If there's one question we are getting from prospective customers often it is "If we already decided on/invested in FHIR, why should we use OMOP?"
To answer that question, let's look at what each of those mean:
- The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), often pronounced 'fire' is a standard for connecting digital resources like software and devices in order to improve healthcare delivery.
- The Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics maintains a standard, or Common Data Model (OHDSI CDM) often referred to as OMOP, to represent clinical data for research.
Because both are referred to as "standards for clinical data", one might think they are competing standards. But in fact, this is not the case.
A good analogy is the telephone.
Whenever two people talk on the phone, they have all the required connectivity from the devices to the wires, radio transmitters and receivers, routers, switchboards and everything else even ears and mouths. This is analogous to FHIR.
In order to have a conversation they also need to have a common language, complete with a dictionary, grammar rules, phonetics, semantics and semiotics. This is the analog of OMOP.
Our technology supports both FHIR and OMOP. In the screenshot below, you can see how we use an automated workflow to receive data using FHIR, anonymise patient data before storage, transform the data into OMOP and finally store the transformed data for use in research projects.
Implementing an OMOP-based research capability is much easier than creating seamless interoperability with FHIR. Our technology makes it faster and inexpensive to create this capability in weeks rather than months or years.