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Frequently Asked Questions

Licensing of SNOMED CT in HL7 Products

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General Information About HL7

What is Health Level Seven International (HL7)?

Founded in 1987, Health Level Seven International is a non-for-profit, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) -accredited Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) serving the healthcare industry with a focus on clinical and administrative data. HL7 is supported by members from over 50 countries, including over 500 corporate members representing healthcare providers, government stakeholders, payers, pharmaceutical companies, vendors/suppliers and consulting firms.

What does the name HL7 mean?

The name HL7 comes from the seven levels of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. Level Seven is the Application Level.

What does HL7 do?

HL7 provides standards and solutions for the healthcare industry's interoperability challenges. HL7 is dedicated to producing comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports clinical practice and the management, delivery and evaluation of health services.

What is HL7's vision and mission?

HL7 Vision: A world in which everyone can securely access and use the right health data when and where they need it.

HL7 Mission: To provide standards that empower global health data interoperability.

What is interoperability?

Interoperability refers to the ability of applications to exchange and make use of information. For further information, please visit the interoperability page on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT at: https://www.healthit.gov/topic/interoperability.

What is a standard?

A standard is a document, established by consensus that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results. (As defined in ISO/IEC Guide 2:1996). HL7 and its members provide a framework (and related standards) for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information. These standards define how information is packaged and communicated from one party to another, setting the language, structure and data types required for seamless integration between systems. HL7 standards support clinical practice and the management, delivery, and evaluation of health services, and are recognized as the most commonly used in the world.

For example, HL7's Version 2 (V2) is a widely adopted "messaging standard" around the globe that will continue to be in place for a very long time. HL7's newest standard, the HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) standard is described as a next generation "API standard" framework combining the best features of HL7's Version 2, Version 3 and CDA product lines while leveraging the latest web standards and applying a tight focus on implementability. FHIR is an interoperability standard intended to facilitate the exchange of healthcare information between organizations. It consists of 2 main parts: a content model in the form of 'resources', and a specification for the exchange of these resources in the form of real-time RESTful interfaces as well as messaging and Documents. These features of FHIR promote compatibility with electronic health records and make it particularly useful for creating mobile phone apps, cloud communications and EHR-based data sharing.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

You can contact the HL7 Staff.

How is HL7 organized?

Health Level Seven members are organized into work groups and work groups are organized into steering divisions. HL7 members are encouraged to participate in all work groups in which they have an interest. Work groups are responsible for defining and developing the HL7 standards applicable to their domain. Each work group is chaired by two or more co-chairs. Please see the HL7 Process Introduction (pdf) for more information.

How do I subscribe to the HL7 news and receive other event notifications?

You can do both by filling out the form available at the HL7 Extended News List.

Account Information

How do I log in to the website?

There is a log in link available in the upper right hand corner on the HL7 website. Enter your email and password. If you've forgotten your password, you can use the "forgot your password?" link available on the Log In screen to have them sent to the email account you used to sign up.

I forgot my password, how can I retrieve it?

In the upper right hand corner, click the Log In link. On the resulting page, click the link labeled "Forgot your password?" You will be emailed instructions on how to change your password.

Why can't I get into my account?

The system may not recognize you as logged in, or your membership may have expired. To confirm that you are logged in, look in the upper right hand corner of your browser and make sure that your name is listed next to the Log Out link. If your name is not listed you will need to log in.

It is also possible that your cookies have become corrupt, to correct this log out of the website and log back in again. If you are unable to log out, you will want to delete your cookies and close your browsers.

If you're sure that you are logged in properly, click Membership then My Membership to confirm that your membership is active.

If you are still unable to access your account, please contact memberinfo@HL7.org.

How do I change my password?

Log into HL7.org, click Membership, click My Account, from the top right corner person icon, hover over and select "change password". On the following page, enter in your email address to have a password reset email sent..

How do I update my email address?

Log into your account on the HL7 website. Click on My Account. Under Communication Information, click the word "change". Update your email address and select your preferred email type (if applicable). At the bottom of the section, click the "save" button.

How do I update my mailing address?

Log into your account on the HL7 website. Click on My Account. Under Address Information, click the word "change". Update your address and click the "save" button.

