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Health Level Seven (HL7)

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Health Level Seven is one of several American National Standards Institute (ANSI) -accredited Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) operating in the healthcare arena. Most SDOs produce standards (sometimes called specifications or protocols) for a particular healthcare domain such as pharmacy, medical devices, imaging or insurance (claims processing) transactions. Health Level Seven’s domain is clinical and administrative data.

The name HL7 comes from the seven levels of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. Level Seven is the Application Level.
HL7 is an international community of healthcare subject matter experts and information scientists collaborating to create standards for the exchange, management and integration of electronic healthcare information. HL7 promotes the use of such standards within and among healthcare organizations to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare delivery for the benefit of all.

HL7's Strategies:

  1. Develop coherent, extendible standards that permit structured, encoded health care information of the type required to support patient care, to be exchanged between computer applications while preserving meaning.
  2. Develop a formal methodology to support the creation of HL7 standards from the HL7 Reference Information Model (RIM).
  3. Educate the healthcare industry, policy makers, and the general public concerning the benefits of healthcare information standardization generally and HL7 standards specifically.
  4. Promote the use of HL7 standards world-wide through the creation of HL7 International Affiliate organizations, which participate in developing HL7 standards and which localize HL7 standards as required.
  5. Stimulate, encourage and facilitate domain experts from healthcare industry stakeholder organizations to participate in HL7 to develop healthcare information standards in their area of expertise.
  6. Collaborate with other standards development organizations and national and international sanctioning bodies (e.g. ANSI and ISO), in both the healthcare and information infrastructure domains to promote the use of supportive and compatible standards.
  7. Collaborate with healthcare information technology users to ensure that HL7 standards meet real-world requirements, and that appropriate standards development efforts are initiated by HL7 to meet emergent requirements.

The Reference Information Model (RIM) is the cornerstone of the HL7 Version 3 development process. An object model created as part of the Version 3 methodology, the RIM is a large pictorial representation of the clinical data (domains) and identifies the life cycle of events that a message or groups of related messages will carry. It is a shared model between all the domains and as such is the model from which all domains create their messages. Explicitly representing the connections that exist between the information carried in the fields of HL7 messages, the RIM is essential to our ongoing mission of increasing precision and reducing implementation costs.

The HDF documents the processes, tools, actors, rules, and artifacts relevant to development of all HL7 standard specifications, not just messaging. This initial version of the HDF methodology specification will address updates to messaging specification, and will be applicable to structured documents and context management.

Eventually, the HDF will encompass all of the HL7 standard specifications, including any new standards resulting from analysis of electronic health record architectures and requirements.

To get more information about HL7 please visit their website.

 

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