Health Level Seven (HL7®) is a healthcare-specific standards organization whose primary focus is creating a defined set of international messaging standards used to support interoperability and communication between applications and devices. These message standards can be organized into three main HL7 Standard Versions, HL7 Version 2 (v2), Version 3 (v3) and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). The HL7 v2.x standard is the most common data standard in the healthcare industry today.
Information sent using the HL7® standard is sent as a collection of one or more messages, each of which transmits one record or item of health-related information. There are many different types of HL7 messages designed to communicate information essential to providing fast, quality patient care, such as patient data, laboratory records and billing information. HL7® specification documents provide the framework in which HL7 messages are formatted and transported between healthcare organizations.
Although HL7® and their messages are widely used, many systems don’t know how to speak the language and require a translator. HL7 integration engines work alongside existing applications as an interpreter, creating HL7 interfaces and speaking the language of HL7®. Integration engines like Iguana, ensure communicating healthcare information as HL7® messages is fast, reliable, secure, and cost effective.
Here’s a short, animated video that explains in plain language what HL7® is and exactly what it does:
Additional sections discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using the HL7® standard and provide technical details of the HL7 standard and its common transport methods. You will not need to read these sections to understand the HL7® standard, but they may be useful to you if you need additional background information to implement your application or interface.