Membership Information

Why should I become a member?

Membership in HL7 is available to everyone interested in the development of a cost-effective approach to system connectivity. Involvement and support from HL7's members is crucial to the ongoing expansion and enhancement of the HL7 standard and the overall success of the organization. More information on membership can be found online at www.hl7.org/participate/membership/.

What are the different kinds of membership? Which is right for me?

Information on membership, including membership levels, benefits, and pricing, is available by clicking on the appropriate Membership Level at www.hl7.org/participate/membership.

How do I check my membership renewal date and rate?

Log into your account on the HL7 website. From the HL7 home page, click on My Account. On the left side, select "Memberships" or "Company Memberships".

How do I update my organization's account profile?

NOTE: Changes to the organization's information, including its organizational profile can only be made by the Key Member for the organization.

Log into your account on the HL7 website. Click on My Account. On the left, select "Company Information". Be sure to hit submit once your changes have been made. 

How do I change my membership information?

Most changes (other than name changes) can be made by logging into your account on the HL7 website and clicking on My Account. Please send requests for name changes/corrections to memberinfo@HL7.org.

How do I change my organization's voting members?

To make changes to the roster of organizational voting member, the Key Member for the organization can submit changes (names of individuals being removed and/or added) via email to memberinfo@HL7.org. When adding new voting members, please ensure that the individual has an account already created (username/password) on the HL7 website.

For memberships, when does the year start?

The membership year is annual, beginning with the date the initial payment is received, i.e., March 12, 2019 - March 11, 2020.

When I try to (vote, register, etc.) it says I don't have access or that I'm not a member in good standing. What do I need to do?

If you have difficulty accessing your account or have questions regarding your membership status, please contact HL7 headquarters at 734-677-7777 or memberinfo@HL7.org.

How do I download HL7's organizational membership logo?

The membership logos can only be downloaded by the Key Member for the organization. Log into your account on the HL7 website. Click on My HL7 Dashboard under My HL7 Account. Under Member Tools, click on HL7 membership logos and you will see the link(s) to download the logos.

What are the differences between organizational and individual memberships?

HL7 offers a variety of Membership Levels to fit everyone's needs. To learn more about the benefits of HL7 membership, view the Membership Benefits At a Glance.

Can I get a refund of membership dues recently paid?

Refunds are not available.

Does HL7 use any of its membership revenue for lobbying?


What are the advantages of being an HL7 member?

There are many advantages of being an HL7 member, including the following:

  • The most important advantage is the engagement in the development of standards
  • Those who actively participate in the development and balloting of standards should have a competitive advantage over passive users
  • Organizational members have always enjoyed the advantage of being able to develop product-specific implementation guides for their clients under our normal licensing terms
  • Non-members wishing to distribute derivative works outside their organization must be members
  • Your financial contributions as a member help ensure that there is sufficient support for HL7 to continue its mission and vision

Training: HL7 Fundamentals and HL7 FHIR Fundamentals

Do I have to attend lectures in real time?

This is an online, asynchronous instructor-led, tutor-assisted course that does not require you to attend lectures at any given time. Learning takes place through forum discussions with instructor, peers and tutors. Assessments are in the form of quizzes, exams and projects. Moodle is the Learning Management System used to deliver the course.

How do I register for the course?

You have to first open an HL7 account. You then register online on the HL7 website. During checkout you can choose to either pay with a credit card or select the "pay by check" option. The pay by check option is especially useful for organizational reimbursement.

When does registration end? When is payment due?

Registration ends by end of business on Friday of the week before start of class. Payment is due before start of class. Even if you are unsure if your company is going to pay your invoice, it is strongly recommended that you register, choose the pay by check option and hold your seat. If you are not able to meet the payment deadline, your registration will automatically be cancelled. For more information, please visit Cancellation Policy page.

How long do students have to complete the course?

Once the course ends, students will have two weeks to complete and turn in any outstanding assignments.

How much time should be set aside to keep up with the course work?

Approximately five to seven hours per week. The amount of time you will spend is dependent on your previous technical knowledge or background.

Is the course refundable?

