Clinical trials are the foundation of evidence-based medicine and their computerized support has been a recurring theme in medical informatics. One challenging aspect is the representation of eligibility criteria in a machine-readable format to automate the identification of suitable participants. In this study, we investigate the capabilities for expressing trial eligibility criteria via the search functionality specified in HL7 FHIR, an emerging standard for exchanging healthcare information electronically which also defines a set of operations for searching for health record data. Using a randomly sampled subset of 303 eligibility criteria from ClinicalTrials.gov yielded a 34 % success rate in representing them using the FHIR search semantics. While limitations are present, the FHIR search semantics are a viable tool for supporting preliminary trial eligibility assessment.
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