ONC Mentors + Computer Science Graduate Students + Inferno = Campus on FHIR

John Bender | May 20, 2021

To promote and support the consistent development and implementation of the Health Level Seven (HL7®) International® Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® (FHIR®) standard and associated implementation guides, ONC launched the Inferno testing suite a few years back. Inferno supports the ONC Health IT Certification Program through a set of streamlined tests for software services seeking to meet the requirements of the 2015 Edition Cures Update’s “Standardized API for Patient and Population Services certification criterion” and also includes a “community” aspect to it, which anyone working with FHIR implementation guides can use to collaborate with ONC to develop and contribute tests.

This past fall, a group of graduate students in Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science program were challenged by their professor to do just that. Specifically, these health informatics students were asked to look at ways to enhance Inferno’s capacity to support FHIR implementation guide development and implementation. Once these students started to engage with Inferno, ONC’s resident experts stepped in to help mentor them when they needed help and advice.

One group of students focused on developing support for client-side FHIR testing in Inferno to allow developers to route client-server interactions through a proxy tool to record interactions and evaluate the interactions with a FHIR implementation guide’s CapabilityStatement. A second group of students focused on a tool that dynamically generated a FHIR server based on a FHIR implementation guide’s CapabilityStatement and populated it with example data.

We thought it was pretty cool how these two student groups extended the Inferno testing suite and wanted to share the results of their work to further inspire you. For more information on the Inferno Client-side FHIR Testing project, please check out its GitHub repository (with kudos to its team: Paul Cassell, Tomoki Hattori, Steven Hawley, Qiang Hu, Vishal Rathi). And for more information on the Dynamic FHIR Server Generation project, please check out its GitHub repository (with kudos to its team: Mehul Bhuva, Santha Kumar Bobbili, Joshua Metcalf, Poonyaporn Nanthakijjar).

If you’re working on FHIR and implementation guide testing, please check out Inferno and join the community.