HL7 Health Information Standard Will Be Free in 2013

HL7 Makes Standards Free

Health Level Seven International (HL7) is a nonprofit, ANSI-accredited standards development organization founded in 1987. The organization is dedicated to providing  framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information. The organization collaborates with other standards developers and provider, payer, philanthropic and government agencies to ensure continued development of standards and interoperability efforts.

Last week HL7 announced its decision to make much of its intellectual property, including standards, freely available under licensing terms. The press release issued said this was a “landmark decision represents HL7’s commitment to the betterment of healthcare worldwide by ensuring that all stakeholders have equal access to its HIT standards.” The new policy is scheduled for first quarter of 2013.

HL7 is a series of standards and guidelines that enable hospitals to exchange medical information. HL7 is also promoted through Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), an international initiative by healthcare professionals to improve the way computer systems share information.

“”This announcement is the most significant standards development in the past decade, said John Halamka, MD, MS, Chief Information Officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “It ensures that every stakeholder will have ready access to the content standards they need for Meaningful Use. Enormous thanks to everyone who worked on this effort.”

The volunteer-created standards and other select pieces of intellectual property will be made available to the healthcare community after a period of analysis and planning by HL7. Between now and 2013 HL7’s traditional membership model, which includes access to use HL7 standards, will be in effect. Following completion of this period of analysis, HL7 expects to transition to a model in which use of HL7 standards and select intellectual property is independent of its membership.

Visit HL7 website for more information.