If you cancel before the registration closes, you will receive a full refund minus a $50 processing. If you cancel after that date, no refunds will be made. For more information, please visit Cancellation Policy page.

The prerequisites seem minimal; would someone who is not a software developer be able to master the material?

If you are not a developer or do not have some technical savvy or interest in informatics, the material may be difficult to master.

What happens after registration?

The day before the course begins you will receive your username, password and instructions on how to access the course. You will then start your coursework.

What technical requirements are needed for the course?

A computer with internet browsing and PDF viewing capabilities are the only requirements.

Will any type of certificate be given at the end of the course?

Yes, you will receive a certificate at the end of the course if you have completed all the given assignments in the allotted time (before the answers are posted). This certificate does not mean you are certified in any HL7 standards, but that you have completed the fundamentals course.


How do I register for an HL7 certification exam?

Information on how to register for a certification exam can be found on our website under Certification. Links to study guides and sample tests can also be found there. The knowledge required to pass the test can be obtained by attending HL7 educational sessions and webinars, participation in the HL7 working group meetings, fieldwork involving HL7 interfaces or simple self-study of the HL7 specification.

What are the options for taking an HL7 certification exam?

Currently, certificate exams are offered in V2, V3, CDA and FHIR. Registrants can take it either at one of our HOST testing centers or online. More information can be found on our website under Certfication.

If I don't pass on the first try, do I have to pay to take it the next time?

Yes, the exam fee is charged each time the test is taken.

Meetings and Events

When will registration open?

Event registration opens no later than 30 days prior to the event.

How do I view my upcoming meeting registrations?

Log into HL7.org. Follow the My Account link that is located to the right of the home page; From the My Account page, please scroll to the bottom and you will find a listing of all meetings you have registered for, and can print past invoices from here as well. If you encounter a black bar across the My Account page, please just give the page time to load, and you will be able to view all of your meetings.

How do I register another person for an event?

You will need to log out and then log in as that person to register them for an event. If that person does not have a login, you will need to create one for them.

When I go to register for the event, it says I'm not a member, but my organization is a member. How do I get the member price?

There are several reasons this may occur; one may be that your membership has lapsed or that the payment is currently being processed. Another reason could be that your user email does not match that of the organization's email domain. They must match in order for you to receive the member benefits of your organization. Lastly, you may have to verify your email address. You will be emailed a link to verify your email matches that of an organization email domain. Once you verify, you will automatically receive member rates.

How can I print another copy of my registration invoice/receipt (or didn't receive one)?

You can print your receipt/ invoice for any meeting by: Logging into www.HL7.org, once on the home page, select the My Account link that is located to the right of the home page. Once on the My Account page, please scroll to the bottom where you will see a section titled "My Invoices". From there you should follow the "select invoices to Pay Now/Print duplicate Receipts". If a black bar appears on your screen once you selected the My Account link, please just wait for the page to load. It may take a full minute.

How do I add a tutorial, cancel a tutorial, change a date, etc.?

To update any portion of your meeting registration, simply follow the Meetings link that is located to the right of the home page under "Quick Links". Once on that page, please select the meeting you wish to update. You will see a link titled, "You may update your registration here". The link will take you to a page where you can adjust the items you wish to update. If you are adding a day, please select the "Update Tickets" link located next to your daily choices. Likewise, if you wish to add or remove a tutorial, please select the "Update Tickts" link the section next to the tutorials. You can also find the option to cancel your entire registration by scrolling down to the bottom of the page. For more information, please visit Cancellation Policy page.

A black bar containing links to other pages on HL7.org appears in the middle of the page and won't go away. What should I do?

If you encounter a black bar that stretches across the middle of a page, please allow approximately 30-60 seconds for the page to finish loading. The black bar is the footer and will eventually drop into its correct location.

Work Groups

What is a working group meeting? When are they?

HL7 working group meetings (WGMs) are held three times per year at varying locations. These working group meetings serve two important purposes: They give the HL7 work groups a chance to meet face-to-face to work on the standards as well as the opportunity to network with industry leaders from around the world. They provide an invaluable educational resource for the healthcare IT community. For more information, please refer to 'First-Time Attendee Resources' located at Events > Working Group Meetings.  For dates and locations, go to the HL7 Events page.

