Musings on free HL7 IP
Publication date: Oct 01, 2012
HL7 has freed up the IP related to its standards. How did that come about, and to what organizational changes will it (have to) lead?
The history of Free HL7 IP
The Board has been kicking around the idea of free IP for a couple years. For example, Lawrence Rosen (a well known open source attorney) was asked to report to the HL7 board about changing HL7 into an open standard in September 2005. There are many definitions of what it means to be an open standard. Both the aspects of a 'free standard' (free as in Beer), as well as the aspect of openness (anybody can create a fork/variant of an existing standard) have drawbacks which require significant consideration. At the time the concept of HL7 as an open/free standard wasn't embraced by the organization.
About 2 years ago the HL7 board started to define a set of Strategic Initiatives based on the HL7 mission; realization thereof requires a significant investment in tools and human resources, which in turn means a need to increase revenue. One way of doing this is to increase membership numbers.
It was decided (in 2010) to reach out to organizations using IP to increase membership revenue.
The discussion around free/open standards was far from done however: after a couple of months of discussion the HL7 board decided (on January 17 2012) to make EHR FPs and DAMs available for free for a test period of 1 year. A subsequent decision was made (on April 2) to publish the new HL7 FHIR standard, initially developed outside of HL7 and then brought to HL7, as a free standard. This lead to a new discussion in the HL7 Advisory Council and the HL7 board. The board decision to free the HL7 IP was made on August 1.
Consequence: HL7 revenue model
It is anticipated that the membership numbers will decrease given that HL7s standards are now free (free access, free use). This requires an adjustment to HL7s revenue model. Below some of the changes that are being contemplated; some are based on hearsay/conjecture - this is by no means an official list:
- The HL7 membership model is moving closer to W3C, where strategic influence will bring in larger revenue. For HL7 this would mean introducing new membership levels with strategic voting and ballot privileges.
- New focus on Education and training; there is an education plan under development by HL7's new director of education. One of the aims is to increase revenue.
- New opportunities for validation of the support by software applications of HL7's standards, e.g. in the form of test events (HL7 connectathons) and certification (of persons).
- Membership still has the advantage that one has early access to HL7 IP (draft standards are exlusive to members, normative standard are free and freely accessible)
- New opportunities related to HL7 services (consulting), support (e.g. 24/7 1-hour response SLA)
Freeing the HL7 IP probably would have been necessary at some point in time - the acceptance (by users and implementers) of non-free standards has declined over the past years. The current IP policy was generally considered to be non-enforceable anyhow. To qoute Chuck Jaffe, HL7 CEO, "It's the right thing to do, and this is the right time to do it".
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Index of columns:
- FHIR DevDays and the year in review (Dec 27, 2018)
- Creation and Curation of FHIR Profiles - process and governance (Dec 14, 2017)
- De Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming (AVG) in de zorg (Dutch, Sep 19, 2017)
- Impact of the GDPR on the use of interoperability standards (Jun 27, 2017)
- News from the FHIR DevDays in Amsterdam (Dec 15, 2016)
- Next XDS Release (Oct 27, 2016)
- Five years of FHIR (Aug 11, 2016)
- Interoperability projects in Ireland - FHIReland (Mar 14, 2016)
- 2016 FHIR Jedi Calendar (Jan 06, 2016)
- Top 10 HL7 videos watched in 2015 (Dec 24, 2015)
- Update from the trenches on CDA R2.1/R3 and HL7v2. (Oct 15, 2015)
- FHIR DevDays - UK GP System APIs (Sep 16, 2015)
- IHE XDS - testing and implementation tools (Aug 25, 2015)
- Most often implemented IHE Profiles (Jun 08, 2015)
