International Patient Access
1.0.0-preview - STU1 International flag

International Patient Access, published by HL7 International - Patient Care Work Group. This is not an authorized publication; it is the continuous build for version 1.0.0-preview). This version is based on the current content of https://github.com/HL7/fhir-ipa/ and changes regularly. See the Directory of published versions

Conforming to this Specification

IPA conformant servers SHALL support:

  • the resources as profiled by IPA to represent clinical information (Profile Support) and the RESTful FHIR API interactions defined for it (Interaction Support)
  • the SMART on FHIR obligations and capabilities

This page documents how CapabilityStatements declare conformance to the IPA Profiles and their FHIR Interactions. It also defines the expectations for mandatory and must-support elements. The Gaining Access to a Patient Record page documents the SMART on FHIR obligations and capabilities.

Note that the FHIR Conformance Rules defines the conformance verbs - SHALL, SHOULD, MAY - used in this guide

Conformance Artifacts

The Artifacts page lists the IPA Profiles defined for this implementation guide. Core Profile StructureDefinitions defines the minimum elements, extensions, vocabularies, and value sets which SHALL be present when using the profile. Many Profile pages also contain additional guidance.

The Profile elements consist of both Mandatory and Must Support elements. Mandatory elements are elements with a minimum cardinality of 1 (min=1). The base FHIR Must Support guidance requires specifications to define the support expected for profile elements labeled Must Support. The sections below explain how these elements are displayed and define the rules for interpreting profile elements and sub-elements labeled Mandatory and Must Support for requesters and responders.

Capability Statements

The International Patient Access Client CapabilityStatement outlines conformance requirements and expectations for the IPA Clients. This CapabilityStatement describes the basic rules for the International Patient Access client actor that initiates a data access request to and retrieves patient data from an IPA Responder. In addition, it lists the client conformance expectations for each resource type documented in IPA. These expectations include supported FHIR profiles, RESTful operations, and search parameters. International Patient Access clients define their capabilities by choosing from this list based on the resource types they need to access.

The International Patient Access Server CapabilityStatement outlines conformance requirements and expectations for the IPA Clients This CapabilityStatement describes the basic rules for the International Patient Access server actor that is responsible for providing responses to queries submitted by International Patient Access requestors. The complete list of FHIR profiles, RESTful operations, and search parameters supported by International Patient Access servers are defined in this CapabilityStatement.

Note that country-specific profiles must define terminology bindings and invariants.

Declaring Conformance

Servers that are conformant to the International Patient Access API declare conformance by:

  • The server hosts a capability statement at [url]/metadata that is available to both authenticated and unauthenticated clients and that declares that IPA is supported using CapabilityStatement.instantiates, as shown in the following fragment:

      {
        "resourceType": "CapabilityStatement",
        ...
        "instantiates": [
          "http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/CapabilityStatement/ipa"
        ],
        ...  
        "rest": [
          {
            "mode": "server",
          ...
          }
        ] 
      }
    

    Note that the CapabilityStatement may be different for authenticated and unauthenticated clients.

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Exchange Format Support

In FHIR, resources are exchanged in the following formats: JSON, XML, and Turtle. Due to the popularity of JavaScript-based apps and ease of usage with JSON, the most popular exchange format for REST-styled APIs is JSON. To increase certainty and the likelihood of interoperability, IPA mandates the support of JSON. IPA Servers are encouraged to support XML as well.

Profile and Interaction Support

Systems deploy and support the IPA profiles to represent clinical information and the IPA RESTful interactions to access that information. Therefore, servers must implement and support IPA profiles and interactions to claim conformance to IPA.

Profile Support

Profile Support refers to the support of the IPA profiles, such that the system exposes FHIR resources that adhere to the IPA profiles’ content model. Specifically, a server with IPA Profile Support:

  • SHALL communicate all profile data elements that are mandatory by that profile’s StructureDefinition.
  • SHALL declare conformance with the IPA Server Capability Statement by including its official URL in the server’s CapabilityStatement.instantiates element: http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/CapabilityStatement/ipa-server
  • SHALL specify the full capability details from the IPA CapabilityStatement it claims to implement, including declaring support for the IPA Profile by including its official URL in the server’s CapabilityStatement.rest.resource.supportedProfile element

Note that each IPA Profile page contains that IPA Profile’s official or “canonical” URL.

Interaction Support

Interaction Support refers to a system that supports the IPA RESTful interactions. Specifically, a server with IPA Interaction Support:

  • SHALL implement the RESTful behavior according to the FHIR specification, including read and search behavior and required search parameters as defined in the IPA CapabilityStatement.
  • SHALL specify the full capability details from the IPA CapabilityStatement it claims to implement, including declaring support for the IPA Profile’s FHIR RESTful transactions.

Must Support

In the context of IPA, the “supported flag” on any data element SHALL be interpreted to mean FHIR’s MustSupport. Realm-specific implementation guides may provide additional guidance. However, they SHOULD identify and document these differences.

When information on a particular data element is not present, and the reason for absence is unknown, IPA Responders SHALL NOT include the data elements in the resource instance returned as part of the query results. Conversely, IPA Requestors SHALL be able to process resource instances containing data elements asserting missing information.

Must Support elements are treated differently between IPA responders and requestors.

Must Support If Available, For Responders

Responders conforming to a profile in IPA SHALL return a Must Support element if that element is available.

