By Stephen Fitzmeyer, MD
HL7 (Health Level Seven) is a widely adopted standard in healthcare for exchanging information between various healthcare applications, such as electronic health record systems, laboratory information systems, and radiology information systems. The standard defines a set of rules and formats for the exchange of clinical and administrative data. In this article, we will explore the technicalities of HL7 and provide examples of how it can be used in healthcare.
HL7 is composed of several messages, each containing one or more segments. Segments are made up of fields, and fields can contain subfields. Each segment contains information about a specific aspect of a patient’s clinical or administrative data. The most common message types in HL7 are the ADT (Admit, Discharge, Transfer), ORM (Order), and ORU (Observation Result) messages.
For example, an ADT message might contain information about a patient’s admission to the hospital, including their demographic information, admission date and time, and the admitting physician’s name. An ORM message might contain information about a laboratory test order, including the test name, patient’s name, and date and time the test was ordered. An ORU message might contain information about the results of a laboratory test, including the test name, patient’s name, and the actual test results.
HL7 can be used in a variety of ways to exchange data between healthcare applications. For example, a laboratory information system might send an ORU message to an electronic health record system when the results of a laboratory test are ready. The electronic health record system can then display the results to the provider, allowing them to make informed decisions about the patient’s care.
Another example is the use of HL7 in medical billing. A hospital’s billing system might receive ADT messages from an electronic health record system when a patient is admitted, transferred, or discharged. The billing system can then use this information to generate a claim for payment from the patient’s insurance company.
In addition to facilitating data exchange between healthcare applications, HL7 can also be used to integrate clinical decision support systems (CDSS) into electronic health record systems. CDSS systems can analyze patient data and provide recommendations to providers, such as suggesting alternative medications or highlighting potential drug interactions. By integrating CDSS systems with electronic health record systems using HL7, providers can make more informed decisions and improve patient outcomes.
In conclusion, HL7 is a widely adopted standard in healthcare for exchanging clinical and administrative data between various healthcare applications. HL7 messages contain segments and fields that contain patient data, and there are several message types used for different purposes. HL7 can be used to exchange data between applications, integrate CDSS systems into electronic health record systems, and facilitate medical billing. By adopting HL7, healthcare providers can improve patient outcomes and streamline administrative processes.
Author: Stephen Fitzmeyer, M.D.
Founder of Patient Keto
Founder of Warp Core Health
Founder of Jax Code Academy, jaxcode.com
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