HL7-Definition V2

By | Published: November 7th, 2019

Hello HL7 community, we’ve decided to give the old HL7-Definition reference website its well-deserved retirement. We’re now proud to introduce the new and improved HL7-Definition V2 website.

We’ve been asking for your feedback for the last few months, and for a good reason :-). By popular demand, we’ve included some new features, including: 

More detailed specification descriptions
Standard HTTPS, removing the need to use custom ports
A more convenient and user-friendly search feature
Improved overall performance
Mobile friendly

Coming soon

Offline support
Message decoder – See field names in [...]

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HL7® Definition Reference

By | Published: August 18th, 2015

EDIT [2019-11-07]

Hello HL7 community, we’ve decided to give the old HL7-Definition reference website its well-deserved retirement. We’re now proud to introduce the new and improved HL7-Definition V2 website.

We’ve been asking for your feedback for the last few months, and for good reason. By popular demand, we’ve included some new features, including: 

More detailed specification descriptions
Standard HTTPS, removing the need to use custom ports
A more convenient and user-friendly search feature
Improved overall performance
Mobile support


Coming soon

Web-application installation
Message decoder and validator
FHIR specification support

Caristix is pleased [...]

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Categories : HL7 Data HL7 Interfacing

HL7® Specifications: The Basics

By | Published: February 25th, 2015

What is an HL7® specification?

HL7® specification standards

 No matter how many interfaces you are integrating, a critical step is the definition of your HL7® interface specifications.

A formal definition from HL7 International in the v2.5 standard definition states:

“An HL7® message profile (or HL7® specification) is an unambiguous specification of one or more standard HL7® messages that have been analyzed for a particular use case. It prescribes a set of precise constraints upon one or more standard HL7® messages.”

In other words, HL7® [...]

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5 key interface lifecycle concepts

By | Published: December 3rd, 2014

Last week, we talked about how you can do more with less by applying a lifecycle approach  to your interface and interoperability work. By managing the lifecycle (instead of developing via trial and error), you’re able to forecast timelines, resources, and costs with more accuracy – and better outcomes and margins.

Start by getting a firm grasp on the key interface lifecycle concepts behind interface lifecycle management. This post will give you a solid foundation.

HL7 requirements

You need requirements thinking to build [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

Interface lifecycle management: do more with less

By | Published: November 26th, 2014

Caristix White Paper: HL7 Integration: From Trial and Error to Predictable Project Outcomes and Margins

If you’re responsible for interfacing within a hospital system, a consulting organization, or an HIE, you know one thing: you need to do more with less. With EHR implementations slowing down, the big HIT implementation budgets are drying up. But so much of the promise and value of those systems is tied to interoperability and data exchange, and you’re still accountable for delivering those capabilities. [...]

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What the data in HL7® messages can tell you

By | Published: November 19th, 2014

You already know that HL7® messages are a rich source of actionable insight about your clinical and financial operations.

To get to that insight, start by inspecting, analyzing and querying your messages. You can do this manually via text editors and their basic search features. Or you can check out Caristix software.

Here are some HL7® message inspection and analysis tutorials to get you started using Caristix Pinpoint software. And get your data working for you.

Download Pinpoint

To use these tutorials, [...]

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Categories : HL7 Data HL7 Interfacing

Need HL7® message samples? Google isn’t the answer

By | Published: November 12th, 2014

HL7® message samples should be system-specific   

When you build interfaces, you need HL7® message samples and test messages for your validation workflow. It’s tempting to simply hit Google for generic samples, or check on Stack Overflow or another tech discussion forum. But there are problems with that approach.

For one thing, you’ll end up with messages that don’t fit your systems – your ADT, your LIS, the applications personalized for your environment. What’s more, if you use just a handful of messages, [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

HIEs and Interface Testing

By | Published: November 6th, 2014

Interoperability barriers and HIE business models

In a previous post, we talked about the interoperability barriers facing HIEs (healthcare information exchanges). What are they? Primarily 1) cost and 2) complexity. That is, the cost of interface development, and the technical difficulty involved. These are especially in context of the business model switch, as HIEs move from startup grant-based funding to self-generated revenue based on membership fees and services.