How do I become involved in HL7 work groups?

The best way to become involved in an HL7 work group is by simply attending the group's regularly scheduled calls as well as joining its listserv. You may search for a work group's call coordinates in the conference call center. Once you've logged in with a free HL7 account, you can also subscribe to a work group's listserv.

I requested to be subscribed to a listserv, why does it say I'm already subscribed? Or I subscribed to a listserv, why can't I send or receive email?

The listserv has likely already received your request to join the list. If you are unable to send or receive email from the list, your subscription may not have been activated. The listserv sign-up process generates a confirmation email which is sent to the requesting email address. Until you click the link within this confirmation email, your subscription will not be activated. Be sure to check your junk mail folder for the confirmation email. If you are still unable to locate the confirmation email or have any other questions regarding the listserv, please send an email to support@HL7.org for assistance.

How do I delete or edit a conference call?

Only current co-chairs have access to these features. If you are a co-chair, please visit the following link: http://www.hl7.org/concalls/. Once there, click on the call you wish to remove or edit. This prompts the call information to display on the screen; the editing options are located at the bottom of the page. Please note that editing options are limited and the original call may need to be deleted in order to make your desired changes.

I am interested in becoming a co-chair; where can I locate information on elections, etc.?

Information on becoming a co-chair is available in the Governance and Operations Manual (section 09.02.06) http://www.hl7.org/permalink/?GOM. Information on current co-chair elections is available on the HL7 website under Resources > Elections: http://www.hl7.org/participate/elections.cfm.

Where can I find information about an archived work group or a work group that is no longer in existence or one that has merged with another?

View the list of archived work groups and projects on the Work Groups page; the list is in the lower right portion of the page.

Licensing of SNOMED CT in HL7 Products

What is licensing of SNOMED CT in HL7 products?

The following key points are provided by the SNOMED to confirm the SNOMED CT licensing arrangements that have been agreed between SNOMED and HL7 International. These are in line with the condition set out in the SNOMED CT Affiliate license agreement and do not replace them. For further information, first review SNOMED CT licensing information and then contact info@ihtsdo.org to discuss your specific requirements for a license.

Can HL7 access the full scope of SNOMED CT when developing HL7 documents, irrespective of their status in terms of being in an IHTSDO member country?

HL7 International working group members can access SNOMED CT if they are participating in the development of HL7 International products. A development license has been provided by SNOMED to HL7 International, and HL7 International has set up a mechanism to access SNOMED CT (International version). Please contact Karen Van Hentenryck, Associate Executive Director, HL7 International, for further information on accessing SNOMED CT for this work. An individual SNOMED CT affiliate license is not required for this purpose.

Is it true that any user of HL7 specifications who have agreed to the HL7 development license of SNOMED CT can receive, store, display and communicate SNOMED CT concept identifiers and terms within the scope of the agreement?

No. HL7 International work group members can access SNOMED CT for development of international products under the HL7/SNOMED agreement, using the agreed mechanism. If an HL7 member is accessing an HL7 International product containing SNOMED CT to use, deploy or distribute, they must have an affiliate license for which they apply to SNOMED (web link above). Please be aware that fees may apply for SNOMED non-member countries.

Does the HL7 development license only cover SNOMED CT International?

Yes. The development license agreed between SNOMED and HL7 International covers the use of SNOMED CT International release in HL7 International products

Are both extensional and intensional SNOMED CT values in HL7 International products included in the development agreement?

The development license covers both intensional and extensional SNOMED CT value sets in HL7 international products.

How can the licensing process be made simple and clearer?

HL7 International is putting in place a licensing statement for all terminologies they use in their products for when users download an HL7 International product. The licensing statement makes it clear that users are responsible for obtaining the appropriate license.

If an HL7 affiliate in an IHTSDO non-member country takes a code and description from an HL7 International repository or standard and uses the IHTSDO browser to assist in mapping to local codes, is a license required?

