18. InterSystems IRIS® FHIR® Accelerator Service
In this episode, we chat with Regilo Souza and Patrick Jamieson about the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR® Accelerator Service, a turnkey FHIR solution that will empower FHIR application developers to build innovative applications using FHIR data. Then, we hear from Evgeny Shvarov about the developer contest coming up involving this new and exciting product.
To learn more about the developer contest for the FHIR Accelerator Service, see here: https://community.intersystems.com/post/intersystems-fhir-accelerator-programming-contest
For more information about Data Points, visit https://datapoints.intersystems.com.
Derek Robinson 00:00:02 Welcome to Data Points, a podcast by InterSystems Learning Services. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast app. Links can be found at datapoints.intersystems.com. I'm Derek Robinson. And on today's episode, I'll chat with Regilo Souza, Patrick Jamieson, and Evgeny Shvarov about the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service and the upcoming developer contest around it.
Derek Robinson 00:00:39 Welcome to the Data Points podcast by InterSystems Learning Services. On today's episode, we'll be talking about one of the new and emerging areas of the InterSystems product stack, which is the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service. You'll sometimes hear the experts refer to this as FHIR as a Service during our conversation, and that really describes it well. This product provides FHIR® application developers with a turnkey solution for using FHIR data in their healthcare applications, without the overhead of building and supporting all of the FHIR infrastructure that would traditionally be required. For the first part of the episode today, I'll talk with Regilo and Patrick about the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service, what it is, why it matters for developers, and what's coming throughout the preview and eventual release of this product. Then after that discussion, Evgeny will join us to talk about the Developer Community contest that he runs. The one coming up this month will focus around the FHIR Accelerator Service. So without further ado, let's hear from the experts.
Derek Robinson 00:01:40 All right, and welcome to the podcast Regilo and Patrick. Thank you so much for joining us to talk about the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service. So, we'll start with you, Regilo. First, kind of tell us a little bit about what the IRIS® FHIR Accelerator service is and what the vision is for this product.
Regilo Souza 00:01:55 Hi there. Thank you for having us. Well, what we see in the market is that the healthcare sector has improved a lot in the last 20 years, modernizing the health information systems, but we still have a lot of silos inside and outside of the hospital or the health system itself. What we would like to do is be more inclusive, remove the silos, and provide a better way for our customers to the data, create a better healthcare response that we all would like to have. So basically what we want, and that's our vision, is unleash the creative data, so we can have better innovations.
Derek Robinson 00:02:44 Right, so kind of removing barriers to be able to, you know, dry unleash that innovation for those application developers that are making kind of the healthcare applications that changed the world, really.
Regilo Souza 00:02:54 Correct. So in my previous life, I worked in the World Health Organization, and I know how important it is to have right data in a timely fashion. And I always worry about the researchers, the care coordinators, the people that are not really in the front end, but also provide a big part of the healthcare response that we need.
Derek Robinson 00:03:18 Nice, nice. So Patrick, tossing it to you a little bit here. So tell us about, you know, as we move into an era and a lot of our audience that is up to date with healthcare tech would know that FHIR is becoming, and it has already become, a very central part to healthcare application development. Tell us a little bit about why the FHIR Accelerator Service, the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service, is so important moving into that era of healthcare tech.
Patrick Jamieson 00:03:44 Yeah. Thanks, Derek. Yes. It's no doubt that FHIR application development is going to dominate the next five to ten years. There's a big push, by not only HL7®, which has developed the FHIR® standard, but even governments around the world, including obviously in the U.S. with the office for the national coordinator, they're all stipulating that FHIR is the standard that they want for health information exchange. Specifically, patients have now a new right to get access to their healthcare data through a FHIR-based API. And with that, I think it's going to unleash a lot of creative potential in the market to build new kinds of applications, but even more importantly for this specific product, developers in general are warming up to using more cloud-based infrastructure. We just have a situation where managing servers, provisioning them, deploying them, and monitoring them is just really not worth the time and effort by a typical development team. And that's what the Accelerator Service does, is make this available, makes FHIR accessible and available to these people without having to manage all that infrastructure. Additionally, another important element in developing healthcare applications, is protecting health information. It's very, very important, and it's also very tricky to do, and that's something that is integral or baked into the FHIR Accelerator Service, so that developers don't have to worry about the security aspects and auditing aspects that are very hard to do on their own.
