What is HL7?

Health Level Seven (HL7), which was founded in 1987, is a non-profit organization with the purpose of developing international healthcare informatics interoperability standards.

Although the details involving computer, internet and software programming are very complicated, this basically means that HL7 and its members are working provide a framework (with related standards) for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information.

The organization, Health Level Seven, Inc. (or HL7, Inc.), is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan is considered the global authority on standards for interoperability of health information technology. It has members in over 55 countries.

Most organizations in America that are an accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO) operating in the healthcare arena produce standards for a particular healthcare domain (such as pharmacy, medical devices, imaging or insurance claims processing transactions). HL7 is one of several American National Standards Institute that functions as an SDO; and, HL7’s domain is clinical and administrative data.

The 13th annual IHE-Europe Connectathon (April 15th to 19th, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey) is a 5-day event focusing on testing the interoperability and connectivity of health-care IT systems.

In the United States, physicians who either have not implemented certified electronic health record (EHR) and electronic medical record (EMR) systems (or cannot demonstrate equivocal meaningful use) by the mandated deadline in 2015, will face a series of penalties. Certified EHR/EMR systems refers to being HL7 compliant.

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Adam Saleh

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