Health Level 7 (HL7) has become a standard in many modern hospitals mainly due to the fact that it makes most IT applications and organization much easier. Weather you own a small business or a bigger healthcare provider corporation, HL7 is without a doubt a system to consider implementing.
HL7 is a set of internationally used standards to make transferring and sharing information between various healthcare providers all across the world much easier. It is easy to implement, though you’ll need to know which version to use depending on your specific needs.
There are a few things you need to know about the HL7 system before considering its use and implications.
HL7 is a Flexible Standard
Healthcare providers use different software managing systems to organise patient information. This leads to a lack of a common format for exchanging information which in turn created a whole set of problems in between all the parties who are involved. However, HL7 solves this problem with a lot of precision:
- As an open-standard messaging system, it permits information to be exchanged between systems easily, reducing the administrative toll on providers, while also improving general care.
- The HL7 standard is universal, used by medical organizations in 27 countries around the globe. With it, medical specialists design tools for data transferring while software specialists create the interface to permit these applications to exchange data without a hustle.
- HL7 helps healthcare companies improve the communication between their inner systems. Due to this, it has become a pilar for healthcare IT management.
- The HL7 system is a very flexible standard that will resolve your data integration disputes.
- It also supports different medical processes, such as clinical, logistical, financial, and administrative work.
While HL7 allows for a more improved communication, it can be difficult to implement. However, with Application Programming Interface (API) this is solved:
- APIs provide a general approach and deliver a safe and legit connection.
- APIs are the go-to for implementing a connection between two applications.
- APIs are the most comfortable method to generate and integrate a HL7 data system.
Using a common HL7 system makes sure that patient information is secure while minimizing risks and easing patient care, so it’s important that any IT managing department adapts to this standard.
It Is Easy to Adopt
Large healthcare companies rely on different IT systems to manage their patient information. The most commonly used systems for hospitals include:
Hospital Information System
Laboratory Information System
Radiology Information System
Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS)
Electronic medical record (EMR)
By Using HL7 files, you’ll ensure an easy data integration between all of these systems, greatly reducing most administrative burdens and problems.
- It’s easy to accommodate self-supporting diagnostic imaging centers and bigger hospital networks.
- It allows the information to be exchanged between different systems by implementing a standardized protocol, which has made it extremely popular for healthcare providers.
HL7 is mainly adopted using two different systems:
- HL7 version 2 is the most used version for this system. It’s easily compatible with different systems and is being widely adopted by healthcare businesses. It’s a complete and open standard for interoperability in healthcare.
- Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) uses a more modern suite of web-based API software. FHIR is somewhat easier to implement, while it allows developers to capitalize on Web technologies which are popular.
Every setting is different, and there is no single universal language. HL7 is an attempt to generate a global standard to solve this problem.
- Useability- Corepoint allows healthcare organizations to streamline integration with minimal or zero coding.
- Speed to value- Data integrity and interoperability are maintained internally and externally when system upgrades, migrations, or platform conversions are performed.
- Support and Scalability- Increasing operational information, configuration, and throughput can be scaled using specific Microsoft technologies.
- Cost-effective healthcare data exchange.
It Is Not a Plug-And-Play Solution
The HL7 file format does need adaptation to cater to different application data models, which also has its difficulties:
- There is no standard terminology to proper fit with vendor-specific technologies.
- Implementing the HL7 system requires frequent testing.
- It can be expensive to implement, though it does have a very observable return due to its efficiency.
In other words, many resources will be needed to develop and manage an HL7-compatible interface, though its overall advantages ensure a good investment for your healthcare providing company. Speaking a common language for sharing data will have a huge and positive impact on your business competitiveness.
It Has Multiple Versions
First developed by the Health Level Seven International organization, the standards have been updated regularly since their first launch in 1987. There are currently 2 mostly used versions of HL7 available:
- Version 2: This version is by far the most implemented standard for healthcare around the globe. It’s made to support a central patient care system on one hand, while supporting a more distributed atmosphere that has its data in different department systems.
- Version 3: This version provides a much more thorough specification, reducing semantic ambiguity while improving both results and processes from its predecessor, HL7 Version 2.
Being a common tongue for different healthcare providers, HL7 has become the spine of Electronic Health Records (EHR). As EHR comes from the successful relationship of different, independent health information systems, and the need to exchange information between each other, understanding the HL7 system is a must.
HL7 in general terms is a set of rules and guidelines made to help decrease the costs of customized interfacing.
- Each HL7 message is specific, comprising three characters responsible for enabling a specific event. The messages are then broken down into several parts, each part having its own identifier. As different fields use different data, the message segments con be shortened.
- Healthcare benefits from the progressive adoption of HL7 standards. The more entities who implement it, the better.
- It will enable improved tools for exchanging important data, reducing the chances of making mistakes while also improving the efficiency for the medical workflow.
HL7 is an industry-standard that will continue to benefit patients and businesses alike by making communication a lot easier, safer and widely reducing administrative work with its corresponding and occasional mistakes.