Open Healthcare Framework

Friday, May 12, 2006

Report from the San Antonio HL7 meeting

I've been at the HL7 meeting all week. This has been an unusually busy meeting, and there's a number of things to report.

The HL7 Tooling Committee has initiated a joint project with Eclipse OHF for development of HL7's own V3 pre-publication tools and some other tools which will also be useful to implementors. The project has been driven by the UK NHS, and has been approved by the HL7 board.

There was some significant action around the SOA project. There has been some industry concern that the SAO project and IHE will work at cross-purposes and create confusion and unnecessay cost for the industry. There was significant progress towards clarifying the relationship between IHE and the HL7 SOA progress at the meeting, I hoped to be able to post the actual agreement here, but it's better to wait for HL7 and IHE to complete the process and publish it themselves. But I can say that it looks highly likely that they will soon publish an agreement that will make the industry happy.

There was also significant new interest in HL7 and CEN collaboration. Both externally and internally (to both organisations) there is renewed interest in identifying the kinds of things that are keeping CEN and HL7 (and ISO and others too) from working with each other, and resolving them. This is a complicated dance, lot's of parties have to work hard to make this happen (and they have to want to), but at least there is a lot more talk.

This is a very significant step. Each of these standards bodies has important pieces of the puzzle to contribute, but at the moment the pieces can't fit together, and this is holding back the overall development of Healthcare IT signficantly. If you have any influence, please use it to encourage large corporations and government programs to support this collaboration.

HL7 has been strongly criticised on a number of fronts. I see a new interest amongst the key players to respond positively to these criticisms, and to work to unlock the very real value of the HL7 standards so that they are more available to their target consumers.