Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Is HL7 v3 Teachable After All?

I am pleased to have the opportunity to include in this blog a report of positive experiences with the HL7 v3, received from Marek Vaclavik, who writes:

… most of my colleagues disagreed on your learnability assessment of the HL7 v3 technology. Using HL7 v3 as a messaging standard does not require a profound knowledge of the HL7 Development Framework or the RIM itself. Our team are of the opinion that HL7 v3 can be learned with a reasonable amount time and effort invested. We consider a training program of one week, such as one we received from an external consultancy company, sufficient for the first contact with the whole topic. Focusing on the messages, the HL7 v3 technology is not more complex than any other XML based document format defined per XML-Schema. Errors in the documentation are, of course, annoying. But as far as we can tell, they are not more frequent or more severe than in other specification we get to see, such as vendor documentations. We would like to thank you for sharing the results of your work with us and hope to see you continuing it. Constructive criticism and open discussion are necessary prerequisities to make HL7 v3 a fully mature and broadly accepted piece of standard.

With kind regards

Marek Václavík,
InterComponentWare AG, Walldorf, Germany.

Comments on this and other postings are more than welcome. One immediate thought is that, to create HL7 V3 implementations, and indeed to teach HL7 V3, it is still necessary to understand (for example) the documentation of the RIM itself. And this, as HL7 leaders have agreed, leaves much to be desired in the way of understandability.

1 comment:

JHB said...


I'm a HL7 developer and while I do like the concept of RIM and XML, I'm not sold on it as of yet. Healthcare never seems to get it's act together. I can translate and parse most anything; but I feel once you get healthcare people using RIM, it can get messy. Now throw the goverment in, do the math..

I did find this to be an interesting read, hope to see more posts on this in the future..