The agreement between HL7 International and SNOMED is for the development of HL7 International products and not for use, use requires an affiliate license in SNOMED non-member countries which may involve a fee. (Note: The situation may change if HL7 International and SNOMED agree a set of SNOMED CT International codes and descriptions which can be used for free globally in HL7 International products)

HL7 International is exploring the publication considerations and requirements for standards and repositories i.e. standards may use intensional definitions which need to be applied by a terminology service. HL7 FHIR may render these instructions and deliver codes and descriptions to users of the standards. Does HL7 International need a specific license for use of SNOMED CT in our standards, and in terminology services?

HL7 International can publish products using SNOMED CT International that have been developed using the development license for HL7 International products.

What type of restrictions/access requirements will be applied as part of the development license applied when developing HL7 International products?

As discussed above, HL7 International is providing access to SNOMED CT International for HL7 International work group members who are contributing to the development of HL7 International products. The portal will require registration of the individual and the piece of work they are contributing to which requires this access.

A request for the expansion of an intensional value set is done by a terminology server via an API. What access reporting requirements are necessary from the host of the terminology server and what are the licensing requirements for the requester?

Assuming the terminology server is in an SNOMED Member country, any person or organization downloading from an IHTSDO member country's terminology server is individually responsible for ensuring they have the appropriate license to use SNOMED CT.


What is the Ballot Desktop?

The ballot desktop is the central site where you can:

  • Join ballot pools
  • Locate Ballot material
  • Cast a vote
  • Examine voting tallies
  • Examine comments from voters

The tabs at the top of the page allow you to navigate between the Home page, Voting page, and Tally page. The ballot desktop is located at: www.hl7.org/permalink/?BallotDesktop

How do I get to the ballot website?

The ballot desktop is located at www.hl7.org/permalink/?BallotDesktop

What do the ballot types mean?

There are four basic types of ballots - the letter designations indicate the ballot level:

N - Normative
I - Informative
D - Standard for Trial Use
O - Comment


Normative - A normative ballot is intended to process and validate those specifications intended for submission to ANSI for consideration as American National Standards.

The normative ballot process shall adhere to the tenets of ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards.

Under normal circumstances the subject matter of a normative ballot will have at some point been subjected to a review ballot; however, there are a number of scenarios where material may need to move directly to normative ballot, such as the need to respond to government mandate or to resolve a critical issue raised by a stakeholder or noted in an existing American National Standard.

Informative - An informative document is the product of a work group that is not currently deemed normative, but nonetheless is intended for general publication. It explains or supports the structure of the specifications, or provides detailed information regarding the interpretation or implementation of an HL7 specification.

A work group may declare an informative document as US Realm-specific in that its function is to constrain a specification for implementation in the United States of America (USA).

Standard for Trial Use (STU) - STU is used to provide the basis for proof of concept pilot projects and objective assessment of the viability of implementation of the proposed standard.

For Comment Only - A work group may submit proposed content or requirements documents, such as a domain analysis model (DAM), to comment-only review. The intent is to gather input from members outside of the work group on the viability and clarity of the proposed content or requirements document. The review of proposed content or requirements documents does not seek a vote, per se, but will capture all comments.

A ballot to reaffirm an HL7 American National Standard (ANS) shall be submitted to a Comment-only Ballot to allow interested parties to express their opinion by supporting reaffirmation, suggesting revisions to update the ANS, or providing reasons to withdraw the ANS.

How do I sign up for a ballot?

Navigate to the Ballot Desktop at www.hl7.org/permalink/?BallotDesktop. Signed-in Members should see on the "Home" tab a link to "Join a consensus group". Non-members can navigate to the ballot desktop but will need to pay fees to ballot.

How do I cast a vote?

Use the "Vote" tab on the Ballot Desktop at www.hl7.org/permalink/?BallotDesktop

How do I find out more information on what the ballot is about?

Please look up the related ballot item's project definition in Project Insight. There are over twenty (20) product types in HL7.

  1. Those voting should understand the product type that is being balloted
  2. Product type is found in Project Insight
  3. Ballot materials will either be found on a link from the ballot website or presented for download


Where can I find the Intellectual Property (IP)?

HL7 licenses the use of much of its IP at no cost. You can find all of our standards under the Standards tab.

What are the steps to download the Intellectual Property (IP)?

All users must complete a click-through license registration process to participate. Members use their usual HL7.org login and non-members need to create an account. Find the standard you want via the Standards tab and follow the prompts including agreeing to the terms of the license.

