The Episode Of Care Resource contains information about an association of a patient with a Healthcare provider for a period of time under which related healthcare activities may occur. In many cases, this represents a period of time where the healthcare provider has some level of responsibility for the care of the patient regarding a specific condition or problem, even if not currently participating in an encounter.
These resources are typically known in existing systems as:
– Episode Of Care: Case, Program, Problem, Episode
– Encounter: Visit, Contact
Many organizations can be involved in an Episode Of Care; however each organization will have its own Episode Of Care resource instance that tracks its responsibility with the patient. When an Organization completes their involvement with the patient and transfers care to another Organization. This is often in the form of a referral to another Organization (or Organizations).
When an incoming referral is received a new Episode Of Care may be created for this organization. The initial step(s) in the intake workflow for the referral often involve some form of assessment(s), eligibility, capacity, care levels, which could take some time. Once the intake process is completed and the patient is accepted, a Care Plan is often created.
Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is a draft standard describing data formats and elements (known as “resources”) and an application programming interface (API) for exchanging electronic health records. The standard was created by the Health Level Seven International (HL7) health-care standards organization.
Its goal is to facilitate interoperation between legacy healthcare systems, to make it easy to provide healthcare information to healthcare providers and individuals on a wide variety of devices from computers to tablets to cell phones, and to allow third-party application developers to provide medical applications which can be easily integrated into existing systems.
FHIR provides an alternative to document-centric approaches by directly exposing discrete data elements as services. For example, basic elements of healthcare like patients, admissions, diagnostic reports and medications can each be retrieved and manipulated via their own resource URLs (Uniform Resource Locators). FHIR was supported at an American Medical Informatics Association meeting by many EHR (Electronic Health Record) vendors which value its open and extensible nature.