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by Cerner Corporation
Published on September 5, 2018

Over 20 health care companies have formed the Da Vinci Project, a private-sector initiative that is leveraging HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) to improve data sharing in value-based care (VBC) arrangements via two initial test cases.

Stakeholders clearly understand the criticality of working together to define a common set of standards that can be implemented on a national basis. The project will minimize the development and deployment of one-off solutions between partners with a goal to help medical groups and health plans better deliver on clinical quality, cost and care management outcomes. The HL7 FHIR technology enables easier sharing of health information across plans and practices, reducing duplicative tests and supporting better health outcomes.

Da Vinci Project Founders and Governance

The Da Vinci Project was founded by the following health plans, care providers and vendor organizations: Allscripts, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Blue Cross of Idaho, Cambia Health Solutions, Cerner, Cigna, Cognosante, Edifecs, Epic, Health Care Service Corporation, Health Level Seven (HL7) International, HealthLX, Humana, Independence Blue Cross, Optum, Surescripts, Rush University Medical Center, UnitedHealthcare and Zeomega. For a full list of members visit:

The Da Vinci Project, hosted by HL7 International, operates independently but collaborates with HL7 work groups to ensure feedback into FHIR standards. As a founding member, HL7’s leadership team provides critical support to ensure, where appropriate, that the project’s implementation guides will be balloted through the HL7 process to become open industry standards.

Chief Information Officer, Rush System for Health and Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Shafiq Rab said, “Da Vinci is a collective initiative of concerned, diverse market leaders that include payers, providers, HL7 and EHR vendors that understand how critical it is to put forward and employ standards that promote data exchange in real time. These efforts will enable data to be available at the right time to the right person every time securely.

“This level of collaboration across payers and providers is unprecedented and will have a tremendous impact on how we use data to improve health care while keeping the architecture simple. Da Vinci members are selecting the most relevant use cases that will showcase the effectiveness of its solutions. The initial success has been over joyous, and I believe that such act of selflessness is what our nation needs,” Rab said.

The founding member organizations have established a formal governance model for Da Vinci, which includes both steering and operating committees. The Da Vinci operating committee is responsible for the project’s day-to-day activities. The steering committee approves recommended business case priorities, consultant resources, contracts required and obligations necessary to complete projects based on the recommendations received by the operating committee.

Sagran Moodley, UnitedHealthcare senior vice president of Clinical Data Services and Technology, serves as the chair of the steering committee. Jocelyn Keegan, payer practice lead at Point-of-Care Partners, acts as the Da Vinci program manager. Dr. Viet Nguyen, founder of Stratametrics, serves as the project’s technical director.

“We are thrilled with the initial participation and interest in the work of the Da Vinci Project. The support demonstrates the shared understanding from industry stakeholders that health plans and care providers need to have in common and well-defined ways to exchange critical data in order for the focus on value and outcomes to succeed,” said Keegan. “We believe the flexibility and specificity of HL7 FHIR and its underlying resources will enable our partners to define targeted use cases to power standard-based approaches to share the minimal data required by these new contracts and partnerships.”

Da Vinci Project Use Cases

To promote interoperability across VBC stakeholders and to guide the development and deployment of interoperable solutions on a national scale, the industry needs common standards such as HL7 FHIR, implementation guides and reference implementations. The Da Vinci Project has identified two initial use cases currently underway:

  • 30-Day Medication Reconciliation

Medication reconciliation programs can reduce the incidence of adverse drug events after discharge. The objective is to create a simple workflow that enables care providers to indicate a 30-Day Medication Reconciliation was done for a specific patient on a specific date.

  • Coverage Requirements Discovery

Coverage discovery enables care providers to request and receive information on health plan coverage requirements at point of service.

“Value-based care promotes better patient results at lower costs, and it relies on timely data sharing between doctors and health plans,” said Moodley. “The associated data-sharing capabilities support physicians in a number of ways, including enabling them to see patients’ benefits in real time, improving medical record exchange and reporting, informing clinical decisions at the point of care, and helping them reduce administrative burden.”

Significant progress was made on the initial use cases at a project meeting in Cleveland, April 30-May 1, 2018, and subsequent sessions in Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 21-22, 2018. The Da Vinci team received project scope statement approvals at the May HL7 International Conference and Working Group Meeting and has submitted the initial drafts of the implementation guides in the current September 2018 ballot cycle. The team will bring the initial implementation guides and reference implementations for use at the September HL7 FHIR Connectathon in Baltimore.