Europe – Chapter 6 : Implementation of ISO standards for the identification of medicinal products in Europe

Chapter 6: Technical specifications

The technical mechanism for product information management is a RESTful Application Programming Interface, known as the SPOR API. The SPOR API offers services to work with elements in all four domains (Substances, Products, Organisations and Referentials). Support for Products and Substances has been introduced in version 2 of the SPOR API, whereas support for Organisations and Referentials is already a publicly service available since 2017.

1.2. Main API concepts

The SPOR API v2 has been built by using HL7 FHIR R3 as an overarching standard. At the same time, it tries to follow the same principles as the existing SPOR API v1 and leverages both existing FHIR and SPOR API v1 resources and endpoints where applicable.

The SPOR API v2 is formally presented through an API specification, which is meant to enable developers to build an integration with SPOR services within their own local systems and fulfil their own business and regulatory requirements. The specification is the main reference point and in order to understand how to implement client systems, the following key elements should be considered:

• Resources: this refers to the formal representation of a set of data structures that can be
exchanged between the client and the SPOR API in any specific communication. The resources are publicly available in the HL7 FHIR server. For simplicity, all relevant resources are also linked from the SPOR API specification document.

• Services: this refers to the formal representation of the actions that can be executed against the existing Resources. The combination of Services and Resources gives developers the capability to understand the features that the SPOR API offers.

• Common mechanisms: since the API is based on FHIR and RESTful principles, the specification provides overall information regarding how these common mechanisms work. This includes, amongst others: usage of HTTP methods and codes, usage of FHIR bundles, FHIR extensions, etc. Importantly, it also describes the versioning mechanisms that guarantee backwards compatibility within a structured governed process…