On the provider side of healthcare integration, HL7 (particularly v2) is a critical message type to understand. While it is standardized and heavily used by various EHRs/EMRs, it’s used in slightly different ways. There are efforts to further standardize and normalize its use across the board (such as with v3/FHIR), many EHRs and EMRs continue to use 2.x messages. Common HL7 messages include admissions/transfer/discharge (ADT), scheduling (SIU), lab orders and results (ORU, ORM), and medical reports (MDM). Choosing the right platform can be challenging.
Some of the challenges of HL7 2.x messages include:
The ability to add non-standard custom segments or additional data anywhere in the message (whether they are completely custom “Z Segments” or other segments that aren’t typically part of the message, such as IN1 segments in an ADT message to include additional insurance information).
A myriad of parsing and manipulation libraries…
Setting up an HL7 Solution
HL7 Accelerator Overview
As you might know, the BizTalk Accelerator for HL7 offers a great deal of enhanced messaging capabilities for the healthcare industry. Although it is offered as a separate download, it comes with the license of BizTalk. The nice part about it is that it offers all of the 2.x schemas, support for MLLP, messaging validation, batch processing, and support for advanced acknowledgments.
Steps for setting up an HL7 solution
1. First, you have to install the accelerator on BizTalk. This will install the HL7 adapters, HL7 pipelines (this is where most of the work is done), and project templates. As you might imagine, the project templates are the focus for this entry since this is all about setting up an HL7 solution.
The figure below shows all of the project templates installed through the installation process of…