This project will investigate and document the implications that Merge/Link/unmerge/unlink have on the FHIR specification.
(This is not just to document the actual Operations, but also the expectations of clients with data that has been linked/merged)
The output may be content in the core FHIR specification, FHIR Implementation Guide(s) or Whitepaper(s)
A project team will form to work on this independent of the PA group, and will report into PA regularly, and for final approvals and inclusion into a ballot.
Initial project team will be:
First tasks will be to:
- document existing behaviors of existing products
- how this is exposed in the data
- what are the expectations of client applications
- then flow onto potential operation definitions for performing these functions (lower priority)
The timeline for development of this content is anticipated during R5
Existing tracker related to this topic include: GF#19687
From the R4 Specification
This specification does not specify merge functionality: if multiple patient records are found to be duplicates, they can be linked together, as described above. These links merely express the relationship between records, and in the case of a replacement link, indicate a "master" record. This specification does not mandate that FHIR servers migrate information between such records on finding such a link. Note:
- Health information administrators may call the process "merging", but it is often implemented as "linking" at the record level
- Servers are allowed to implement merging/record migration even though it is not mandated.
Note: We are seeking input from the implementer community on what effect linking/merging/unlinking should have on other functionality such as the GET operation, searching, reverse includes, etc.;
How should an unlink behavior be done?
How will the patient compartment interact with the merge?
This functionality and related behaviors is subject to ongoing experimentation and implementation testing, with a definition to be proposed in a future version of this specification.