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What is HL7 & its Challenges? Why does healthcare need it?

by Amelia Williams Web and App Developer

HL7 (Health Level 7) is a framework of standards to exchange patient information in a healthcare department. It was created in the year 1987 to receive and share patient information easily. 


The HL7 standard is being used by many healthcare system vendors. The system is majorly used in US hospitals and clinics. When HL7 standards came into existence, these were only used for messaging, but with the development in technology, it has now become a terminological tool, a support tool, and is used for ontology.


The HL7 is an organization that wants to provide a basic standard in the healthcare sector, it could be for the exchange of messages from doctors to patients, or for integration, the transfer of medical results of a patient, and the best possible delivery of healthcare services. The entire HL7 process is computer-based. The transfer of any information between a healthcare provider and their patients is done via a computer. 


The entire process of creating an HL7 integration standard and then giving that interface standard to different software developers and then putting this into hospital software is a very time consuming and difficult process. Many hospitals and clinics have adapted to the different software versions of the HL7 standard, even in these software systems, there are differences in implementing them. While trying to sync a new software system into the computers of hospitals, there can be many different problems.


While developing an HL7 standard software system, a hospital can face many challenges. These can occur at the time of implementing the software in the systems or after doing so.


When we look at a hospital's software system we think about how simple it is to keep track of all the information. But if you look closely, the entire process takes a lot of detailing and is filled with challenges that only a software developer knows how to solve. Many organizations that handle communication between two parties are very open. HL7 standards is a membership organization. The HL7 organization consists of different healthcare systems, healthcare vendors, and other parties to pay a significant amount of membership fees to participate in the entire process of operating an HL7 software system. 

In the healthcare sector, the most important software standards are to be implemented entirely. If not, then the software does not operate properly. When it comes to the HL7 standard, there is a difference in how different software vendors implement it. 


What is HL7 integration?


HL7 integration is the process in which the data that is shared should be able to be explainable on the receiving end. This entire process can sound very easy, but in reality, this process has different challenges for the healthcare workers and for different healthcare software developers and software vendors. The challenges faced by developers and healthcare sector vendors can be as follows,


Many healthcare workers need software systems that are easy to use and do not trouble them. This can be when they need to gather a patient's information, or when they need urgent medical results of a patient. If the software system does not work in order to increase their work speed, no healthcare worker will want to use it. Now that there are different new and advanced software systems available in the market, no hospitals want to stay back.  If the system does not make things easier for a healthcare provider they would go for a much better one. More and more healthcare providers are now opting for software systems that help them in providing the best healthcare services. 


The HL7 software does that for the healthcare workers. The HL7 software helps healthcare workers with its brilliant features. The HL7 software should be easy to use and should be able to keep data safe all the time. The HL7 interface software application helps in eliminating data duplication. This software makes it easier for IT groups to stack medical data easily together.


There are developers who implement the HL7 software in different ways. The new changes in the HL7 programming system are more time-consuming and have become more costly. The new methods have led to keeping up with the code and keeping track of the integration points for every new information. The new methods also require a lower number of resources, these could be the features and the functions. In an organisations system, if new and more advanced changes are used, the entire software will be affected by that. While changing these software systems, the developers have to be sure all the endpoints are updated. The entire application development will need to be changed to regain clear communication. 

While changing a software system, it has to be perfect. To achieve this, more money and time needs to be devoted. Even though developers build an application that is free of problems, some things can always go unnoticed and cause problems in the future. Since there is no correct way to know if any mistake has been made in the process, developers have to wait and see if the new HL7 interface software development will work or not. The software system can take time to get noticed, it is also hard to estimate the correct resource need. 


With time, technology has grown more advanced. The technology in the healthcare sector has growth also. In the beginning, the applications were basic and did not provide the best solutions. But now it does that. The applications should now be able to value the data, and the applications should also be able to understand what these data values are. The software system of HL7 interface development should be able to understand how data is kept. The software system should be able to distinguish between what the interpretation of a medical term is. 


In many cases, a medical term can have two different meanings and have to be put in different sections, if the HL7 software system is capable of distinguishing this, then the software has been developed properly. If there is any confusion then entire hospital data can have serious issues for patients. 


Changing to a whole new software system can cause problems for any hospital. There are thousands of hospitals that use online software systems for data collection. In many of these hospitals, data is stored in one platform, while others plan to use a new and more advanced HL7 interface development


The question is which data should be moved first and which should be moved last? The new software system should first move medications, diagnoses and allergies of a patient. The left data can be moved slowly and mix with the new HL7 integrated system. The old patient data can be left out as the last thing to be moved. A good HL7 interface developer knows this data has to be correct and be transferred at the right time. This process can sometimes be extremely long and can charge hospitals a lot of money. 


These were the main challenges of the HL7 integration process. There are many other difficulties that a developer has to face to build the best software for a hospital. Hopefully, the things that we have mentioned above have given you an insight into what the HL7 integration process is and why it is so important for the healthcare sector.


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About Amelia Williams Freshman   Web and App Developer

12 connections, 0 recommendations, 45 honor points.
Joined APSense since, February 27th, 2021, From New York, United States.

Created on Apr 17th 2021 09:01. Viewed 276 times.

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