I was a first-timer at the September 2020 HL7 FHIR Connectathon, formally known as Connectathon 25. I will start by admitting the experience was a little overwhelming. For a brand-new attendee, the virtual format didn’t lend itself well to make my experience easier – nothing like being able to walk up to another participant and strike a conversation like you can do in a face to face setting. 

I came into the connectathon with a little FHIR prototype that I had built, which I was hoping to put through its paces at the connectathon. While that, unfortunately, did not quite pan out, I still found the connectathon to be interesting and hope to return to another FHIR connectathon before too long. The FHIR community has an amazing culture – everyone is very smart yet down to earth and welcoming. 

Connectathon 25 had a lengthy list of tracks (see: https://confluence.hl7.org/display/FHIR/2020-09+Connectathon+25), not to mention the educational sessions. There was a flurry of activity for each stream plus in the Zulip chat. I was particularly interested in the v2-to-FHIR track, Google was one of the participants and they had cooked up a pretty cool ETL pipeline that can map v2 to FHIR data in a very flexible manner, see https://github.com/GoogleCloudPlatform/healthcare-data-harmonization.

I might not have been able to accomplish what I set out to do but I certainly made up for it by learning a ton of new things about FHIR, observing others and also my favourite FHIR library, HAPI. I look forward to being a part of a future FHIR connectathon!