Introduction to HL7 Standards
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Adopted HL7 Standards
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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 more information about the HL7 standards process, please read Understanding the Standards Process.
HL7 standards are grouped into reference categories:
- Section 1: Primary Standards -
Primary standards are considered the most popular standards integral for system integrations, inter-operability and compliance. Our most frequently used and in-demand standards are in this category.
- Section 1a: Clinical Document Architecture (CDA®) -
Clinical Document Architecture (CDA®) Products
- Section 1b: EHR - Electronic Health Records -
These standards provide functional models and profiles that enable the constructs for management of electronic health records.
- Section 1c: FHIR® -
FHIR® – Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources
- Section 1d: Version 2 (V2) -
Version 2 (V2)
- Section 1e: Version 3 (V3) -
HL7 Version 3 (V3) - a suite of specifications based on HL7's Reference Information Model (RIM)
- Section 1f: Arden Syntax -
The Arden Syntax is a formalism for representing procedural clinical knowledge in order to facilitate the sharing of computerized health knowledge bases among personnel, information systems and institutions
- Section 1g: CCOW -
HL7 Clinical Context Management Specification (CCOW) is aimed at facilitating the integration of applications at the point of use, as a standard for both internal applications programming and runtime environment infrastructure that complements HL7's traditional emphasis on data interchange and enterprise workflow.
- Section 1h: Cross-paradigm/Domain Analysis Models -
Cross-paradigm/ Logical Level Standards e.g. Domain Analysis Models
- Section 2: Clinical and Administrative Domains -
Messaging and document standards for clinical specialties and groups are found in this section. These standards are usually implemented once primary standards for the organization are in place.
- Section 3: Implementation Guides -
This section is for implementation guides and/or support documents created to be used in conjunction with an existing standard. All documents in this section serve as supplemental material for a parent standard.
- Section 4: Rules and References - Technical specifications, programming structures and guidelines for software and standards development.
All HL7 Standards can also be located by other classifications such as ANSI/ISO/HITSP approval and various search variables in our Master Grid.
HL7 encompasses the complete life cycle of a standards specification including the development, adoption, market recognition, utilization, and adherence. Please refer to our IP Policy for more information about how members and non-members can use the standards. For the latest published updates about HL7 standards, please visit http://standups.hl7.org
For information on how to use HL7's FHIR Trademarks that are consistent with our common mission, please refer to our FHIR Trademark Policy.
To provide feedback on the standards, especially Standards for Trial Use (STU) see the Confluence page on Specification Feedback.
For historical reference to STU comments, see the Expired STU page.
As of 2016 May, the HL7 Governance and Operations Manual (GOM) was updated to reflect the naming of Standards for Trial Use. Prior to this time the term "Draft Standards for Trial Use" was in effect. You will see both DSTU and STU naming reflected in the listings of Trial Use Standards. Over the course of several years the trial periods on the older DSTU will expire and new STU are published.