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A HL7 RIMBAA update

Publication date: Apr 21, 2011

This column contains a brief update about a HL7 RIMBAA WGM held in Washington DC on March 30/31, 2011.

A brief report about a RIMBAA WGM held in Washington DC on March 30/31. In case you're wondering what "RIMBAA" is: they're basically the group of HL7 v3 software implementers.

The meeting in Washington had 16 attendees from various US and Canadian organizations - the meeting was organized to allow North American v3 software developers to meet and exchange experiences. The regular HL7 WGMs mainly cater to 'standards developers' and not to 'standards implementers'. Highlights of this meeting are discussed below, interwoven with my own comments.

1. Validation aspects of the caCIS project at NCI. They tried an approach using Schematron generation to fully validate the v3 datatypes. Their experiences will lead to improvements in the datatypes schema, and in the v3 schema generator. Key lesson learned (quote) "we started trying to avoid Model Driven Architecture (MDA), the more we implemented, the more we realized that until you do everything with full RIM awareness all other things are a band-aid. In the context of HL7 v3 MDA is the only way to achieve full semantics."

This fits with the experiences of other HL7 v3 implementers: if one uses HL7 v3 models for interoperability, and one has to support more than just a trivial set of models, MDA is the approach one should use. This is true even if one only has to support the CDA model, as documented in a RIMBAA whitepaper.

2. Experiences with using the RIM to enable agile architecture. George de la Torre, who has implemented a sizable number of RIM-based applications, most of those for research purposes at Harvard medical school. Lessons learned (qoute) "RIM is a model for transactional commands. The RIM is optimized for commands, open/generic/extensible enough that models stays intact if new requirements come in. Create views to optimize the user experience."

His views confirm the conclusions by other implementers: the RIM is best used as a generic model for the persistence of all healthcare data; but it is too complex (except for a few project experts who are in-the-know) and too generic to be used at the processing layer, so that layer is a 'view' or a normalized transformation (maybe a D-MIM) on part of the RIM.

3. Solving data analytics for CDM using a RIM based approach. Diane Gutiw (SAIC Canada) presents the architecture of a RIM-based canadian chronic disease management system. Based on a modified version of the CDC BioSense solution (open source), a platform for public health reporting.

See also the minutes of the meeting. RIMBAA will be meeting at the next HL7 WGM in Orlando; the next European meeting will be in Amsterdam on November 15th.


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