The problem is, self-generated revenue is tricky to achieve at best. In some cases, [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing Testing

Interfacing Capabilities and Costs

By | Published: October 8th, 2014

When you first start researching the interfacing capabilities of each engine vendor, you might be overwhelmed. If you’re in a startup, small company, or a hospital with fewer than 100 beds, get ready for sticker shock. Interfacing and integration don’t come cheap.

And if you’re in a bigger organization and you need a new engine, get ready for complexity and value propositions that may be overkill.

 This post will help you match your needs to the capabilities in the market. [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

What are HL7 requirements?

By | Published: September 17th, 2014

Requirements Thinking

What are HL7 requirements? First, in the world of software engineering, requirements refer to documented needs that an application or system must perform. Requirements are critical for both designing the software and verifying that it works. In the world of HL7 interfacing, requirements thinking is the right way to build an interface. The problem is, traditional HL7 requirements-gathering leaves serious gaps.

Traditional HL7 Requirements Approach

Key technique: manual analysis and pipe counting in message samples
Small data samples
Incomplete and/or outdated documentation

The result is [...]

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What is Reverse-Engineering?

By | Published: September 2nd, 2014

Why consider reverse-engineering? Lack of accurate specs

If you’ve worked on an interfacing team or for HIE, one of the issues you’ll hear about is a lack of accurate interface specifications. For instance, the vendor spec might be missing. Or the source or destination spec on hand might no longer match the production version.

So what do you do?

Lack of specs: what’s the impact on your ability to deliver?

Well, you might be facing weeks of digging and research. You’re missing a lot [...]

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Categories : HL7 Data HL7 Interfacing

What is Gap Analysis in HL7 Interfacing?

By | Published: August 4th, 2014

First, what’s the problem?

One of the problems we hear about from HL7 team leads and their management is that interfaces take a long time to configure. The reasons why boil down to missing information. Here’s what they typically hear back from the team members:

“The fields need fine-tuning.”

“We don’t know up-front which message types will need the most work.”

“That field mapping was a bear because we couldn’t get a complete code set from the source and destination systems.”

“These code sets have [...]

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HIEs, Business Models, and Interfacing

By | Published: July 29th, 2014

Healthcare Information Exchange Types

There are three basic types of healthcare information exchanges (HIEs): some cover a geographic region (for instance, NCHIE in North Carolina), others a community; and yet others that cover a single hospital system (which in turn may be spread out geographically – for instance, Catholic Health Initiatives).

HIE Business Models: Grants vs. Revenue Generation

While some regional and community HIEs got their start via government grants, many of those grants are coming to their end. Even though they might [...]

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HL7 Interface Testing Checklist

By | Published: July 8th, 2014

Over the past few weeks, we’ve reviewed multiple HL7 testing topics. So you know how critical it is to test interfaces during interface configuration, the validation phase, and during maintenance.   This HL7 interface testing checklist will help you design a testing process that covers your most important needs. And if you already have a testing process in place, it will help you identify any areas of concern.

1. We’re running tests to make sure we’re not injecting errors during interface development, [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing Testing

What is an HL7 Profile?

By | Published: June 17th, 2014

We get this question a lot. Over the past few years, we’ve come up with a few answers. Let’s bring this full circle into 3 simple bullet points:

A profile captures an interface specification. So profile = spec.
Some people use the terms profile, spec, and specification interchangeably.
Why build a profile? So that you save time building an interface and getting it into production.

Why build an HL7 profile?

The profile or spec also gives you interface documentation you can share with your team [...]

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Interfacing Management Maturity Model: Part 2

By | Published: May 27th, 2014

9 Diagnostic Questions: Interfacing Management Maturity Model

Last week, we introduced a maturity model for interfacing management. We explained how organizations progress through 3 distinct stages: Manual, Message, and  System.

This week, we’ll cover key diagnostic questions. These 9 questions will help you determine which stage you’re in and whether you should consider moving to the next stage.

1. How many sample messages are you using when scoping?

This gives you an idea of which stage you’re at. A handful of messages and you’re [...]

