HL7 v2+: The Future of HL7 Version 2?

Author(s): Frank Oemig, Bernd Blobel

Background: HL7 version 2.x is the most popular and most propagated data exchange standard in the world. It is mature and adopted by several IHE Technical Frame- works. Nevertheless it has some weaknesses especially in the way it is documented. Several conformance constructs (optionality/usage and repetitions) are still under discus- sion although the meaning is unambiguous and clear. The deadline for HL7 v2.9 proposals is over and the next ballot is in preparation for May 2016.

Objectives: Therefore the question arises what will come next? HL7 v2.10? HL7 International is in favor of dis- tributing new releases every year, so that this is a good opportunity to update the representation and documenta- tion of HL7 v2.x while maintaining backward compatibility for running interfaces.

Methods: A semantic analysis of the conformance con- structs being used by HL7 v2.x allows for developing tran- sition matrices so that the new representation can be au- tomatically generated in large parts. Of course, a new separation into domains require manual support.

Results: This paper demonstrates the new representation form rendered out of the HL7 Comprehensive Database.

Conclusions: Harmonizing HL7 v2.x with other standards in the way it is represented simpli es implementation and therefore supports interoperability among applications.