I'm trying to download a standard, but I can't find it!

The standards are available for download from the Standards section of the website. To access the downloads, log into the HL7 website (must be logged-in to be able to download) and click on the Standards link in the main navigation, then click the standard for which you wish to download documents. Affiliate members may also access this information by following their affiliate download link to the HL7 website. If you are an affiliate member and need additional help finding this link, please contact your affiliate. You must be a member in good standing to access the members' only documents on the Standards section of the website (those that are restricted to members-only for the first 90 days of release).

Why do non-members have to create a username and password (i.e. register on the website) to download a standard?

We need to uniquely identify each individual in order to provide a license.

What material is available at no cost?

Standards that have already received ANSI approval are licensed at no cost. Additionally, published implementation guides, profiles and domain analysis models (DAM), and current (although not expired) standards for trial use (STU) are licensed at no cost. HL7 members have early access to new HL7 standards as a member-only benefit; these will be licensed free-of-charge to non-members after three months.

What other select intellectual property (IP) is available besides standards and implementation guides?

Profiles and domain analysis models (DAMs) are considered other select IP. The HL7 Board determines on a case-by-case basis whether other IP such as tools will be licensed for at no cost.

Are domain analysis models (DAMS) and functional profiles licensed at no cost?


Can I download the whole Normative Edition at no cost?

Yes. The most current version of the Normative Edition is available for download at no cost to non-members three months after publication. Members have immediate access to all versions of the Normative Editions.

Are HL7 standards in the public domain?

No. Our standards and selected intellectual property (IP) are available at no cost under a licensing agreement by which HL7 retains its copyright and specific terms apply.

Are users able to modify HL7 standards?

No. HL7 retains the copyright and follows current processes to make any needed changes in the standards. Users are freely able to study, implement and develop products based on HL7 standards and create implementation profiles under the licensing terms. The HL7 member community develops and maintains HL7 standards and other HL7 products through HL7 International as an accredited standards development organization (SDO), and in collaboration with its international affiliates, which also produce realm localizations.

What is a derivative work?

An example of a derivative work is an implementation guide. The US Copyright Office defines derivative work as follows: A derivative work is a work based on or derived from one or more already existing works. Also known as a "new version," a derivative work is copyrightable if it includes what copyright law calls an "original work of authorship." Any work in which the editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications represent, as a whole, an original work of authorship is a derivative work or a new version.

I am an individual member. What types of derivative works can I create?

Individual members can create the same types of derivative works as non-members as explained below.

I am not a member. Can I create derivative works?

HL7 authorizes non-members to create the following derivative works:

  • Implementation guides for internal use only. Distribution of these outside your organization is not permitted.
  • Profiles that assert conformance of a product to HL7 standards. Such conformance profiles may be distributed without limitation.
  • Translations of HL7 material into executable code or other machine processable form which results in the creation of a new work (in the form of an adaptation) that implements the material and is not regarded as a reproduction and distribution of excerpts. Such machine processable implementations (for example, interface software products) may be distributed without limitation.
  • Technical documentation of your system(s); this may be created and distributed without limitation.
  • Educational materials; these may be created and published without limitation.
  • Translations of any of the above.

Under the normal HL7 license terms these derivative works may not contain excerpts of HL7 copyright material not otherwise permitted under US copyright law and may not carry the HL7 logo nor state or imply that they are endorsed by HL7.

Who do I contact to get permission to create a derivative work not on the list above and what is the process for approving such a request?

Requests to create or publish a derivative work should be addressed to Karenvan@HL7.org. The HL7 Executive Committee will review and decide on all derivative work requests that fall outside those authorized under the normal license terms.

I'm an individual, student or health professional member. Why can't I share the freely licensed standards with others?

HL7 is the sole licensing agent for its standards. We remain the source of truth by requiring people to come to our website and obtain a license. This also enables HL7 to track who is using its standards and which standards are being used most frequently. Collection of this type of data, which drives standards developments, is not possible if we allow everyone to share the standards with whomever they like. Organizational members are allowed to share the standards internally with their employees. Learn more at http://www.hl7.org/legal/ippolicy.cfm.