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Interface Gap Analysis: 3 Reasons Why You Can’t Skip It

By | Published: May 23rd, 2014

Tip 11 in the Interoperability Tip Series

Last week, you learned about doing a gap analysis – mapping differences  between the systems you’re interfacing. Today, we’ll cover why you need this artifact.

1. Interface Requirements

No interface matters unless those coding the engine can accurately scope the interfaces they need to build. You need a way to communicate who does what on an interface. Is the vendor changing a field? Is the interface engine handling the field transformation? It’s critical that you pin [...]

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Introducing an Interfacing Management Maturity Model

By | Published: May 20th, 2014

It’s clear that the needs around interfacing and integration are exploding. To match that need, Caristix is introducing an interfacing management maturity model. If you’re reading this, you know that there is a lot of implementation expertise available from analysts, developers, and consultants. But at the organization level, capabilities vary. Many organizations are seeking benchmarks to see where and how they can grow and adapt to meet their needs. That’s where our model can help.

This interfacing management maturity model is [...]

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What is One-Hour Interoperability?

By | Published: April 15th, 2014

The Status Quo

This is the world interface analysts, developers, and quality testers work in:

2 weeks to get a list of code values for a single field
1 week to get a list of custom field formats like lab order codes
20 hours to code a schema in an engine from a spec in Excel
9 days on gap analysis
30 days to test a 10-minute code change
8 versions of a spec before it’s baked enough for development

Productivity with Caristix

With our software, especially with the [...]

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Workgroup Software Demo Webinar: Part 6

By | Published: April 8th, 2014

A 16-minute Introduction to Caristix Workgroup: Part Six

We’re wrapping up our Introduction to Workgroup with Part 6 (1:30 minutes) We designed this demo webinar to give you a bird’s-eye view of Workgroup software. And we’ve covered a lot in a short 16 minutes, demonstrating just how comprehensive Workgroup truly is.

In the wrap-up, you’ll learn:

the key business reason why analysts and developers need more than ad-hoc tools to deliver interoperability
what enables better customer collaboration
why Workgroup

We’re open to any and all feedback [...]

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Workgroup Software Demo Webinar: Part 5

By | Published: April 1st, 2014

A 16-minute Introduction to Caristix Workgroup: Part Five

When you work with patient data, you need to be vigilant about protecting privacy. Caristix Workgroup software covers the critical concern of removing PHI from HL7 data. The de-identification capabilities in Workgroup let you remove protected health information from production data and replace patient names, identifiers, and related data with either blanks or dummy data. This means the message flow looks and acts like realistic data with all customizations, Z-segments, and non-standard field [...]

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Workgroup Software Demo Webinar: Part 4

By | Published: March 25th, 2014

A 16-minute Introduction to Caristix Workgroup: Part Four

Ready for the next piece of our 16-minute webinar on Caristix Workgroup? Learn what Workgroup can do for you and your team to prevent costly project reworks and delays. Save time and dollars by removing the major bottleneck that testing often becomes.

In Part 4 (2 minutes), you’ll learn:

 All about using your workflow to drive validation
How to generate hundreds of test messages automatically
How one-step setup can save hours of testing time

Missed the first three [...]

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Workgroup Software Demo Webinar: Part 3

By | Published: March 18th, 2014

A 16-minute Introduction to Caristix Workgroup: Part Three

Not much time? That’s why we’re offering our 16-minute webinar on Caristix Workgroup Software in small easy-to-consume pieces for quick viewing.

In Part 3 (3 minutes), we introduce you to:

The documentation strengths of Caristix Workgroup software
Automatic Gap Analysis, for easy mapping table creation

In case you missed the first two parts:

In Part 1  (4-minutes), we introduced you to Workgroup , what exactly it is and why and who we designed it for.

In Part 2 (4-minutes), [...]

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Workgroup Software Demo Webinar Part 2

By | Published: March 11th, 2014

A 16-minute Introduction to Caristix Workgroup: Part Two

We know you’re busy. That’s why we’re offering our 16-minute webinar on Caristix Workgroup Software in bite-sized pieces for quick consumption.

In Part 1 (4-minutes), we introduced you to Workgroup, what exactly it is and why and who we designed it for.