- Why we sponsor the HL7 WGM (May 10, 2015)
- FHIR in Paris (Apr 21, 2015)
- Mapping HL7v2 messages to FHIR. (Apr 13, 2015)
- Analysis of CDA R2 testing tools - most requirements are neither tested nor respected. (Feb 13, 2015)
- HL7 and IHE in Sweden (Feb 08, 2015)
- 2015 FHIR Chiefs Calendar (Jan 07, 2015)
- The Merry FHIR Choir caroling the 12 Days of Christmas (Dec 09, 2014)
- Chicago FHIR Update (Oct 13, 2014)
- Internationalization of HL7 (Sep 25, 2014)
- New XDS Advanced training course on offer by IHE Services and IHE Academy (Jul 14, 2014)
- Recent and Future developments of the DICOM standard (Mar 06, 2014)
- Top 10 HL7 videos watched in 2013 (Jan 02, 2014)
- Report from the HL7 WGM in Cambridge (Oct 16, 2013)
- Documenting the history of HL7 (Sep 03, 2013)
- Histology Lab Device Automation using HL7 version 2 (Jul 23, 2013)
- HL7 FHIR Elevator Pitch (Jul 15, 2013)
- Interoperability Standards - the no-sales pitch (Jul 09, 2013)
- HL7 UK - new landscape, new opportunities (Jun 26, 2013)
- Validation and error correction at the IHE Connectathon (Apr 25, 2013)
- CDA Implementation Guides - (not) invented here (Apr 17, 2013)
- Usage of IHE Profiles (Feb 25, 2013)
- 10 year anniversary - Dutch Ringholm HL7 v2 training courses. (Feb 19, 2013)
- About IHE Academy and new IHE training courses (Jan 12, 2013)
- CDA implementation experiences in the UK (Dec 04, 2012)
- Musings on free HL7 IP (Oct 01, 2012)
- HL7 Connectathons (Sep 09, 2012)
- Renovate HL7 version 3 (Aug 03, 2012)
- Frequency of use of HL7 message types (Jul 24, 2012)
- Lighting the FHIR, HL7s new major interoperability standard (Jun 15, 2012)
- Reflections on the HL7 membership model - the affiliate life cycle (Dec 28, 2011)
- Thinking like an OWL reasoner (Sep 17, 2011)
- RFH (Resources for Health): HL7 version 3 taken to the next step (Aug 18, 2011)
- What's so great about the HL7 organization? (Aug 04, 2011)
- Kerndossier: een Nederlandse versie van CCD (Dutch, May 03, 2011)
- A HL7 RIMBAA update (Apr 21, 2011)
- Timezone Hotel (Mar 29, 2011)
- HL7 and openEHR are cooperating (finally) (Jan 21, 2011)
- Increasing demand for IHE training courses (Dec 18, 2010)
- Context issues with the IHE QED profile (Dec 15, 2010)
- The changing role of HL7 country organizations (Jul 16, 2010)
- Implementing HL7 version 3 - the book (May 06, 2010)
- Adding openness to a closed world (Feb 09, 2010)
- How to lower the hurdle for HL7 v3 implementers (Jan 21, 2010)
- HL7 v3 deployment statistics (Dec 17, 2009)
- There's Trouble in Paradigm (Sep 25, 2009)
- Internationalization of HL7 (Sep 24, 2009)
- HL7 UK signs deal with Ringholm to deliver HL7 v2/v3 training courses in London (Sep 17, 2009)
- The use of HL7 in South Africa (Aug 20, 2009)
- The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam (Apr 17, 2009)
- The HL7 UK AGM and RIMBAA (Apr 16, 2009)
- The HL7 Wiki reaches 2000 pages (Mar 02, 2009)
- The HL7 roadmap for CDA R3 and the CCD (Jan 17, 2009)
- HL7 Affiliates Meeting in Orlando (Jan 11, 2009)
- Swiss and Dutch HL7 News (Dec 31, 2008)
- Devices and Prizes (Nov 22, 2008)
- HL7 in Norway: a situation report (Sep 02, 2008)
- Russian whitepaper (Jul 09, 2008)
- The HL7 Interoperability Conference - IHIC 2008 (May 30, 2008)
- HL7 creates a RIM Based Application Architecture (RIMBAA) group (May 18, 2008)
- Notes from the HL7 WGM in Phoenix (May 08, 2008)
- Germany embraces CDA eReferral document specification (May 02, 2008)
- HL7 v3 RIM based applications: an unintended side effect (Jan 19, 2008)
- Collaborative Tools (Jun 21, 2007)
- HL7 ist Pflicht in der deutschen Telematikinfrastruktur (German, Mar 16, 2007)
- HL7 based Tree inventory system (Jan 30, 2007)
- The link between HL7 and Open Source Software (Jan 06, 2007)
- Workflow Bribery (Sep 15, 2006)
- Timezones in HL7 (Jan 23, 2004)
- Controlled vocabularies: "@*%!!!" ? (Sep 01, 2003)
- Trusting the other Party (Nov 01, 2002)
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Ringholm bv is a group of European experts in the field of messaging standards and systems integration in healthcare IT.
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