How to lower the hurdle for HL7 v3 implementers
Publication date: Jan 21, 2010
We need to lower the hurdle for implementers to use HL7 v3. This column proposes a couple of ways how to ease the use of Hl7 v3 by implementers.
Given the rising number of v3 implementations we have now been able to collect v3 implementation experiences and feedback from a number of implementers. This has lead me to believe that as an organization we are too much focused on the ‘standards development process’.
Most of what we do as an organization is in support of the creation of standards. We focus on the analysis, the HDF and the creation of all sorts of detailed models. And even though we have plenty of implementers in the standards development community, we probably have lost touch with one important group of standards adopters: the newbie HL7 v3 implementers.
Newbie HL7 v3 implementers need a different “view” on the materials. They don’t need the whys, wherefores and deep clinical reasons as to why certain things are modeled in certain ways. They require access mostly from an XML oriented starting point: how do I get v3 interactions up and running and what are the necessary components that I should be aware of. This requires a different view of the standard, which is bottom-up from the technology perspective, and not top-down from a modelers perspective.
In the early days of HL7 version 2 new additions to the standard were implemented before they documented and turned into a standard. That's the ultimate version of implementer-driven standards creation: only create/document standards that are known to be already implemented. Given that HL7 version 3 relies on modeling a different approach was used - which attracted those volunteers that like abstract modeling (dubbed the 'semantic propellorheads' by someone this week) to the organization, whilst decreasing the involvement of the implementers.
If we want to increase adoption of our standards we need to lower the hurdle for implementers to start working with HL7 v3. Below some ideas (in no particular order)
Some of the above suggestions could be interpreted as a statement that implementers should be able to get away with an example-driven quick-and-dirty implementation of HL7 v3. That approach may work if one only ever has to support one single HL7 v3 message - in all other circumstances one simply will have to deal with the semantic richness and complexity of the HL7 v3 RIM. The above suggestions will make it easier for those that implement HL7 v3 'the right way' to implement HL7 v3 interfaces.
- A "HL7 v3 for implementers book": I frequently get asked if there's a v3 book for implementers. If it were to describe an implementers view of the standard, combined with best practices and implementation guidance, and pointers to additional implementation oriented information and tools, it would be an invaluable resource. The current books related to HL7 v3 are all geared towards the standards developers. The creation of such a book would require an up-front investment by whomever is going to write it.
- Examples, examples, examples: Examples (HL7 v3 XML Instances) are of key importance in understanding the standard, for testing, but also for software development (quite often development is driven by the available examples). The published HL7 v3 standard contains a few examples - which don't validate, and are old. here has been an initiative a couple of years ago to 'force' the standards developers to publish examples along with their domain content - but apparently that initiative has failed, for there are next to none examples,
- Tools for implementers: Availability of off-the-shelf APIs and other open source tooling, guidance as how one could use cross-industry generic approaches and tools to implement HL7 version 3. It is encouraging that a number of tools has become available to aid the implementation of HL7 v3, notably MARC-HI Everest, a MIF based code generator.
- Stable software processable HL7 v3 specifications: Implementers either base their implementations on the XML Schema, or (better yet) on the MIFs. Neither the Schema, nor the MIF are normative/stable. Backwards compatibility of either format isn't assured by the standards development process. MIF have to become normative, and be subject to backwards compatibility rules, to really offer implementers the chance to build their software based on a software processable version of the HL7 v3 specifications.
- Hotline e-mail address: If as an implementer one has a question, you get lost in the 50+ e-mail lists that are available on the hl7.org website. It should be relatively easy to create a firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address, publish it far and wide as part of the marketing efforts, and triage/route the e-mails to the appropriate e-mail list.
Some of the above suggestions are easy to implement, others are hard. Please work with me to increase the awareness within the HL7 organization that we have to satisfy the requirements of the implementers - after all, they are a driving force in the adoption of HL7 version 3.
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Index of columns:
- Advantages of online training courses (Oct 12, 2020)
- Combining the best of IHE XDS with HL7 FHIR (Jun 27, 2019)
- 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)
- 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)
About Ringholm bv
Ringholm bv is a group of European experts in the field of messaging standards and systems integration in healthcare IT.
We provide the industry's most advanced training courses and consulting on healthcare information exchange standards.
See http://www.ringholm.com or call +31 33 7 630 636 for additional information.
Rene is the Tutor-in-chief of Ringholm.