There are a few potential reasons by a Must Support element may not be available, for example:

  • Elements for a particular patient are not available. For example, a registration system may not have the technical capability to collect and store lab results and therefore is not expected to respond with lab results when queried.
  • Elements are available, but the requestor is not authorized to access the data.
  • Elements marked as Must Support in IPA may not have universal applicability from one country to the next. Due to localization appropriateness, national or regional FHIR specifications may re-use IPA profiles but not require support for a given Must-Support element. Elements may not be available if more local FHIR specifications based upon IPA remove support requirements.

Note: Responders who cannot store or return a data element tagged as Supported in IPA profiles can still claim conformance to the IPA profiles per the IPA conformance resources.

Missing Data

There are situations when information on a particular data element is missing, and the source system does not know the reason for the absence of data.

Missing Must-Support and Optional Data

If the responder does not have data for an element with a minimum cardinality = 0 (including elements labeled Must Support), the data element SHALL be omitted from the resource.

Note: an IPA responder may have no data to be included either because there are no data or because the data available are not pertinent.

Missing Must Support and Required Data

If an IPA responder does not have data to be included, the reason for the absence has to be specified as follows:

  1. For non-coded data elements, use the DataAbsentReason Extension in the data type.
  2. For coded data elements:
    • example, preferred, or extensible binding strengths (CodeableConcept datatypes):
    • if the source systems have text but no coded data, only the text element is used.
    • if there is neither text nor codes representing actual (i.e., non-exceptional) concepts:
      • use the appropriate exceptional concept code from the value set if available
      • use the appropriate concept code from the [DataAbsentReason Code System] if the value set does not have it. * required binding strength (CodeableConcept or code datatypes):
    • use the appropriate exceptional concept code from the value set

Must Support Means SHALL Process, for Requestors

Clients conforming to a profile in IPA SHALL be capable of processing resource instances containing must-support data elements, including elements with missing data, without generating an error or causing the application to fail. An element can be processed, for example, if the receiving application’s behavior can differ based on the element’s value.

For example, one possible value of the Observation.status element is entered-in-error. This element is marked as Must Support because requestors must be capable of processing this value to handle the resource’s clinical data appropriately.

Note: Readers are advised to understand FHIR Terminology requirements, FHIR RESTful API based on the HTTP protocol, along with FHIR DataTypes, FHIR Search and FHIR Resource formats when implementing IPA requirements.

Must Support - Resource References

Some elements labeled as Must Support reference multiple resource types or profiles (e.g., DocumentReference.author). IPA servers SHALL support at least one referenced resource or profile for each element listed in the table below. IPA client apps SHALL support all referenced resources or profiles listed in the table below.

IPA Profile Name Must Support Reference Element Must Support Reference
IPA-MedicationRequest MedicationRequest.reported[x] http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-patient, http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-practitioner, http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-practitionerrole
IPA-MedicationRequest MedicationRequest.requester http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-practitioner, http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-practitionerrole, http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-patient
IPA-DocumentReference DocumentReference.author http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-practitioner, http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-practitionerrole, http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-patient
IPA-DocumentReference DocumentReference.context.encounter http://hl7.org/fhir/StructureDefinition/Encounter, http://hl7.org/fhir/StructureDefinition/EpisodeOfCare
IPA-MedicationStatement MedicationStatement.context http://hl7.org/fhir/StructureDefinition/Encounter, http://hl7.org/fhir/StructureDefinition/EpisodeOfCare
IPA-MedicationStatement MedicationStatement.informationSource http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-practitioner, http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-practitionerrole, http://hl7.org/fhir/uv/ipa/StructureDefinition/ipa-patient, http://hl7.org/fhir/StructureDefinition/Organization, http://hl7.org/fhir/StructureDefinition/RelatedPerson

For example, when claiming conformance to the IPA DocumentReference Profile:

  • IPA Responders SHALL be capable of providing a DocumentReference.author with a valid reference to an IPA Practitioner Profile, an IPA PractitioneRole Profile, an IPA Patient Profile, or any combination of them if the element is available
  • IPA Requestors SHALL be capable of processing a DocumentReference.author with a valid reference to an IPA Practitioner Profile, IPA PractitionerRole Profile, and an IPA Patient Profile.

Must Support - Choice of Data Types

Some elements labeled as Must Support allow different data types (e.g., Observation.effective[x]) for their content. IPA servers SHALL support at least one data type for each element listed in the table below. IPA client apps SHALL support all data types listed in the table below.

IPA Profile Name Must Support Choice Element Must Support Data Types
IPA-Immunization Immunization.occurrence[x] dateTime, string
IPA-MedicationRequest MedicationRequest.reported[x] boolean, Reference
IPA-MedicationRequest MedicationRequest.medication[x] CodeableConcept, Reference
IPA-Observation Observation.effective[x] dateTime, Period
IPA-Observation Observation.value[x] Quantity, CodeableConcept, string, boolean, integer, Range, time, dateTime, Period
IPA-MedicationStatement MedicationStatement.medication[x] CodeableConcept, Reference
IPA-MedicationStatement MedicationStatement.effective[x] dateTime, Period

For example, when claiming conformance to the IPA Observation Profile:

  • IPA Responders SHALL be capable of populating Observation.effectiveDateTime, Observation.effectivePeriod, or both if the element is available.
  • IPA Requestors SHALL be capable of processing Observation.effectiveDateTime and Observation.effectivePeriod

Systems MAY support populating and processing other choice elements not listed in the table (such as Observation.effectiveInstant), but this is not a requirement.