Northern Region Implementation Guide
0.2.0 - CI Build

Northern Region Implementation Guide, published by healthAlliance. This is not an authorized publication; it is the continuous build for version 0.2.0). This version is based on the current content of and changes regularly. See the Directory of published versions


Demographics resources

Resources that are involved in the response to a demographics query. In most queries the response will always be in a Bundle resource containing the resources that match the search. They will be a combination of Patient and other resources linked in a graph (or web) of resources by the references between them. The exception is when a query is retrieving a resource based on it’s resource id - in which case the resource alone is

The following diagram shows the relationship between the key resources.

The resources that are used are:

Resource Purpose/s
Patient Represents the patient - the person receiving care
Practitioner Represents a person delivering healthcare (regardless of qualification). Curently, this is used for the General Practitioner, but could also represent a doctor or nurse within a hospital
Organization A group responsible for delivering care. The DHB or General Practice are examples of this.

Note that there is a direct reference from the Patient to the Practitioner or Organization rather than using an intermediate PractitionerRole.

It is the responsibility of the client to correctly identify and process the resources that are returned in a query or referenced by a resource. For example the patients general practitioner is represented by the Patient.generalPractitioner element. This can be a reference to:

  • the actual Practitioner resource (if that is known)
  • an Organization that represents the practice
  • or both. (In this implementation, a PractitionerRole will not be returned)

There are actually a number of responsibilities for a FHIR client to safely use the API - as detailed in the safety page of the spec.

(Each resource will likely have it’s own API to be used by the client application assembling the Discharge Summary. However, there are a number of ways that the APIs can be structured according the the details of the use case - and the degree to which the ‘work’ should be performed by the client or the server. For example the client could first retrieve the Encounter resource, then the individual linked resources via separate calls. Alternatively, there could be a custom operation that retrieves all the resource in a single call - though this is a less flexible approach, and can require client customization.)


It is important to distinguish between the id of a resource, and an identifier that it may contain.

  • The resource id is part of it’s ‘location’ on the server. It allows a resource to be retrieved across a RESTful interface using a combination of the Server, resource type and id using the pattern [server url]/{resource type}/{id}. For example, would return the Patient resource with an id of 100 from the server at (if it exists). If a resource is copied form one server to another, the id will almost certainly change
  • The identifier is a property of the resource, and will not change if the resource is copied between servers. An example of an identifier is the NHI, but they are widely used in FHIR. To retrieve a required based on it’s identifier use a query of the form: Unlike the retrieval by id, this query will return a Bundle containing the matching resources. More advanced queries can be made - see the FHIR Spec for details, and the API page in this spec for what is supported by healthAlliance.