A couple of interesting articles have recently appeared on progress being made by HL7.
The first is from the UK – while reflecting activity that is happening globally.
07 Nov 2007
The NPfIT Local Ownership Programme (NLOP) will create further pressure on health care interoperability specialists, both within the NHS and its suppliers, with a huge devolution of general design responsibilities about to commence.
NLOP and the new Additional Supply Capability and Capacity (ASCC) suppliers will inevitably lead to greater variety in the new systems offered (to say nothing of existing systems), whilst raising expectations that these systems will interoperate and provide joined up health care for patients.
If anyone still believes that interoperability can be safely devolved to a black box in the corner, they need to wake up to reality. Interoperability is hard and expensive, not because it is intrinsically difficult, but because you have to specify and deliver exactly what you want. As with all things digital, interoperating computer systems are intolerant of the slightest error.
A key benefit of HL7 then, is to tame this exponential explosion by delivering relevant specifications and, equally important, an ecosystem of conferences, working meetings, and other activities to support their maintenance and use. HL7 is a community of practice, which shares a common interest in enabling healthcare interoperability. As with any community of practice the enthusiasts do most of the real work, the contributors actively participate and the consumers lurk silently in the background.
In practice HL7 covers an increasingly broad domain. It all began with HL7 Version 2 (V2) about 20 years ago, well before Tim Berners-Lee had even thought of the worldwide web. The present version, 2.6, is still backward compatible with the original. Version 3 was developed to overcome the obvious deficiencies in V2 and has spawned CDA (Clinical Document Architecture), now adopted by NHS CFH for all clinical messages.
The most advanced version of CDA has the exciting title of “CDA Release 2 Level 3”, and provides most of the advantages of both human readable and coded documents. The human readable part is the basis of the National Care Records Service (NCRS), enabling a nationally readable clinical record, while the coded part populates the Secondary Uses Service (SUS), for use by the bean-counters.
Other recent HL7 developments are the new TermInfo Draft Standard for Trial Use (DSTU), which specifies how SNOMED CT is used with HL7 V3; new specifications for web-services and SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture); and functional specifications for both PHR (personal health records) and EHR (electronic health records).
Read the full article here:
Also we had in the last little while.
HDM Breaking News, December 6, 2007
Standards development organization Health Level Seven has approved the Personal Health Record System Functional Model as a draft standard for trial use.
The model defines a set of functions and security features that may be present in PHR systems and offers guidance to facilitate data exchange among PHRs or with electronic health records systems. The model is designed to help consumers compare PHRs and select one appropriate for their needs.
A draft standard for trial use enables the industry to work with a stable standard for up to two years and refine it so it can become an official standard. This means consumers can start requesting functions within the draft standard and vendors can start incorporating such functions in their products. The functions also can be incorporated into PHR certification programs.
The PHR functional model is available at hl7.org.
For the full article visit:
All this activity must be seen as real progress and is to be welcomed. The scope and importance of this work is not to be under-estimated.
Most important are the Draft Standards for Trial Use (DSTU) in the more advanced and complicated areas. These allow for a period of stability while implementations are attempted and lessons learnt as to what actually works and where the problems and ‘wrinkles’ are.
This approach is so far ahead of the nonsense of ‘ex-cathedra’ pronouncements we see from NEHTA as to really make their behaviour and lack of actual implementation experience a joke.