HL7 2.5 is the latest published version of the 2.X messaging standard. (Note that HL7 2.6 is nearing final ballot with another set of updates and should be released in 2007.)
It seems almost surreal to be writing about this HL7 standard as “new” and “not widely used” given that it was published in January 2003. However, as I often discuss in HL7 training classes, over four years after the release of 2.5, most US-based healthcare applications are still using HL7 2.3 or 2.3.1.
A number of new events, segments, messages and an entire chapter have been added in HL7 version 2.5. It can be clearly seen that some of the experiences gained during the development process of the HL7 version 3 standard are being ploughed back into the development of version 2. HL7 version 2.5 is more consistent and supports more functionality than any of the previous 2.x versions. The changes in comparison to version 2.4 are however relatively small.
The highlights of version 2.5 in comparison to 2.4 include:
- Improved documentation of the data types (Chapter 2B);
- The definition of a message profile methodology allowing for an exact specification of messages (Chapter 2);
- Better support for imaging (IHE) by means of a new segment and a new order message (Chapter 4);
- Support for orders related to blood products (Chapter 4);
- A new message that supports diagnoses/procedure messages in ‘update’ mode (Chapter 6);
- A new specification of claims and reimbursement messages (Appendix F, informational).
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