In Part 2 (4-minutes) of the Introduction to Workgroup Webinar, we take a deeper dive into Workgroup functionality. You’ll see:

 Scoping – why it’s the most important phase
 How to reduce the time needed for [...]

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Workgroup Software Demo Webinar

By | Published: March 5th, 2014

A 16- minute Introduction to Caristix Workgroup Software

We’ve just developed a quick on-demand webinar that gives you the opportunity to take a bird’s-eye view of Caristix Workgroup software. See just what Workgroup can do for you and your specific teams and their projects.

No time for a full 60-minute webinar? Is 30 minutes too much? We get how busy interfacing team members are. That’s why made this a 16-minute Webinar.

In 16 minutes, you’ll learn what Workgroup is and what it can [...]

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Cutting Interface Costs, Continued

By | Published: January 22nd, 2014

A sneak peek at new Caristix technology

A few weeks ago, we published an article on the cost of interfaces. We’ve also ranted a little, and you — readers here, on LinkedIn, and elsewhere — responded with a great discussion. A big area where interfaces cost way too much: migrating from a legacy interface engine to newer engine technology.

Imagine what you could do if you could remove the manual work.

Well, we’re putting our money where our mouth is. We’re developing a [...]

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HIStalk Interviews Caristix CEO Stéphane Vigot

By | Published: November 21st, 2013

Here’s how it starts:

Are HL7 interfaces becoming more important or less important with the push for interoperability and the popularity of integrated hospital systems?

HL7 interfaces are becoming more important than ever. Interoperability matters because information has to flow in order to improve patient outcomes, reduce error, reduce costs, and remove duplicate testing. Despite the popularity of integrated systems, much of the data in hospitals, physician practices, and other organizations is still siloed.

ICD-10 computer-assisted coding systems need interfaces. HIEs rely on [...]

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An Innovation Rant

By | Published: November 19th, 2013

Does innovation start with standards?

With interfacing and interoperability, there’s an unspoken assumption that innovation starts with standards. It seems like we wait for standards organizations, industry associations, and government edict to point the way. Someday, somehow, They will give us The Rules to make interoperability happen.

Instead of waiting, what if we, as vendors and providers, stepped in?

This is an amazing competitive opportunity for vendors and consultant that step in now. Today, the hourly rate business model is the bread and [...]

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Interfacing Costs, Ikea, and Physician Practices

By | Published: October 29th, 2013

“Interfacing costs? They’re too high.”

We hear that a lot. The cost is frustrating, especially to physicians who need to implement EMRs for Meaningful Use. First there are the license fees. Then you find out you need an interface. Or two. Or six. That number can expand with the interoperability requirements in Meaningful Use Stage 2.

Software Packages vs. Software Programs

Here’s why I think interfacing costs are frustrating. After 30 years of PC use and now BYOD smartphones and tablets, we’re used [...]

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Why Should You Care About Gap Analysis?

By | Published: October 15th, 2013

Meaningful Use, the changeover to ICD-10, the 2013 HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule, among other drivers, makes it clear that integration is an essential, critical process. How do hospital CIOs and healthcare information exchange (HIE) leaders find cost-effective ways to develop the HL7 interfacing that underlies such critical integration projects?

No matter what the bells and whistles of an integration engine or integration technology, if you cannot accurately scope the interfaces that need to be built, you’ll find yourself behind the eight [...]

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99 Reasons Why Interfacing is Challenging

By | Published: September 17th, 2013

What is Your Biggest Interfacing Challenge?

To gain insight into the issues our users are facing, there is one key question we ask when a reader downloads a Caristix software trial, white paper, or article: what is your biggest interfacing challenge?

Here are 99 of them.

1. Working as a third party to large health systems and independent physician practices.2. Communication.3. Health information management.4. Custom work.5. Ask on Entry (AOE) prompt question validation at the ordering facility.6. Compatibility between several different platforms; convince [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

Validation Tasks During the Interface Lifecycle

By | Published: September 3rd, 2013

How to Handle Break-Fix Issues

During the validation phase of the interface lifecycle, you’re running tests. Here’s more on testing: test scenarios and test systems as well as message samples and test messages.  One other thing you may be doing is break-fix work. With break-fix work, you’re looking to solve very specific issues. And you need to get the answers quickly, share the information right away, or fix the interface yourself.

