Have a great idea for a new way to interact with EHR data? An emerging platform enables you to build your own app or use another from an open community.

The name says it all when it comes to an open, standards-based app platform called SMART — Substitutable Medical Applications & Reusable Technologies.

The SMART project was started in 2010 with a four-year, $15 million grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, in broad terms to build an app platform for healthcare.

"The idea is that we wanted to support apps that could be chosen by clinicians. The app could plug into their existing EHR system, and then if a better app came along, you could get rid of the old one and swap the new one in," explained Josh Mandel of Boston Children's Hospital, the architect for the collaborative SMART platform team.

"Over the last year and a half, we've been building out a set of open standards to do it," he continued. Those standards include OAuth specifications for security and FHIR for clinical data exchange.

Mandel led a demonstration of SMART on FHIR capabilities at the HIMSS15 Interoperability Showcase on Monday. Representatives from Duke Medicine, Cerner and athenahealth also participated in showing a set of EHR apps that could plug-and-play interoperably, integrated with clinical workflow.

All the apps use the same underlying set of platform specifications.

View more information about EHR plug-and-play capabilities emerging from SMART on FHIR apps at www.healthcareitnews.com.