HL7 in the Real World
Solutions made Easy
Our Mission: To promote discussion and debate about HL7 and the role that it plays in today's medical software. To "demystify" HL7 and provide real insights into how HL7 is actually used in the world today by the majority of users. To really demonstrate how to use HL7 to solve problems and create interfaces between different medical software systems to and avoid being lured down the "functionality overload" super-highway to bloated costs and expenses.
The intended audience for this site: Medical software design professionals who are in the business of actually trying to design, implement, integrate, use, and deploy HL7. We welcome all feedback and accept article submissions from readers and contributors that conform with our mission statement. While preparing for the future is always important, this site is solely focused on how HL7 is actually used in the real world today and not so much how it is projected to be used in the coming years or decades.
The Discussion and Article Format: Is intended to be informative and professional while at the same time not to be absolutely dry and esoteric. Opinions and advice are welcomed and encouraged. How entertaining can HL7 be? Not very, but we will try. Just remember that any opinions expressed here are not necessarily shared by the management of this site.
What is HL7? Best to get this one out of the way quickly so that anyone looking for Song Lyrics, Movie Reviews, etc., can leave quickly. Before the healthcare industry could truly begin to embrace information management systems, redundancies such as multiple patient demographic entries into billing system software, EMR software, radiology department software, etc., had to be addressed. HL7 stands for Health Level 7. It was founded in 1987 by a consortium of software developers (Microsoft and others.) and medical professionals. It is an "EDI-like" information exchange standard for Medical Information Systems, and no matter how many different lofty reasons you may have heard or read, it's primary goal was (and still is) to eliminate duplicate data entry by humans of medical information into disparate medical programs.
Why is it needed? As the computer and software industry grew, it quickly became apparent that (a) there was never going to be any "one" system which did everything related to patient care and billing and scheduling etc, and, therefore, (b) any organization in the medical care industry could very likely have several (even many) different systems running on different platforms and operating systems which would need some standard way to communicate. This is a gross oversimplification of "what HL7 is for", but it really does accurately represent the goals of the vast majority of HL7 interfaces in the world today.