FHIR for Healthcare Data Startups

Given the challenges faced by healthcare startups, adopting the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard is a wise choice for effectively using a startup’s resources. Read this article to explore FHIR's benefits, budget considerations, API options, and essential skill sets required for a successful health startup.

Healthcare startups will soon become more popular: Statista projects revenues of the eHealth apps market to hit $1.84 billion in 2023, with a 13% annual growth rate, projecting a $3 billion market by 2027. The percentage of potential customers is expected to rise from 2.74% in 2023 to 3.28% by 2027, and the average revenue per user (ARPU) is estimated at $8.76.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of FHIR profiles for startups and share how it facilitates efficient data management, cost savings, and innovation acceleration. Let’s dive into the benefits of FHIR for healthcare startups and some spectacular real-world examples of eHealth solutions that can help you better understand digital health FHIR solutions for startups.

The FHIR Standard: A Base for Healthcare Startups

The FHIR standard has a fascinating history that we highly recommend getting acquainted with for all considering the adoption of FHIR for startups. In our Ultimate Guide to FHIR, you’ll find all the ins and outs of this standard, so learn from industry experts about the most transformative data exchange standard.

FHIR provides a dynamic framework: a versatile set of building blocks, enabling startups to represent complex healthcare concepts simply. The Application Programming Interface (FHIR API) allows for the exchange of electronic health records, ensures seamless interaction between all FHIR-first systems, and shapes the future of healthcare data management.

What Are the Budget and FHIR API Options?

Startups in healthcare can have a limited budget. Hence, some choose free options, while others invest in commercial options for extensive functionality and support. The decision depends on a startup’s financial resources, technical expertise, and specific needs.

  • Open-Source Solutions: a cost-effective choice for startups with limited budgets. These solutions offer flexibility and customization options. However, startups should know potential challenges, such as security concerns, when using open-source FHIR solutions.
  • Commercial Solutions: offer a robust and reliable FHIR API with additional features and support. This option can be a time-saving and cost-effective choice for startups, allowing them to focus on their core healthcare innovations while relying on a proven FHIR infrastructure.

Skills Needed for a Successful Healthcare Startup

Having the right skill set is very important. When startups are forming their teams, they should consider these skills:

  • Healthcare Domain Knowledge: Understanding healthcare regulations, workflows, and patient needs is essential for developing effective healthcare solutions.
  • Technical Expertise: A team proficient in database management can navigate the complexities of healthcare data.
  • Data Security: Ensuring patient data security and compliance with healthcare data security laws requires understanding the importance of data security in healthcare.
  • User Experience (UX) Design: Creating user-friendly interfaces for healthcare applications is crucial to engaging patients and healthcare professionals.
  • Project Management: Effective project management skills are essential for meeting deadlines and delivering a high-quality product.

Creating a team with these critical skills is vital for the success of a healthcare startup. However, some burdens may be eliminated if a healthcare startup picks an out-of-the-box solution like the Kodjin FHIR Server for healthcare data management. Such solutions can provide a pre-built framework, simplifying the development process and allowing a team to focus on customization and innovation. 

The Key Challenges Faced by Healthcare Startups

When healthcare startups imagine their groundbreaking medical applications, they often begin with a compelling vision of improving patient care and streamlining healthcare processes. However, in implementing their vision, startups often face unforeseen obstacles. 

The Burden of Data Management

Many startups have a brilliant concept and a clear vision of how their application will benefit patients and healthcare providers. However, as they dive into the development process, they quickly realize the complexities of managing healthcare data and spend their time and money attempting to overcome the increasing problems because their eHealth app’s development was not carefully thought out.

Creating Data Structures from Scratch

Any healthcare startup must build databases to store patient information, clinical data, and other crucial healthcare data. This process may seem straightforward, but it’s far from it. Building data structures requires time, resources, and technical expertise, which some startups might not have. Implement FHIR for startups to overcome the data structure challenge by getting ready-to-use data structures and models. 

A Waste of Resources

Unfortunately, due to all the challenges mentioned above, startups often get entangled in the intricacies of data storage, data exchange mechanisms, and data validation processes instead of concentrating on developing innovative healthcare solutions. This diversion of focus can be costly in terms of time and money. Startups allocate significant resources to tasks that do not directly contribute to realizing their innovative healthcare solution.

Why Is FHIR the Best Solution for Digital Health Startups?

When leveraging the FHIR standard, healthcare startups no longer need to worry about the complexities of data storage and data structure creation since it provides a well-defined data model, allowing startups to focus directly on developing healthcare applications.

FHIR is the primary healthcare standard for interoperability, thanks to various regulations and initiatives, which allows startup solutions to be easily integrated. The FHIR standard streamlines the challenges associated with data storage and structure creation, providing a well-defined model. Governments push the FHIR standard to support development and ensure secure and standardized data exchange. Hence, embracing FHIR allows startups to seamlessly integrate their solutions into the healthcare landscape.

Healthcare startups can receive an HL7 FHIR data model encompassing a comprehensive set of healthcare data elements, saving them from the painstaking work of creating everything from scratch. FHIR supports the app’s development process and ensures data is stored, validated, standardized, and exchanged in a way that doesn’t violate data privacy laws.

Real-World Example of FHIR Power: AWS HealthLake

HealthLake is an excellent example of why FHIR and healthcare startups are a match made in heaven. It is a HIPAA-eligible service built with FHIR that ingests, stores, and analyzes clinical data using the FHIR (R4) specification. It transforms unstructured healthcare data, such as clinical notes and medical images, into a structured format. 

If you are not that savvy about the value of data privacy in healthcare, you have another topic to dig into before developing an eHealth app. Without complying with data privacy regulations (e.g., HIPAA), you can’t deal with confidential patient data and may receive severe monetary penalties for violating sensitive data privacy rules. 

HealthLake Use Cases

  • Population Health Management: Analyzing population health trends, outcomes, and costs to identify appropriate interventions and care management options.
  • Improving Quality of Care: Helping healthcare organizations close gaps in care, improve quality, and reduce costs by compiling a complete view of a patient’s medical history.
  • Optimizing Hospital Efficiency: Offering hospitals analytics and machine learning tools to improve efficiency and reduce waste.

Amazon HealthLake uses FHIR for rapid, secure health data ingestion and storage. It enables FHIR REST API operations, ensuring data management and secure storage in the cloud. FHIR is the cornerstone of HealthLake’s efficient healthcare data management and analysis.

Can FHIR Startups Be as Successful as Industry Business Sharks?

Yes, they can, and Edenlab is here to help you with that! Contact us to discuss how we can use the Kodjin FHIR Server for your startup to streamline data management, reduce costs, and accelerate innovation in the healthcare industry. Our FHIR-first tools in the Kodjin Interoperability Suite ensure the reliability and scalability of eHealth solutions and provide the support needed to navigate the complexities of healthcare startup development. Your journey to revolutionizing healthcare starts with a collaboration with Edenlab.

Post author

Stanislav Ostrovskiy

Partner, Business Development at Edenlab

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