Health System Standards

So I got to talking to a guy at a DC Tech Meetup, and I came to learn considerably more than I had previously known about standards for health technology data systems.

Health Level Seven (org; wiki; name from OSI layer 7, the application layer) is the old guard in the field, it seems. They have standards for all sorts of medical information passing between systems, including something called a Clinical Document Architecture. Apparently version 2 is the most popular thing in the world, and the newer version 3 has not really taken off, perhaps as a result of bureaucracy and over-planning/feature creep. Which leads to:

FHIR (intro) (Fast Healthcare Interoperable Resource) seems to be the direction for the future, architected along the lines of RESTful web services rather than older SOAP nonsense. Seems like an interesting origin story for this standard, which is now coming under the HL7 umbrella.

That’s how I understand it, anyway – I’m just hearing about all these systems for the first time!

Tangentially, I learned that VistA is written in M! I guess they’re sort of the original M users, but I hadn’t heard about M at all since I heard long ago that Epic, the EMR company from near my alma mater, uses it. M is funny.

Update: There’s also this Open mHealth project, which may be interesting.

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