What happens if I don't confirm or update my contact information?

You will be unable to download any more standards.

What will be done with the information that is collected on the license agreements?

We will be tracking all standards that are being accessed and by which stakeholders. We hope to observe trends that will help us better understand our customers and their needs.

Why can't I put your freely licensed standards on my intranet or share with my employees?

Those wishing to share HL7 standards on their intranet or with their employees should become organizational members of HL7. While a non-member organization can accept a license for HL7 standards, each employee from that organization who wishes to use the standard must obtain a license via the HL7 website.

Why do I have to annually confirm or update my contact information?

HL7 tracks the use of its standards. We cannot track this type of data without having current data on our licensees. Since the standards are being licensed at no cost, we do not feel that it is an unreasonable request for users to confirm or refresh their contact data annually. Information provided will not be shared with others and will be used for HL7 purposes only.

What does my organization need to do to become HL7 compliant?

You will need to secure a copy of the standard, which provides the messages (by domain) that any system claiming compliance to HL7 should be able to send/receive. HL7 standards are freely available for download, under licensing terms, from the Standards section of the HL7 website.

Trademarks and Intellectual Property

How do I learn more about using HL7 Trademarks?

Learn more by visiting our Guide to Using HL7 Trademarks page at: http://www.hl7.org/legal/trademarks.cfm

Where can I find HL7 Branding Guidelines?

For information on how to use HL7 branded logos, please download the HL7 Style Guide (pdf).

Can members use Health Level Seven-owned trademarks?

Any use of Health Level Seven-owned trademarks (including the HL7® FHIR® flame logo) to brand your product or service must be approved in writing by Health Level Seven by submitting a formal request via the HL7 trademark licensing site. You may mention HL7®, FHIR® or other Health Level Seven-owned trademarks if you are using the trademarks in a plain language or "fair use" situation. Under fair use you may also use the HL7® logo as a link to www.HL7.org, and the HL7® FHIR® logo to link to www.FHIR.org without requesting permission. See examples of "fair use" below. All uses of the [FLAME DESIGN]® logo require the ® symbol. To seek approval to use an HL7 trademark to brand your product or service, send a request to HL7trademarks@HL7.org.


Really. If people use the Health Level Seven-owned trademarks without permission, it will likely create confusion as to what products or services are officially produced or authorized by Health Level Seven. This confusion damages Health Level Seven and its ability to serve members today and in the future.

Are you telling me that I can't even mention HL7 or FHIR or other Health Level Seven-owned trademarks?

You cannot use Health Level Seven-owned trademarks to brand your own products or services without written permission. You may, however, mention HL7® or HL7® FHIR® or other Health Level Seven-owned trademarks if you are using the trademarks in a plain language manner rather as a brand for your goods or services — if you are making what is often called a "fair use".

Sounds like your lawyer wrote that last one. Can you help me out with some examples?

Sure. Ask yourself this: Does your contemplated use of Health Level Seven-owned trademarks refer to you or your services, or does it refer to Health Level Seven or its services? If the usage refers to something owned by Health Level Seven, then it is likely an acceptable "fair use". If it refers to something owned by you or someone else, then it is an unacceptable "trademark use". Below are some examples of "Fair Use":

  • We provide all the training you need to comply with the HL7® FHIR® standard.
  • The CDA® standard supports efficient inter-enterprise information exchange.
  • HL7®s CCD® implementation guide enables providers to effectively share patient summary data.

Unacceptable "Trademark Use":

  • Check out our FHIR IN THE HOLE workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
  • Our CDA AGENT software automates document creation.
  • Here at CCD CONNECTIONS, we use the latest technology to help medical teams communicate without loss of meaning and to enable improved patient care.

The HL7® FHIR® standard is open source. Doesn't that mean that I can use the HL7® FHIR® mark whenever I want?

No. Many open source product licenses explicitly exclude rights to trademarks. See, e.g., Mozilla Foundation Trademark Policy.

We encourage everyone to explore improving the HL7® FHIR® standard, but only after a modified version is reviewed and approved by HL7 is it allowed to bear the HL7® FHIR® mark. HL7 trademarks protect our members by giving them the confidence to know that a particular version of a standard is consistent with the values and approved by HL7.

