HL - 7
Health Level Seven is a Standards Developing Organization (SDO) operating in the healthcare arena.
It is one of several SDO’s accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Most SDOs produce standards or protocols for a particular healthcare domain such as pharmacy,medical devices, imaging or insurance (claims processing) transactions.
Health Level Seven’s domain is clinical and administrative data and their mission is to:
'To provide standards for the exchange, management and integration of data that support clinical patient care and the management, delivery and evaluation of healthcare services. Specifically,to create flexible, cost effective approaches, standards, guidelines, methodologies, and related services for interoperability between healthcare information systems.'
What Does the ‘HL7’Mean
"Health Level Seven" refers to the highest level of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) communications model for Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) - the application level.
- The application level addresses
- Definition of the data to be exchanged,
- The timing of the interchange, and
- The communication of certain errors to the application.
- Security checks,
- Participant identification,
- Availability checks,
- Exchange mechanism negotiations and, most importantly,
- Data exchange structuring.
Why HL7 ?
There are several health care standards development efforts currently underway throughout the world. Why then, embrace HL7?
HL7 is singular as it focuses on the interface requirements of the entire health care organization, while most other efforts focus onthe requirements of a particular department.
Moreover, on an ongoing basis, HL7 develops a set of protocols on the fastest possible track that is both responsive and responsible to itsmembers. The group addresses the unique requirements of already installed hospital and departmental systems, some of which use mature technologies.
While HL7 focuses on addressing immediateneeds, the group continues to dedicate its efforts to ensuring concurrence with other United States and International standards development activities.
Argentina, Australia, Canada, China,Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Southern Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom are part of HL7 initiatives.
Moreover, HL7 is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved Standards Developing Organization (SDO). HL7 strives to identify and support the diverse requirements of each of its membership constituencies: Users, Vendors, and Consultants.
Cognizant of their needs, requirements, priorities and interests, HL7 supports all groups as they make important contributions to the quality of the organization. The committee structure, balanced balloting procedures and open membership policies ensure that all requirements are addressed uniformly and equitably with quality and consistency.
HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a set of rules to be followed by health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.
HIPAA took effect on April 14, 2003. Key provisions include:
- Patients must be able to access their record and correct errors.
- Patients must be informed of how their personal information will be used.
- Patient information can only be shared if needed to treat the patient. In particular, it cannot be used for marketing purposes without their explicit consent.
- Patients can ask their health plans and providers to take reasonable steps to ensure that their communications with the patient are confidential.For instance, a patient can ask to be called on his work number, instead of home or cell phone number.
- Patients can file formal privacy- related complaints to the Office for Civil Rights.
- Health plans or providers must document their privacy procedures, but they have a lot of freedom on what to include in their privacy procedure.
- Health plans or providers must designate a privacy officer and train their employees.
- Health plans and providers must use standard formats for electronic data interchange, such as electronic claims submission EDI.