There are many ways to go about doing this. Some people go [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing Testing

Caristix Message Player Software Now Available

By | Published: February 18th, 2013

No-brainer Message Player buttons

Message Player, our free HL7 listener/router utility designed for HIT software developers, interface developers, and interface analysts, is now out.

You might have seen other HL7 listeners and routers out there. What makes Message Player different is that it’s dead-easy to use. There are no bells and whistles. It’s independent of other software and engines, so once you’ve downloaded the installation package, you can run it on a desktop machine and get going quickly.

Why Use Message Player

first [...]

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Caristix Reader Beta Shipped This Week

By | Published: August 19th, 2011

We’ve shipped our latest software to beta testers. And we’ve given the product a name: Caristix Reader. Like Adobe Reader, it’s free.

Looking for more info on the beta and Caristix Reader? Here’s a stack of FAQs from our on-boarding calls with beta testers.

What does it do? In a nutshell, Caristix Reader “reads” HL7 interface specifications:

Reverse-engineer an interface profile or specification from a stack of HL7 messages.
Navigate the profile, and edit it. Consult it whenever.
Send a profile to a colleague or [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

What if HL7 interface specifications were easy to document?

By | Published: November 23rd, 2010

Some organizations call them HL7 conformance profiles, others call them HL7 interface specifications. They’re all talking about a description of the data format used for exchange between systems within a care facility.

The terminology might not be consistent, but the challenge is: documentation. How do you document conformance profiles so that the description is up-to-date and trustable?

3 HL7 Documentation Issues
1. Creation is Time Consuming

Documenting an HL7 specification requires a fair amount of effort. Applications exchanging data through the HL7 standard usually [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

HL7 Interface Conformance Profile Template

By | Published: September 14th, 2010

I recently had a discussion with some of our partners around conformance profiles and templates. Collectively, we haven’t come across an industry-standard template. Some organizations build their own. Others decide to go without because templates can take time and effort to set up. We think a conformance profile should help you clearly and concisely communicate what your system expects in terms of data exchange. In healthcare, this isn’t a trivial task. Learn more about conformance profiles in healthcare, which we [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

What is an HL7 Conformance Profile?

By | Published: September 9th, 2010


Let’s start with the formal definition, introduced by the HL7 organization in the v2.5 specification. Here is an excerpt from section 2.12:

Definition: An HL7 message profile is an unambiguous specification of one or more standard HL7 messages that have been analyzed for a particular use case. It prescribes a set of precise constraints upon one or more standard HL7 messages.

In other words, this is a description of the data and messages that an interface sends and/or receives. The description covers [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

4 Tips for Smoother HL7 Interface Validation

By | Published: August 17th, 2010

What can you do to improve the HL7 interface validation process on your next implementation project?

I was on-site at a hospital where a vendor was doing a product upgrade. The vendor and the hospital IT team were both committed to getting it done right, so the 2-week interface validation was thorough. That investment pays off. The upfront work pays off down the line in reduced help desk wait time and service calls.

Based on this experience, here are 4 tips to [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

Gap Analysis in HL7 Interface Deployment, Part 2

By | Published: August 3rd, 2010

In Part 1 of this series on HL7 gap analysis, I covered the need to identify gaps before starting to configure an interface, and explained why gaps happen. Today, I’m going to talk about gap analysis steps and the limitations you need to plan for.

Gap Analysis Steps 1. Obtain vendor conformance profile. Vendor analysts start out with an HL7 conformance profile for the product they’re deploying. The profile documents the specific trigger events and segments used by the application. It [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

Gap Analysis in HL7 Interface Deployment, Part 1

By | Published: July 27th, 2010

Nine times out of ten when a hospital deploys a new software system, the new system will need to exchange data with existing information systems in order to deliver on expected value. Even with fully integrated vendors like Epic and others, hospitals still have data from flowsheets from monitoring systems and medical devices to pull in through an interface.

Many vendors provide connectivity libraries and most hospital deploy interface engines to cope with connectivity and interfacing issues. But before they can [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing