Gaining the Advantage With HL7

Health Level Seven, or are HL7, refers to the international standards for clinical and administrativeHL7 data transfer between various software applications. It gets the “7” denomination due to the fact that the standards focus on layer seven of the application in the OSI model. So, how is HL7 impacting the way patient records are shared?

HL7 International, a standards organization for healthcare data, is working on ways to ease the way patient records are shared in digital form. It’s called Fast Health Interoperable Resources (FHIR), which relies on resources that assist health IT systems to read data extensions. These resources are actually modular components used in social media apps, cloud software and mobile phones.

By assembling the modular components in working systems, clinical and administrative problems no longer represent a stumbling block when it comes to accessing and sharing patient records.

Doctors rely on the current HL7 standard as a widely used format through which they can receive lab reports, send prescriptions and share clinical summaries about patients. However, doctors are now looking at the standard as a way to query and aggregate structured information in an effort to measure the quality of care they’re providing patients and for reporting purposes.

The standard is still in development while many healthcare professionals are already using what are being called “connectathons” to support clinical applications. Furthermore, FHIR offers a framework that is readable by providers who access health data on a regular basis.

IT professionals in the industry say that FHIR is a “significant” project for HL7 and the IT community within healthcare because it represents an overdue update to the electronic data interchange format, which is decades old.

Some healthcare professionals are saying that FHIR could make interoperability occur at a faster rate than what is found with older standards. The benefit is that when systems push data to a central system, FHIR will allow a more easily accessible connection than what the pull data models offer.

Interoperability is still an issue in healthcare, but there are a number of definitions for interoperability, which muddies the waters. Many providers are still finding that they are limited to what kinds of data can be exchanged between entities. Today, there are a number of people who need to connect to the data, from specialists to nurses, attending doctors, patients and family members.

Thanks to the improved relationships between hospitals and electronic health records vendors, FHIR is finding a high level of cooperation and collaboration between healthcare systems and vendors. However, HL7 remains a large organization with very broad interests, which means collaboration will be key in the success of FHIR.

OffSite Image Management, Inc., currently collaborates with a number of providers in offering storage of data that is specific to HL7. We know that success comes with collaboration and with workable solutions that can positively impact small and large providers. While we’re known for creating cost-effective solutions for image-based data, we’re also assisting clients with their HL7 data. Contact us today and find out about how we will work with you.