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With CMS new requirements for vendors to allow app developers access to patient data. FHIR servers are now a necessity for most of the healthcare software vendors. Some of our customers are moving towards solutions like Redox, Commure, etc and some of Technosoft’s customer has started to look for a decent FHIR server that they can use to meet the CMS requirement of providing data access through FHIR. This article is written with the intent to provide our customers basic info about Vonk FHIR Server

About Vonk

Vonk is an enterprise-grade FHIR Server for production environments of any size. Vonk is designed and developed using FHIR specifications, .NET framework, and ideology of its predecessor Spark.

Spark is the free open source FHIR server provided by the same team Firely.

Vonk is available in three different distributions to accommodate a variety of development scenarios.

  • Vonk FHIR Server
  • Vonk FHIR Façade
  • Vonk FHIR Components

Vonk comes with both the commercial and free edition for testing and educational purposes.

Features Vonk Offers

Irrespective of distribution you one tend to use, Vonk offers the same list of features for all. Mostly features include operations in the FHIR RESTful API as defined in FHIR specifications. As of today, Vonk implements FHIR version STU3 in both XML and JSON formats. It can handle all FHIR resource types, together with profiled resources, excluding binary resources. Besides the current version support most of the interactions.

Features List

  • Capability statement – aka metadata
  • CRUD
  • Search on search parameters defined in specification
  • History
  • Batch and transaction
  • Validation of a resource
  • Snapshot generation
  • Extensible with custom operations
  • Custom search parameters
  • Subscriptions
  • Compartment search
  • Terminology operations

Storage Aspect

Vonk server can run natively on MS SQL Server, SQLite, MongoDB, CosmoDB and in-memory storage. Existing databases can be connected via Vonk FHIR Façade and Vonk Components.

Security Aspect

Vonk server can be extended to support OAuth2 and OpenID Connect authentication. That means Vonk can participate in a Single Sign-on environment and can be used within a SMART on FHIR host environment.

  • HTTPS support also available
  • Authorization is based on SMART on FHIR scopes and launch context
  • Data can be encrypted at database engine level using different tools provided by the vendor e.g. Transparent Data Encryption on SQL Server

Deployment Options

The server can be deployed through a variety of options to give maximum flexibility to the DevOps team. Below are the options available for use:

  • Binaries
  • Docker images
  • Azure App Servers – can be connected to application insights
  • Windows, Linux, OS-X
  • IIS
  • NuGet Package (Vonk FHIR Components only)

Technical Overview

Vonk server is built using MS ASP.NET Core to enable cross-platform support and self-contained binaries (means .NET framework is not required separately). It runs on Kestrel, a new highly efficient web server. Besides the server leverage HL7.FHIR .NET API developed by fire.ly team.

Flavors of Vonk

Vonk FHIR Server

Vonk FHIR server is an integrated, turn-key FHIR server with storage capabilities. It supports all FHIR specified resource types and search parameters, excluding binaries.

Suitable Scenarios
  • To FHIR-enable your data without putting load on your own production system
  • To FHIR-enable the data, and provide support for complex search operations out of the box
  • To implement CRUD operations on FHIR resources
  • To get a new separate application with storage that uses FHIR resources
  • To receive FHIR data from other parties

Vonk FHIR Façade

Vonk FHIR Façade FHIR-enables non-FHIR (legacy) systems either on database level or data access level (web service). Vonk FHIR Façade leverage of the idea of Façade design pattern on the abstract level.  Basically, Vonk FHIR Façade speaks FHIR at the front-end and talks directly to our native data at the back-end.

How Vonk FHIR Façade is configured & integrated is subject to another article.

Suitable Scenarios
  • While building a web/mobile application that needs data from multiple back-end systems.
  • Being a developer of Hospital system with loads of non-FHIR data, and customers ask you for FHIR-enabled data instead

Vonk FHIR Components

Vonk FHIR components are bits & pieces that Vonk Server and Vonk Façade are made of. These components are flexible to one’s needs. Since these components are autonomous in nature, therefore, can be easily plugged into any application, FHIR Server or another Vonk component.

Suitable Scenarios
  • When Vonk server and Façade are not adequate enough to your needs
  • To only receive data from customer devices as FHIR resource in your web application
  • To log or track, every resource entry received from Vonk Server
  • To connect FHIR resources from Vonk server with research projects and making sure that every project member has only access to resource that belongs to his/her project

If you want to provide access to data in your system via FHIR Restful APIs then one of the Vonk Components can be customized by Technosoft for you to make desired custom integration solution. Please contact Technosoft for all your healthcare integration needs.

References

http://docs.simplifier.net/vonk/index.html

https://fire.ly/products/vonk/