An interface implies two sides, each side being a clinical application that should be able to provide HL7 specifications for the project.
The specifications will detail important information regarding the interface including the following:
- Communication protocol
- HL7 standard version
- HL7 message(s) to be sent or received
- Message format or segment layout for each message
- Field list for all segments including Z segments
- Other details (e.g., use requirements, field content, optionality, etc.)
If you are able to obtain good specifications detailing all the needed information, you should be ready to begin the gap analysis phase.
However, specifications or useful specifications may not be provided. In these cases, you can try to request sample messages from the application. With the right tools, you can probably determine the HL7 messaging format to be used.
With or without specifications, asking for sample messages is always a good idea. Often times, don’t be surprised to find that the sample messages do not match the specifications. You can simply add these items to the gap analysis.
Good luck in your HL7 integration project!