterly (or even monthly) patches to your system to keep your health education up to date, all the latest and greatest education appears with no action from your team.

Here’s how a FHIR-enabled system works in real life: Say there’s a global pandemic (sound familiar?), we know research is happening, and new information on the disease is being released constantly. Rather than waiting three months for the scheduled updates to be uploaded into your health education system—or even waiting for monthly patches—your health education reflects the new information in a matter of days. As soon as the research team updates the education, they push it to clients, and clinicians can immediately access the updated health education in their systems. IT teams can breathe a sigh of relief knowing it’s all happening seamlessly behind the scenes.


Customized for clinicians

SMART on FHIR solutions also bring notable perks for clinicians. At Healthwise, we’ve expanded on these benefits in our new FHIR-enabled solution for Epic, Healthwise® Advise. Here are some of the “clinician essentials” we’ve learned about and applied within Healthwise Advise:

  • Immediate availability and trustworthy content
    With FHIR, as soon as your education provider updates a piece of content, it’s immediately available to clinicians. Reducing reliance on IT team resources removes a step and means a shorter time between requests and delivery. And clinicians know the content they have is always the most current and up to date.

    At Healthwise, we’ve seen the benefit of keeping education current. We have a team of in-house experts who monitor literature and news services for changes in medicine that need to be reflected in our content. We also implement requests and suggestions from consumers and clinicians across our user base, making sure our health education is always usable and up to date. This complements a real-time, FHIR-enabled delivery of updated content for clinicians.
  • Tailored search results and recommendations
    As clinicians use our Healthwise Advise solution, it learns their preferences. It uses that information and patient data to tailor search results and recommended health education. As the system anticipates clinicians’ needs, it serves up applicable content more quickly, which cuts down on clicking and gives clinicians more time with patients.
  • Clear understanding of what education patients need next
    In Healthwise Advise, all the health education that's been provided to each patient is listed in one place. (No more clicking into each patient visit to find out what education they’ve been given.) This feature ensures patients don’t receive repetitive health education and helps clinicians know what to share next.
  • Personalized libraries of content favorites
    Clinicians can “favorite” pieces of education and organize them into libraries for easy access within Healthwise Advise. Each clinician can create their own content library with folders that can even include a progression of health education they regularly share over the course of patient care journeys. From there, they can share multiple pieces of content with just one click.
  • User-friendly side-by-side workflow
    Health education should fit into the current electronic medical records (EMR) workflow, and Healthwise Advise lives within Epic and appears alongside patient charts, allowing clinicians to view patient records and health education at the same time. This setup reduces clicks and jumping between windows. It also makes using the system easier for people who haven’t always interacted with patients and may be unfamiliar with the workflow.

Ready to switch to FHIR?

We have the beef that will save your IT team from heartburn and support your clinicians with the most trustworthy, up-to-date health education content. If you’re using Epic and a FHIR solution sounds like the right fit for you, we have good news! Healthwise Advise, our new FHIR-enabled health education solution for Epic users, can help you realize the benefits of a FHIR solution and more. For more information, check out a demo or contact us today.