Hang on tight!
Day two of HL7 training was a hodgepodge of technical information. I was a bit unprepared for it all and found myself just trying to keep up.
The goal was to move on to the specific elements of HL7 such as messages, segments, fields and components, and explain how they all work together. As a non-technical person, I found that the information provided was more extensive than I anticipated and was prepared for. But for the more technical people in the class, the enthusiasm in their facial expressions and thoughtful questions showed they were thrilled about being in the class.
I learned more about the HL7 standards than I ever thought I would want to know, including how hospitals can (and do) vary their use of the standards, how the code is formatted and written, how all of the elements work together, and even a detailed explanation of the message event types. I found myself thinking that such a class would be invaluable to those seeking a better understanding of the HL7 standards (or even an introductory one), and that really you do need a class to learn this technology. There were so many data types and transactions that trying to learn it without assistance would be overwhelming. I certainly got the impression that the attendees were becoming more and more enlightened as the day went on.
Highlights of day two included:
- An explanation of how HL7 gets its name from living at the seventh level of the OSI model
- The role of the data type in determining the components of an element, and how the HL7 Resources page provided by Corepoint Health can be used to help customize the components while maintaining compliance to HL7
- A detailed explanation of message components, characters, separators, data types and transaction types, and how to read, structure and code HL7 messages
- The special case of the MSH field, and how it is counted differently than the others
- HL7’s role as a messaging standard only, rather than an attempt to standardize healthcare or healthcare applications
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