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Principles for Profiling Healthcare Data Communication Standards



Robert D. Snelick


Healthcare organizations often have many proprietary heterogeneous information systems that must exchange data reliably. Seamlessly sharing information among systems is complex. The widely adopted HL7 version 2 messaging standard has helped the process of systems integration. However, using the HL7 standard alone does not ensure system interoperability. The HL7 standard offers a wide range of options. Trading partners, without prior agreement, are not likely to implement options that are compatible. As a result, interoperability is hindered and organizations are left to employ their own ad hoc solutions. Message profiles provide a solution to this problem. Message profiles define a standard template that provides a precise definition of the data exchanged between applications in a common format. Defining a set of message profiles for controlling message exchanges establishes a well-defined communications interface among organizations and facilitates interoperability. However in order to be effective, message profiles must be designed and applied correctly. Additionally, with efficient design, a family of message profiles can be developed which leverage existing message profile components. Such a strategy is employed in the development the United States EHR certification family of standards for laboratory ordering and results reporting. This paper presents a methodology and best practices for designing a set of related message profiles. Although the methodology is applied to the healthcare messaging standards it has broad applicability for the class of communication standards.
Proceedings Title
SERP'13 - The 2013 International Conference on Software Engineering Research and Practice
Conference Dates
July 22-25, 2013
Conference Location
Las Vegas, NV


Conformance, Communication Standards, Interoperability, Message Profiles, Messaging Systems


Snelick, R. (2013), Principles for Profiling Healthcare Data Communication Standards, SERP'13 - The 2013 International Conference on Software Engineering Research and Practice, Las Vegas, NV (Accessed February 23, 2024)
Created July 22, 2013, Updated February 19, 2017