For more information about the HL7® FHIR® mark, please read the HL7 FHIR Trademark Policy (pdf) and the HL7 FHIR Trademark FAQs (pdf).

Are there times when I can use HL7 Trademarks without asking?

You may use the trademarks without asking for HL7 events (e.g., HL7 training course) that promote our common mission and are intended to be predominantly attended by HL7 members and sponsored by HL7. Using an HL7 trademark to promote non-HL7-sponsored conferences and meetings require a license.

You may use the non-stylized HL7 Word Mark to:

  • Describe Community project (e.g. "Get trained in HL7® FHIR®!").
  • Derivative work of a Community project in a way that is not misleading (e.g. "This standard is derived from the HL7® FHIR® standard, but is not affiliated with, or approved or sponsored by, HL7)
  • Make truthful statements about the HL7 standards and/or projects in news reports and commentary (e.g., The HL7 Working Group Meeting convened last week in San Antonio, TX).
  • Make truthful statements about the HL7 projects in personal blogs and social media as long as you do not imply endorsement by or affiliation to HL7. To avoid confusion, please do not use HL7 Word Marks in the background, as your profile image, or in the header of your blog. You should also not use the marks in the name of your blog or in your social media username.
  • Discuss HL7 projects in artistic, scientific, literary, and political work or in presentations at public conferences. Please, however, send us a request via the HL7 trademark licensing site if you want to place the FHIR Word Mark on the cover of your book or organize an event or presentation that could be interpreted to be endorsed by HL7.

When do I need to apply for an HL7 FHIR trademark license?

You need a license whenever you want to:

  • List HL7 as a sponsor of your event or member of your group or collaborative
  • Use one of the HL7 trademarks to promote a product (software or swag handout), event (such as a hackathon or conference), or service (such as consulting or training).
  • Use the HL7 Word Marks in a product name, domain, social media handle, blog name or web page title (other than those associated directly with HL7).

Once I get a license to use the Powered by HL7 FHIR mark on my product or event , can I declare my product or event as conforming to FHIR or endorsed by HL7?

You can state that your product uses the HL7® FHIR® specification under fair use, but you cannot claim conformance until such time as formal conformance requirements have been published for FHIR, and you've met any conformance testing requirements.

So if I'm using it in one of these "fair use" instances without a license, are there any rules I have to follow?

Yes, you should adhere to the following rules:

  • Include the following notice for the word mark and flame logo respectively placed near the first reference to the mark (once is enough) "FHIR® is the registered trademark of Health Level Seven International and the use does not constitute endorsement by HL7." "The Flame Design mark is the registered trademark of Health Level Seven International and the use does not constitute endorsement by HL7."
  • If space is constrained (as on a mobile device) you can include the registered trademark ® symbol after the FHIR Mark at least once on each page (if applicable) and generally in connection with the first or dominant usage.

I'm offering a public training course at my university on FHIR, called "FHIR for Beginners" and preparing an ad. Do I need a license?

Yes, you will need a license to use the Powered by HL7 FHIR mark, and you have to use the formal mark along with the proper notice. But it would be OK to generically refer to a training class on HL7® FHIR® in the body of a document or posting without requesting a license, since that's fair use. But you can't use the marks in the name of this product/service without permission.

I'm teaching a class on FHIR at a HL7-sponsored meeting. Do I need a license?

No, you don't need a license to use the marks for an HL7-sponsored event or project.

What's the bottom line?

It is never OK to use Health Level Seven-owned trademarks in the name of your product or service without prior written consent.

It may be OK to use Health Level Seven-owned trademarks in a regular English-language sentence if you are referring to Health Level Seven itself or an Health Level Seven-owned product or service. See the HL7® Trademark Usage Policy page for more information.


How do I learn more about obtaining an Object Identifier (OID)?

Information on the HL7 Object Identifier (OID) Registry is available at: http://www.hl7.org/oid/index.cfm. This page contains info on how to obtain or register an OID, HL7 OID resources, OID Registry help and Other OID resources. For assistance on anything not covered in the above resources, please email OIDRegistry@HL7.org.