You may have read about how the HL7 standard relates to various healthcare IT initiatives like ELINCS, CCR, and HL7 CDA. You may also be aware of the sea-tide change among clinics and their EMR systems as they now are actively building integration solutions to exchange clinical information between various healthcare providers (e.g., hospitals, imaging centers, labs, etc.).
At the core, the HL7 standard plays a prominent role in legacy interfaces between HIS, RIS, and LIS systems in healthcare facilities. However, have you considered who actually ‘uses’ HL7 in their day-to-day operations to support all these interfaces?
While the medical staff in a healthcare facility benefit from the exchange of patient data between applications, medical staff do not directly use HL7. HL7 is supporting the work of the front-line patient care specialists.
HL7 users are typically:
- Clinical application analysts
- Integration specialists
- Application programmers
- Systems analysts
These HL7 users are typically involved in:
- Writing the interfaces for a vendor or healthcare facility
- Writing import/export programs that interpret the data in HL7 messages before updating application databases
- Reviewing and analyzing HL7 messages for accuracy and quality
- Drafting and/or evaluating HL7 specifications
- Analyzing and reporting on HL7 log files
- Building and monitoring HL7 interfaces between clinical applications using an interface engine product
As the drumbeat continues to grow louder for the connected healthcare community, the HL7 users are the unsung heroes working to integrate and interface all the various providers and their applications together. These users may be behind the scenes, but they are making the connections happen.
For more insight on what is HL7 and the evolution of the HL7 standard and its user community, a recent article entitled HL7 101: A Beginner’s Guide is a beneficial summary. Additionally, visit our HL7 Resource page for more information.