Monday, January 20, 2014

FHIR Full Steam Ahead

Update from the HL7 Workgroup Meeting (WGM). Although I am not at the meeting due to a traumatic automobile accident, the FMG did have a meeting that they extended to those of us members that couldn't make the meeting. The main agenda for the meeting was to agree on if we will be targeting a second formal ballot, or go direct to DSTU. The GE pushback has caused much open and transparent discussion among the FHIR community. The FMG took this FHIR community consensus as advisement. There was a very visible survey done at the FHIR Connectathon, as reported to me by Scott Bolte (GE).

After all this deliberation the FMG voted unanimously to go direct to DSTU, providing nothing traumatic comes up this week at the WGM. I will note that the GE position was an urging for a second ballot, while being very clear GE accepts either outcome as long as it is open and transparent.

A few actions did happened as an affect of the open and transparent discussion as a result of the GE pushback. First there will be some letters published openly that explains the way that FHIR is going to utilize the DSTU. These letters will stress that during the DSTU phase there will be no effort to maintain backward compatibility, yet all changes must be justified and persuasive.

Also there will be a formal bug-tracking system that is attached to the SVN that is used to maintain the source for the FHIR specification. Everyone is encouraged to report bugs, membership is not a factor. All bugs will be formally tracked, discussed, and disposed of. The changes to the specification will be linked to the bug.

There will be regular releases of the 'current' specification, with change-tracking generated from the bug-tracking system. Of these releases there will be some milestones that will be saved for longer times, such as the versions used for connectathons.

I am very happy with this result. Did I want a second ballot, yes. But what I really wanted was a open and transparent discussion of the process, with very visible understanding of the current stability and maturity of the specification with go-forward mechanisms and milestones.