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A deep dive into HL7

We attended several tutorial sessions and work group meetings today. My first session was on Vocabulary. The three and a half hour long session was very compact in terms of all the topics it covered. It started with an overview of terminologies, value sets, concepts and commonly used vocabularies in health care. Vocabulary is said to be the single most important component for interoperability as without standardization of terminologies, comparing health data, aggregating, interchanging data between health systems, secondary usage for research purpose and linking with decision support resources are not possible. For a computer program it is really difficult to aggregate and compare among myocardial infarction, cardiac infarction, heart attack, infarction of heart and myocardial infarct. But when all of these refer to one single Concept ID (e.g. 22298006), it gets pretty straight forward. The later half of the session covered detailed discussion on SNOMED CT, LOINC, UCUM and some other terminologies. Thanks to Ted Klein for conducting such an informative session.

The second session was on HL7 version 2. The main focus of this session was order and observation. It covered the syntax and semantics of different types of order message like general order, clinical order, laboratory order, imaging order, dietary order, pharmacy/treatment order etc.   The sessions was particularly interesting because of having participants from all over the world sharing their interests and challenges for achieving interoperability in health care. I am sure it will get even more fun tomorrow.

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