The HL7 standard varies greatly in how it is implemented by each medical device or application vendor, causing nonconformance between message formats. Determining and understanding nonconformance between provider or vendor message formats involves reviewing the their message specifications and sample messages.
Specifications are sometimes outdated or inaccurate. Consequently, sample messages provide the most accurate view of the format of the messages you will receive. The number of sample messages should be large enough to represent all types of messages you may be receiving from another healthcare provider.
First, compare the vendor or provider’s specifications with your specifications to determine possible areas of nonconformance.
Next, walk through the sample messages to confirm that the sample messages match the specification. If you find additional areas of nonconformance in the sample messages, record those issues.
The areas where you find nonconformance are then used to discuss with your external providers what changes they are willing to make to their system and what changes you need to make to yours.
The more flexible your system is, the easier the negotiations will be. For more details, read a white paper on checking for HL7 conformance.
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