Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Is the HL7 RIM an ISO standard? Really?

An announcement with the title "HL7 Reference Information Model Becomes ISO Standard" was recently posted at the website by: Health Level Seven, Inc.

So that's clear, then. HL7 Reference Information Model has become an ISO standard.

Governments with centralized healthcare systems, as we know, like to embrace international standards; and they have been known to invest large amounts of money in systems based on such standards which have then failed.

This raises all the more urgently the question: are there clear examples of V3 implementations which actually work, to set alongside the conspicuous examples of failures?

It raises also the question: on what basis did the ISO make its decision to anoint the V3 as an ISO standard, given that the V3 documentation is, as representatives of the HL7 organization have admitted, of such low quality as to be practically unintelligible?

September 18, 2006—Health Level Seven (HL7), one of the world’s most prolific healthcare standards developers, today announced the August 3, 2006 publication of ISO/HL7 ... Reference Information Model (RIM) – Release 1.

HL7 became a Standards Partner of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1998. This arrangement allows HL7 to submit its ANSI approved standards directly to ISO to become joint ISO/HL7 standards. The standards are accepted and approved through the ISO Technical Committee 215 – Health Informatics. Through this process, HL7 can share its products with the International Standards community, thus reducing the need for duplicative work. Furthermore, HL7 standards are widely used by vendors who sell their health information technology
products internationally. Because many countries require the use of ISO standards (when they exist) a major regulatory and legal barrier will be removed when HL7 standards are approved as ISO standards.

“We are delighted with this first publication of an ISO/HL7 standard—the HL7 Reference Information Model,” said W. Ed Hammond, member of the HL7 Board of Directors and Vice Chair of the HL7 Technical Committee. “It is particularly important because it sets a direction for further HL7 standards to be shared internationally and defines the role of ISO in coordinating “a single standard for a single purpose.” HL7 appreciates the support and contributions of other standards development organizations and national member bodies in making this happen. It is significant that the HL7 RIM is the first standard to achieve this joint publication because of the role the RIM plays in harmonizing building blocks for additional data standards.”


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