In his keynote speech at the Developer Days 2015 Grahame Grieve said FHIR is not a draft version, it is a “working version driven by the community”. FHIR has always been a somewhat unruly child in the HL7 standards family. It refuses to wait until it’s grown-up (“normative”) before leaving home. The core team is convinced this will eventually make the standard stronger, as input from the community is taken into account while developing the standard. It’s modesty, actually: you can’t know it all in advance. David McCallie said so as well in a previous interview about FHIR.
There is a price however. People have started using FHIR in production environments even since it was only DSTU1. Breaking changes have occurred since then, forcing people to re-engineer their tools and systems. We experencied this for example with Forge. And our tool for generating implementation guides was based on DSTU1 and does not support the Implementation Guide Resource.
During the HL7 Working Group Meeting in Orlando last week, I spoke to several customers who were somewhat concerned about the new ideas and changes in the FHIR specification. So I asked Josh Mandel, member of the FHIR core team and present at the WGM, how he addresses these concerns. Here’s his answer.