Implementation of HL7 standards is widely and significantly supported by governments and the healthcare industry. In fact, HL7 v2.x is already being used by more than 95% of healthcare entities all over the world; HL7 v3 had its initial publication in 2005 and is still gathering steam.
Dr. Mike Muin, CIO for The Medical City believes there is a big opportunity for local Healthcare IT standards education and advocacy and writes at his blog, the Beyond Medical Informatics, “HL7 is not well that understood” locally. He initially lists three misconceptions about HL7, namely:
HL7 is a software. HL7 is NOT a software. It is a messaging standard. Something like a common language among systems so they can understand each other.
Incidentally, HL7 stands for Health Level Seven. And also refers to the non-profit organization that supports HL7 itself.
Integration is easy with HL7. Healthcare IT integration projects will always be challenging. HL7 makes it easier but NOT easy. Choosing HL7 is like going to a grueling negotiations meeting with an agreement to talk in English.
HL7 compliance is a sign of quality software. “If it’s HL7-compliant, it must be good!” HL7 addresses the need for a common protocol between systems. It does NOT address the features, functions and usability of the software itself.
I stumbled on another “misconception” from an interesting discussion of the Philippine Medical Informatics Society on HL7: “HL7 as I understand it, is a tool for interoperability. It’s not a specification for an EMR.”
Dr. Muin is excited to take the challenge of educating local healthcare IT practitioners about interoperability and standards. If you’re interested to learn more about HL7, join our workshop.