Yes, I understand v1 and v2 were published earlier, but the version that took off and captured integration nerds’ hearts started with 2.1. For those keeping score, that means that the Electric Slide and HL7 v2.1 are both 32 years young. Feel old yet?
But I digress. The intention of this post is to address the most repeated feedback that I heard on my previous article.
But I drive electric
To some this might not sound particularly constructive, but it actually got me thinking (and not just about buying an electric car, which I’m planning on doing). Information really is more like electricity than gas.
1. It’s created from a myriad of sources.
Electricity can be produced from Solar, Wind, Nuclear, Coal (gasp), etc. Gas, not so much.
Health information comes from a broad set of sources: EMRs, wearables, SDOH, labs, pharmacies, and more. And just like electricity, you can put all those sources together to produce something more valuable than their parts.
2. It’s bi-directional.
Part of the beauty of the electrical grid is that if you produce more power than you consume, you can actually sell it back to the grid and share it with the community. Good luck trying to sell your last quarter tank back to the gas station.
But health information really does work this way. Once it’s been mapped to an industry standard like FHIR it can be combined and shared in all kinds of wonderful ways to tease out insights and drive innovation across the industry.
3. It’s sustainable.
I’m not here to debate global warming, because it’s a fact. Also the earth is not flat.
The point here is that since electricity can be sourced from renewable sources, it gives us a sustainable path forward as a species.
Health information is much the same way. If we don’t start putting this data to good uses to help drive down costs and improve outcomes (Value Based Care anyone?), then we’re quickly on a road to ruin.
4. It’s multifunctional.
While gas can power cars and a few other tools, I’m thankful I don’t have to fill up my laptop.
Conversely, electricity powers nearly everything, and similarly, good quality health information powers a world of innovation. Gone are the days of siloed EMRs — just look at all these categories!
Interoperability, like electricity, is a wonderful thing when channeled properly. In equal parts, it has the power to add years to our life and life to our years, and to that I say let’s do the electric slide. ⚡