As we embark on 2014, it is a good time to look back on one of the very successful OMG joint working relationships, notably the partnership that OMG has with Health Level Seven (HL7). Within the healthcare IT landscape, HL7 is among the most broadly recognized, and HL7 and OMG have been working together for almost a decade on joint standards activities under the umbrella of the Healthcare Services Specification Program (HSSP). In addition to thanking the contributors that have been a part of this productive and fruitful relationship, this is a perfect opportunity to highlight some of the work that has been happening under this effort.
Not in any particular order, the following are some of the milestones reflecting a tremendous amount of work and commitment from our Healthcare community:
- Recirculation/validation of the Identification Service standard
- Successful adoption of the hData Record Format specification
- Completion of the HL7 Common Terminology Services 2 (CTS2) Normative Specification
- Adoption of the HL7 Medication Statement Profile for RLUS, the first derivative specification based upon an HSSP standard
- Adoption of the [Healthcare and Community] Services Directory as an OMG Technical Specification
- Adoption of a series of Health eDecisions work based upon the HSSP Clinical Decision Support specifications
- Balloted and saw early adopters of the Cross-Paradigm Interoperability Project, a reference work based upon an immunization use case that was groundbreaking in bringing together multiple technologies and SDOs
- Provided second-tier support for the Care Coordination information models, a foundation that will be leveraged in the forthcoming Care Coordination Service
- Completed revisions to the CTS2 Technical Specification (RTF)
- Created a Platform Specific Model representation for JSON for CTS2
- Created a Semantic Technology Workshop/Information Day in conjunction with the OMG and the US Government Information Sharing Environment program (ISE)
- Conducted an e-Health Summit among major programs across Europe, along with an information day focused on shared challenges and opportunities in e-Health
In addition to the above milestones, there are many, many activities presently underway which we expect will appear on next year's accomplishments list. Work such as the Healthcare SOA Ontology, the Care Coordination Service, Ordering Service, Unified Communication Service, Publication/Subscription Service, Scheduling Service, Data Sensitivity and Tagging Service, the HSSP Runtime Platform, FHIR Accelerator Guides, and a host of other efforts are underway, and I expect they will begin to make a tremendous impact within and beyond the standards groups in which we work.
It merits mention that this year was one of transformation of our work, migrating significantly into a cooperative standards development approach with other workgroups largely taking content ownership of SOA specifications, with our work group providing the SOA sustainment, education, guidance, and assistance in those specifications. The result has been a set of standards that are increasingly finding their way into the mainstream. With the significant uptake of the HL7 FHIR efforts, the opportunities presented for 2014 are stronger than ever. There is broad agreement that work within each of those communities are complementary and collaboration will be mutually beneficial, and this will be both a focus and a highlight for the year to come.
Perhaps most importantly, the fruits of this labor are beginning to find their way into day-to-day patient care and the systems that support them. HSSP standards are increasingly being called out as compliance points for e-Health procurements, are in use in regional and national healthcare systems, are being included in off-the-shelf product offerings, and are affecting e-Health exchange intra- and inter- organizationally. When this journey started, the concept of SOA within health was quickly dismissed as being irrelevant, not viable, and not pertinent to solving healthcare needs. Time has proven those detractors wrong, and increasingly the solutions we offer are being viewed as pivotal components and elements of what is needed to take health and e-health to the next level.
For more information about HSSP, visit https://hssp.wikispaces.com.
Ken Rubin is the Chief Architect for HP Enterprise Services' Federal Healthcare Portfolio. His areas of expertise are health informatics, enterprise architecture, and healthcare integration architecture, where he has done work for the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Military Health System (now known as the Defense Health Agency), the UK National Health Service, and several other major health programs worldwide. In addition to the OMG, Mr. Rubin is active in Health Level Seven, Open Health Tools, the Open Source EHR Custodial Agent (OSEHRA), and HIMSS communities. Mr. Rubin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.