Healthcare

HL7 Integration. A Healthcare Standard Overview

30 April 2021 • 5 min read
HL7 Integration. A Healthcare Standard Overview
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Slava Ivanov
Slava Ivanov
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Slava Vaniukov
Written by Slava Vaniukov
Co-Founder and CEO at Softermii
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In order to view relevant patient records and documents, many healthcare providers and facilities must access various electronic systems.

This can be difficult, however, as data can be dispersed across multiple hospitals and clinics that are not integrated with local systems. Furthermore, it may also be presented in a variety of formats and clinical classes, which can lead to uncertainty and misinterpretation. As a result, dealing with these problems can be extremely frustrating for both doctors and patients

To resolve these concerns, the adoption and integration of an HL7 interface and standards have increased in popularity in the healthcare industry.

More than 90% of healthcare facilities in the United States and 27 other countries currently use HL7, rendering it a global standard. After all, it serves as a link between providers and improves interoperability. It also facilities data interaction and transmission, making it indispensable in the industry.

To fully comprehend its significance, this article will examine what is HL7 in healthcare, how does HL7 work, why systems need HL7 data integration, how to integrate an HL7 with APIs, and the benefits of HL7.


What Is HL7?

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Health Level Seven (HL7) is a collection of formatting standards and guidelines designed to assist healthcare providers in the transmission and sharing of data.

This framework is accomplished by defining how electronic healthcare data, such as clinical and administrative, is packaged and transported. This involves defining the language, type, and structure.

This simplifies interface implementation and eliminates the need to build custom interfaces between clinical applications. It also bridges the gap between health IT applications by enabling seamless integration between any systems. In comparison to previous approaches, compliance to HL7 standards simplifies and improves data exchange.

The Health Level Seven International, a non-profit organization committed to providing a comprehensive system for the exchange, incorporation, distribution, and retrieval of electronic health information, established these standards. Adoption of these standards has benefited clinical procedures as well as the administration, implementation, and assessment of healthcare.

Currently, over 1600 members from over 50 countries endorse HL7, including corporate members representing healthcare providers, government stakeholders, pharmaceutical companies, and consulting firms. Read about our recent project, The Locum app - revolutionary staffing platform for pharmacies and pharmacists.

Why Is HL7 Integration Needed In Healthcare?

Many healthcare providers use a variety of software and electronic systems to perform various activities such as billing, medical record maintenance, telehealth, and patient record updates.

The issue, however, is that communication between various software and systems is extremely difficult. As a result, HL7’s mandatory guidelines ensure that data can be easily incorporated through systems and without the use of special software.

By having a shared and common language in terms of content and structures for clinical classes, the importance and value of electronic health records (EHRs) can be maximised. Information can also be shared without ambiguity or fear of misinterpretation, allowing for better care delivery.

Furthermore, as data sharing becomes more convenient, the administrative and logistical burden on providers would be reduced. More information will be readily available, and clinical efficiency will increase, allowing medical practitioners to make better clinical decisions.


HL7 Integration By Using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

As useful as the HL7 standards are, traditional integration techniques are insufficient to meet the needs of modern healthcare providers. After all, as the industry and technologies evolve, medical professionals will need to accept non-clinical applications.

Mobile and SaaS applications have become increasingly intertwined with the online medical industry, but they use data formats that are unfamiliar to the majority of clinical systems. In order to seamlessly connect these radically different message standards, APIs must be used to scale these integrations.

Since APIs provide a standardized and public interface, any approved application with the proper security authentication may send and receive data. This enables fast and smooth communication between multiple systems and third-party applications. Businesses may also benefit from being able to send data to different government departments to meet public health reporting standards.

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Healthcare providers can also exchange patient health records with community care organizations and other third-party medical facilities in order to influence informed medical choices. Furthermore, a HL7 integration case study reveals that by reusing the same collection of APIs with these associated partners, it would be possible to cut the communication time by more than 50%.

Another benefit is that APIs provide an amazing opportunity for real-time interoperability by including methods for posting, updating, and retrieving complex data.


Uses For HL7 Integration Strategies

Automation Of Processes

Data exchange will become automated, which will reduce administrative burden while improving clinical performance.

Easier Service For Patients

Patients will be able to conveniently access their results and records online. They will also be relieved of the time-consuming process of transporting their documents from specialist to specialist.

EHR Management For Incoming Patients

HL7 integrated software systems will enable data transfer and storage, allowing healthcare providers to easily access the medical files of their incoming patients.

Exchange Of Information Between Healthcare Providers

Services will be able to exchange information in a consistent and streamlined manner, reducing delays, misinterpretations, and uncertainty.

Exchange Of Information With Regulators

To meet public health reporting standards, data can be conveniently and efficiently distributed to government agencies and regulators.

Reduce Investments In New Services And Programs

Healthcare providers will be able to continue using their current information systems by using HL7 as an interface engine, which would expand their systems’ life and ROI.

Reduce Risks And Errors

As HL7 is a set of formatting standards, there would be less ambiguity within health records, reducing the possibility for mistakes.

Save Time And Money

HL7 would simplify and accelerate data exchanges, reducing administration and operational time and costs.

Softermii’s CEO Takeaway

It’s clear by now that HL7 V2 standards for healthcare providers have had a significant impact.

It offers the guidelines required to assist software vendors and healthcare providers in properly storing and sharing data. It also ensures that data can be quickly shared through networks and written in a consistent manner. Therefore, it is valued for reducing administrative burden and improving care delivery.

However, in order to reap all of these benefits, healthcare systems would need proper HL7-FHIR-integration through web APIs. Without them, failure is inevitable.


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At Softermii, our dedicated team members have prior experience working in the healthcare sector and how to integrate HL7 data from EHR systems. We are committed to providing a fast, dependable, and scalable solution for the instant sharing of data. You can trust us to increase your access to healthcare information and assist you in integrating HL7 into your system.

Schedule a call with one of our experts and learn the best practices to integrate HL7 into your systems today.

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