I’ve spend two days of last week at HL7 UK conference, and it was worth it. It was nice to see what are the hot topics in the HL7 domain, and some topics seemed to be a real focus of interest from the community.
A couple of thoughts about the feel of things: first of all, CDA is getting stronger. People are more focused on CDA than any other method for messaging, and this is supported by NHS’s choice to use CDA for messaging. However, HL7 community may like to consider thinking about why people are so focused on CDA, when they have a huge amount of work channeled into building models based on the RIM. I mean, CDA has a more controlled environment of (kinda) its own, and that seems to take a lot of attention.
This was the conclusion I reached a couple of years ago, when I first started about how to implement the national project in Turkey, and I can see that more or less everyone is going towards the same direction now. I consider this as a signal for HL7 people all around the world to take a good look at the modeling practices and approaches people are taking. If people do prefer CDA due to its simplicity, than there is something wrong with the other parts of the work. In general, I have doubts about the modeling approach of HL7 V3, especially about the specialization practices in RIM based modeling. Throwing away attributes from parent as you descend from it, is not a good fit with the object oriented technologies, which will be a problem in case you want to reflect RIM to a JAVA ITS.
Work around the tooling efforts seem to go in a better direction, and the demo of the Eclipse based modeling solution was nice. I’l like to know how that will end up. I guess RIMBAA is another important initiative to follow, but in general I do not think I am happy with the offered solution. I somehow feel that it will bring more trouble than it eliminates, especially due to work that will be necessary for integration with the local system
Seeing OpenEHR discussed in the event was nice, and listening to Dipak Kalra was even nicer. HL7 is a messaging standard, that’s how it is defined, but what happens after the message arrives is another huge question. OpenEHR has answers for this question, and I guess it would be nice if HL7 domain would also consider the phases after successful messaging. There is more to write about the whole thing, especially about terminology and information models relationship, but that is another thing that deserves its own post.