TermiCron - Bridging the Gap Between FHIR Terminology Servers and Metadata Repositories

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2022 Jun 6;290:71-75. doi: 10.3233/SHTI220034.


The large variability of data models, specifications, and interpretations of data elements is particular to the healthcare domain. Achieving semantic interoperability is the first step to enable reuse of healthcare data. To ensure interoperability, metadata repositories (MDR) are increasingly used to manage data elements on a structural level, while terminology servers (TS) manage the ontologies, terminologies, coding systems and value sets on a semantic level. In practice, however, this strict separation is not always followed; instead, semantical information is stored and maintained directly in the MDR, as a link between both systems is missing. This may be reasonable up to a certain level of complexity, but it quickly reaches its limitations with increasing complexity. The goal of this approach is to combine both components in a compatible manner. We present TermiCron, a synchronization engine that provides synchronized value sets from TS in MDRs, including versioning and annotations. Prototypical results were shown for the terminology server Ontoserver and two established MDR systems. Bridging the semantic and structural gap between the two infrastructure components, this approach enables shared use of metadata and reuse of corresponding health information by establishing a clear separation of the two systems and thus serves to strengthen reuse as well as to increase quality.

Keywords: HL7 FHIR; Metadata Repository; Secondary Use.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Facilities
  • Metadata*
  • Semantics*