Derek Robinson 00:05:48 Right. Right. That makes sense. And I think, for any listeners that listened to one of our recent episodes, we talked with Jeff Fried about InterSystems becoming a cloud visionary, and kind of like the idea of adapting into the cloud. And it sounds like that's a big part of this product offering as well, which is removing those barriers and making it easy to be able to leverage deployments that developers and individual companies don't need to put forth so much overhead to get started. And be able to use the infrastructure that's there in the cloud.
Patrick Jamieson 00:06:16 Exactly. Yes. Absolutely.
Derek Robinson 00:06:19 Kind of looking at the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator service, what are some of the major use cases that you see as having the biggest impact with this service, with some of those FHIR application developers that we talked about developing these healthcare applications?
Patrick Jamieson 00:06:35 Yeah. There are a lot, and I want to just preface this by: FHIR is still in its
fairly early days. So we are just at the beginning or the cusp of what most people are describing as the next wave of digital healthcare applications, but they're going to be exciting, and I think they'll be quite innovative. So we're going to, for the first time, see where we use mobile device and patient data, all being able to be displayed not only to providers, but to patients and other kinds of participants in the healthcare marketplace like med tech companies, pharma companies, et cetera. Also, collecting this data for analytics is a very high priority by many, many different, participants in healthcare. One aspect of new application development is the closer coordination between payers and providers. And as you know, we have the CMS HealthShare® Solution Pack that's available just for this purpose. That's all FHIR-based. And then a whole litany of Smart on FHIR® applications, mainly targeted to providers that offer them new applications they just simply cannot get from their EMR vendors.
Derek Robinson 00:08:09 Right, right. Nice. And yeah, so you mentioned the related technologies and the CMS Solution Pack, which we have some other learning content on that's in development. As we look at the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service up against these other technologies, what's really the difference between the FHIR Accelerator Service and for instance, IRIS for Health™ or the really the larger umbrella of the technology stack that we see at InterSystems specifically in the healthcare development area?
Patrick Jamieson 00:08:41 Right. Well, they are both targeted at developers, so that they have in common—but there are differences between the two. The IRIS FHIR Accelerator Service is really focused on both FHIR interoperability and a FHIR repository. So FHIR repository is a data store that stores FHIR resources. And this is an excellent, what I'd call on-ramp to doing health application development. But it's not the only thing that you really need if you want to look at more broadly, some of the other tools that healthcare developers use or want. And that includes things like a multi-model database, which is part of IRIS for Health; other interoperability standards, such as HL7 V2, DICOM, CDA, and C-. These aren't really part of the Accelerator Service per se, and also IRIS for Health, as you know, has IntegratedML and machine learning that is not part of just the limited space of the FHIR Accelerator's interoperability functions. The good news is both of these development platforms, the lightweight FHIR Accelerator Service, and the more broad heavyweight IRIS for Health, work together. So you could start with one and you could broaden, and they will seamlessly work together.
Derek Robinson 00:10:23 Right, right. Nice. And yeah, I think viewing it as kind of an on-ramp is a good way to think of it. When you talk about all the different functionality that exists within IRIS for Health and what really that road can lead you to when it comes to really developing a robust healthcare app that makes a difference for patients, right. So back to you, Regilo, a little bit, returning to the IRIS FHIR Accelerator Service, and maybe the calls to action for users. I know that there's a preview that's kind of in the works here and the ability for developers to get their hands on this. Can you tell us a little bit about this preview period and kind of what people should know about that?
Regilo Souza 00:11:00 So, as you know, we launched the preview on April 8th, and what we want is having the full experience for anyone that is wanting to be using the preview as they were having the full, the commercial, product. We are expecting with the click of a button, to have the entire environment, a few minutes, with the functionality from that everybody is mentioning here. And the idea is having a very easy way to play with data, importing bundles or deleting bundles, getting all the experience that you have to really get ready for developing with that. So you can get a definition of scopes, you can go play with , everything that you would like to. But there are a few limitations. First, I would like to say that the end of the preview is going to be June 2nd, but we are going to limit the size of the server as well. It doesn't make any sense to have a huge server just for you to play. But also, we are expecting that nobody is using real patient data for that. So we are providing a few bundles of synthetic data. There are tons of synthetic data that are available in the world, so you can upload and use that. But we don't expect that anybody's going to use your own medical record to play with that.
