What is HL7?

What does it cover?

  • The primary purpose of HL7 is to facilitate communication in the healthcare setting by providing standards.
  • The Standard should support exchanges among systems implemented in a wide variety of technical environments.
  • Its implementation should be practical in a wide variety of programming languages and operating systems.
  • It should support different communication environments, ranging from networked to less complete environments such as serial communication or file drops.
  • Immediate transfer of single transactions should be supported along with batched transactions.
  • The standard must be flexible enough to handle the custom needs of a facility (i.e. custom Z segments).
  • Lastly, the standard must be able to grow as new needs are uncovered, making the standard backwards compatible.

What is not covered?

  • The HL7 standard does not specify what, if any, encryption method should be used between systems. This wiki covers some common approaches to securely transmitting HL7.
  • It also does not attempt to define accountability. Any audit trails and acknowledgments should be discussed between partnering systems.
  • While HL7 makes significant use of time and date stamped data, it does not support a set of transactions to ensure the synchronization of clocks.
  • HL7 does not make any attempt to provide coordination of database access and record locking.

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