According to Statista, there are nearly 6.378 billion smartphone users in the world which means 80.76% of the world’s population owns smartphones. Technology is rapidly getting into everything which is why wherever people go, they keep their phones with them. Moreover, they also keep apps on those phones related to entailment, education, and health. This is why healthcare units have started using digital forms to facilitate their users and staff on data management. And to do the data storing, processing, and sharing they follow HL7 standards in their patient health record software.
It is obvious that the application development and usage require a compliant framework and HL7 provides such type of framework. Standard organization, and Health Level Seven International supported and developed these standards. For you to understand HL7 more clearly, we have discussed in detail what it is, who and why it is used, besides its benefits.
What are the HL7 Standards?
HL7 is a document designed by consensus to provide rules, guidelines, characteristics for activities and their results to serve as a standard. It comprises a set of international health standards for the transfer of both clinical and administrative data between various software applications. To describe it more plainly let's observe an example. Take all hospital information systems as independent states that communicate with each other by sending diplomatic notes, each in their own language. How would one understand the other? There is no unified structure and language for these notes. This was the situation in many medical facilities before HL7 integration. Hence, HL7 was designed to address this communication issue by improving the content of clinical data and providing the necessary structure.
After the development of HL7, the entire cycle of collecting, interpreting, and exchanging medical information became efficient and error-free. Healthcare units started sharing diagnoses and lab results across EHRs. Also, it helped doctors to quickly access medical histories and made nurses able to monitor planned procedures.
Who Uses HL7 and Why They Use it?
Government healthcare units, hospitals, patient health record software providers, electronic health record vendors, laboratories, private clinics, pharmaceutical companies, and other medical facilities use HL7 guidelines. They use these standards to manage their data more efficiently. The most common individual users of HL7 are:
Clinical Interface Specialists:
These are the individuals that are entrusted with moving clinical information. They develop tools to transfer such information and clinical applications that other systems require. Furthermore, these users are also responsible for moving clinical information between applications or healthcare providers. And during any of these transfers, they use HL7 standards protocols.
Government Healthcare Facilities:
It includes people that hope to share information across numerous elements or in future information movements. Furthermore, these individuals also hope to move clinical information in another space that isn’t covered by current interfaces and have the ability to embrace or mandate a messaging standard.
It involves people that work inside the field of health informatics. You can define health informatics as the study of the rationale of medical services and how clinical information is created. Furthermore, these individuals try to embrace or make a clinical Ontology as well as the workflow.
Benefits of HL7 Standard:
HL7 offers a structured approach to build fully integrated healthcare applications. It does so by defining the underlying data structure for storing and interchanging healthcare data. It does the same for healthcare as the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards did for commercial data.
Furthermore, these standards explain how you should package data for communication purposes between HL7 compliant applications. It facilitates the data transfer across a variety of stakeholders like centralized healthcare data repositories, electronic health record vendors, mass healthcare installations, including hospitals, and specialized clinical experts.
Facilitates the Process of Making Medical Decisions:
Health professionals are always in a hurry and they need to act fast, especially in emergency situations. Critical information related to the patient’s previous health history, allergies, the medications they’re currently taking, and treatment history need to be available immediately. And HL7 data integration plays a great role in this regard. This information can dramatically speed up the decision-making process because it removes inconsistencies in data formats and minimizes delays in queries between systems.
Ensures Data Uniformity Across the Infrastructure:
Developers usually use diverse data formats and transmission protocols to develop IT systems. Some of these protocols have built-in data interpreters, but the majority lack this functionality and require time-consuming manual input. Hence, by adhering to the HL7 standards, medical organizations can achieve complete compatibility across all their data exchange practices. Medical facilities can seamlessly collect and process patient information from admission and diagnosis to treatment and medical billing. It involves people that work inside the field of health informatics. You can define health informatics as the study of the rationale of medical services and how clinical information is created. Furthermore, these individuals try to embrace or make a clinical Ontology as well as the workflow.