Derek Robinson 00:12:45 Right, right. Nice. Yeah. So some more for development and testing in the beginning and really to get a feel for the product and see its functionality. During this preview period, obviously it sounds like part of the goal is to get this product to developers as early as possible, really, to be able to let them try it and get their hands on it. What should users expect when it comes to product updates or additional releases, and what support is available to them during this time period when they might be playing with the Accelerator Service?
Regilo Souza 00:13:15 Yeah, that's absolutely right. We want to have the product available for the developers as soon as possible so we can get the feedback. We want to get the most information possible so we can build a better product that meets their needs. So we are delivering new features every two weeks, and we are going to be working hard to get this feedback, prioritizing that, and bring it back to the community as soon as possible. They can count directly with support that is going to be available, is already available for them. Also, there is the documentation for the entire product, everything that…all the features that we are working has a documentation already that you can fully use, and of course has access to our community developers, so they can play around and see use case that they might benefit from.
Patrick Jamieson 00:14:10 One of the things that I think they'll like, Derek, is if they are relatively new to FHIR, the IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service has a development portal with all the FHIR definitions exposed through Open API. And so it makes it really easy for new developers that don't know much about FHIR to play around, test, and create resources, search for resources. So that's definitely something we'll want to check out.
Derek Robinson 00:14:43 Right. Right. So maybe not just limited to, you know, the FHIR experts out there, but people that are intrigued and want to get started.
Patrick Jamieson 00:14:52 Right. And even for the experts, I'll tell you the one aspect of the service that I think they'll find interesting is our OAuth 2.0 support. It's a very tricky thing to implement correctly. And I think we've made it fairly intuitive. It still requires some knowledge obviously of OAuth 2, but nevertheless, I think they'll find it quite interesting and easier to implement than their traditional OAuth 2 subsystems that I've worked with.
Derek Robinson 00:15:26 Right. Nice. So looking beyond the preview a little bit, and, you know, obviously one question that will come up for any interested, or prospective customer is, what does this ultimately cost? So I know Regilo mentioned the preview runs through June 2nd. So looking forward to the full release of this product and what people can expect as far as pricing and licensing goes, can you tell us a little bit about that, Patrick?
Patrick Jamieson 00:15:50 Yeah. I think the really good news is that we've made pricing very simple. We're charging $150 per core per month. Generally I'd say you'd need two cores to launch a basic server. And then we're also charging $40 per hundred gigabytes per month. So basically you got a very simple pricing equation here. We will have hourly or time-based pricing, so you can actually pause the service. And so you're only paying for what you use. And the nice thing is no long-term contracts, very simple click through licensing. So very easy to get started, and very easy to monitor how much you're spending. So you don't break the bank.
Derek Robinson 00:16:45 Right. And that goes right along with the whole kind of like adapting to the cloud idea where you don't have to put forth a ton of money and resources up front to get your servers and all that stuff, use what you're going to use in the beginning and pay for only what you're using. So, it seems like a friendly model for new people to get into that space.
Patrick Jamieson 00:17:01 Absolutely. That's what our customer's been asking for.
Derek Robinson 00:17:06 Right, right. Awesome. Well, Patrick and Regilo, thank you guys so much for joining us. As I had mentioned, we have also, coming up next in the episode, we're going to be talking a little bit about the developer contest, where developers can get their hands on it. But thank you guys for joining us, and we're looking forward to seeing more updates for sure.
Patrick Jamieson 00:17:20 All right. Thank you, Derek.
Derek Robinson 00:17:27 All right. So again, Evgeny, thank you for joining us to talk a little bit about this developer contest that's coming up and more generally kind of what these developer contests are. So, for those of our listeners that browse the Developer Community, I know personally, I always post the podcast episodes on the Developer Community when we release a new one. So, there's probably some overlap there, but tell us a little bit about these developer contests and kind of what developers should know in general about the contests that you've held in the past and continue to hold in the future.
Evgeny Shvarov 00:17:54 Oh yeah, sure. Thanks, Derek. Actually, we are having this series of Developer Community contests, where every two months, so we invite developers to contribute open-source applications and compete in building the applications with InterSystems technology around some topic. For example, we just finished a developer tools contest, where participants were asked to build different development tools that help to enhance and make it more robust the process of development, the es. And we had such great submissions. Yes. So, everyone is very welcome. So actually it depends on the topic every time. So, and I'm happy to say that the next will be related to FHIR.
