REST APIs are familiar to developers. FHIR is, in part, a RESTful API over ~150 Resources (classes, entities, objects, tables, types). Each Resource has GET, POST, PATCH, etc HTTP operations. Base Resources can be constrained or extended with Profiles that are a kind of a document schema. Documents are formatted as JSON and XML.
FHIR is easy to use for developers because it exposes conventional API patterns from other industries to health care data specifically
A FHIR Resource formatted as JSON looks something like this:
JSON is the world's most popular structured data storage format, and so it's compatible with every development environment. Sero's quickstart guide has some practical starting points for developers:
FHIR powers patient access to health data like current and past medications, immunization history, allergies, diagnostic reports, clinical notes, care plans and more.
Patient-directed access to FHIR data sources is a significant initiative in the United States and operates under the umbrella term "SMART":
SMART Health IT was launched with a New England Journal of Medicine article proposing a universal API (application programming interface) to transform EHRs into platforms for substitutable iPhone-like apps
With FHIR + SMART, patient-directed access to health data is not only possible - but available in totally transparent and open ways.