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Observation FHIR Resource Proposal

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Owning committee name

Orders & Observations WG

Interested Work Groups

  • All

FHIR Resource Development Project Insight ID


Scope of coverage


The observation resource covers simple as well as complex assertions and measurements made about a patient, device or other subject.

RIM scope

  • ACT: Observation (ClassCode=OBS and descendants)
  • ACT: Observation (Code=ObservationType)

Resource appropriateness

Observations are a central element in healthcare, used to support diagnosis, monitor progress, determine baselines and patterns and even capture demographic characteristics. Fundamentally, observations are simple name/value pair assertions with little structure, though there are several resources such as DiagnosticReport to manage and represent rich aggregation patterns for observations. Expected uses for this resource include:

  • Vital signs: temperature, blood pressure, respiration rate
  • Laboratory Data and other Diagnostic Measures
  • Measurements emitted by Devices
  • Clinical assessments such as APGAR
  • Personal characteristics: height, weight, eye-color
  • Diagnoses (Note: track-able conditions, allergies, adverse reactions and more complex structures are handled elsewhere)
  • Social history: tobacco use, family supports, cognitive status
  • Core characteristics: pregnancy status, death assertion

Expected implementations


Content sources

  • HL7 v3 Laboratory Standard - Normative
  • HL7 v3 Other?
  • HL7 v2.x
  • HL7 OO Specimen DAM Project

Resource Relationships

  • Order
  • OrderResponse ?
  • DiagnosticReport
  • ImagingStudy ?
  • Problem


  • Vote by WG (Ready for ballot): July 2013
  • Ballot: September 2013

gForge Users

  • Lorraine Constable
  • Patrick Loyd