Derek Robinson 00:19:01 Yeah, that's great. And I know I've seen some of these contests come through before, and they're always on, you know, cool features within the InterSystems technology stack. So as we mentioned earlier in the episode, and we had Regilo and Patrick talking about the FHIR
Accelerator Service, the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service, earlier. Tell us a little bit about this contest coming up that uses the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service as its central technology point of this contest.
Evgeny Shvarov 00:19:25 The next contest will be related to FHIR managed service that became available for all developers as an Amazon service, as a managed service, where developers can use InterSystems technology that helps them to consume a FHIR repository. They are very welcome to use this FHIR as a Service resource in their applications and use any technology they want to build the solution that will consume this Amazon FHIR as a Service capability. And they will compete, actually, we expect them to contribute open-source solutions, and the community itself, and developers, will vote for the best solution and the best will get some prizes.
Derek Robinson 00:20:22 Nice. So it sounds like, you know, much like these other contests, developers can use whatever tools are at their disposal. And so, Regilo…tying that back to what I think Patrick talked a little bit talked a little bit about earlier in the episode with the differences between the FHIR Accelerator Service and, for instance, IRIS for Health, or the interoperability features within the InterSystems technology stack. So it sounds like with this contest, developers don't have to have that really heavy burden of knowledge about the other technologies to be able to use the Accelerator Service as part of this contest.
Regilo Souza 00:20:55 That's correct. We want to strike off that layer of the database and make it easy for everybody to use any technology. The only important thing is you having the data available in a clean and secure way, so you can make a better use for an innovation that you might have.
Derek Robinson 00:21:13 Right? So developers are already familiar with different database technologies that aren't InterSystems, for example, it can kind of be their way in to use this technology. Even if they don't know InterSystems IRIS yet, they can still be able to participate in this contest without all of that in-depth knowledge of InterSystems technology. So potentially new developers should still be interested as well.
Regilo Souza 00:21:34 Correct. So as any API, you just make the calls that you need to get to the data or to add data as you need. And you should be ready to go. Very easy, kind of a black box that you have everything inside, and you don't need to worry about that. It's like you have the radio, you want to turn the station that you want. You don't need to know all the technology that's behind what the waves are going to do, you just want to tune, and you're going to listen to the music or the news that you want.
Derek Robinson 00:22:08 Right. Nice. That's awesome. So, so last question, Evgeny, kind of moving forward. How can developers learn more about this? How can they sign up? I know on the Developer Community, this info comes out, but what in particular should they be looking for and what kind of timeframe?
Evgeny Shvarov 00:22:23 Sure, this is very easy. All developers are very welcome to InterSystems Developer Community, where we will make an announcement of the times of the new coming contests and, as usual, they just need to choose the development stack, either Node.js, or Python, or maybe Ruby or whatever they like, use InterSystems FHIR as a Service on Amazon, and then contribute this code into GitHub and submit this GitHub on InterSystems Open Exchange. And Open Exchange is like a marketplace or apps gallery site, where every developer can submit an application. And this is how they can participate.
Derek Robinson 00:23:20 That's awesome. Sounds very exciting. And hopefully developers get their hands on the FHIR as a Service trial, as well as, you know, get into the contest and be able to show off their work. So, Evgeny, thanks for joining us. Regilo, thanks for the continued conversation. We'll see you guys soon.
Evgeny Shvarov 00:23:33 See you soon.
Derek Robinson 00:23:39 Thanks again, to Regilo, Patrick, and Evgeny for telling us about the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service. We're all pretty excited about what this solution can provide for FHIR application developers. We believe it's the first step away from the monolithic, siloed data paradigm, and toward a new paradigm of customizable ways to consume and view patient information. As we mentioned a few times during the discussion, the preview of this product launched in April, and it's still going on with continuous updates along the way. Head over to community.intersystems.com or see the link in this episode description to learn about the developer contest around the InterSystems IRIS® FHIR Accelerator Service. The announcement includes things like prize details, helpful resources, and how to get started. The registration and development phase runs from May 10th to May 30th, and the voting phase will follow that. Winners will be announced on June 7th. That'll do it for episode 18. We'll see you next time on Data Points.
Brought to you by InterSystems Learning Services of Data Points