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New and noteworthy updates about standards development, tooling, infrastructure, and process improvement activities at HL7. General updates are curated in the HL7 Newsroom and on our blog The Standard.

The essence of HL7 is a vibrant and well-orchestrated global community. Your participation is the fuel for our collective progress, and during the Working Group Meeting, it's a delight to reflect on our advancements so far in 2022. We continue learning and iteratively improving how we can best work together to create world class standards.

Year to Date Progress: Standards Development

Already this year we have published 19 new specification versions.

We celebrate these publications because they reflect the our community's ongoing pursuit to advance interoperability across the breadth of health information stakeholders. And just around the corner are a couple of much-anticipated specifications too, including FHIR R4B, FHIR US Core 5.0.0, and the C-CDA Companion Guide Release 3.

As you well know, getting to publication takes significant effort. The essential work of receiving and resolving comments from the community is the beauty (and pain) of creating consensus-driven standards. This chart shows the cumulative number of submitted issues that we have resolved since the beginning of the year.

The total number of resolved issues across all of our specifications is now more than 2500 for the year!

HL7 Informatics Internship

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new HL7 International Informatics Internship program. The 12-16 week program is co-led by me and Viet Nguyen , and designed for informatics trainees who have completed at least one year of academic coursework. This year, the internship will focus specifically on synthesizing best practices for using standard terminologies within HL7’s specifications. 

From HL7’s perspective, we see the strategic objectives of the internship to:

  1. Develop an initial internship model and processes that can serve as a framework for expansion
  2. Improve pressing, multi-factor organizational needs (in this year's case: best practices in use of terminology within HL7 standards)
  3. Provide a “behind the scenes” look at consensus health IT standards development for early career/in training informaticians as a technique for growing the profession’s next generation

From the perspective of the trainee, the internship offers significant personal and professional growth opportunities, including:

  1. Understand the processes by which global health IT standards are created
  2. Develop competence in using controlled terminologies within prevailing exchange standards
  3. Synthesize disparate processes, perspectives, and information resources into an action plan for a global informatics community

If you know an outstanding informatics trainee, please encourage them to apply! Hurry, the application deadline is May 13, 2022. We've received a significant amount of interest so far, so the top applicant will need a compelling application!

Infrastructure Developments

We've continued making investments in our tools to support the community ecosystem. Here are a couple of highlights from recent updates.

stats.hl7.org

We're please to share that we now have a consolidated monitoring dashboard for all of the key services and resources that the HL7 community relies on. Wondering if tx.fhir.org is down for an update or if there's an issue with Jira? Check here first.

validator.fhir.org

This site provides a web-based interface for doing validation checks on FHIR data. You can easily paste in a FHIR resource (or upload it from a FHIR server) and the app will execute the FHIR Validator software. You can review any warnings or errors from the validation tests right in your browser. Check it out!

registry.fhir.org

The FHIR Packages Registry is a comprehensive catalog of packages (collections of FHIR resources) from FHIR Implementation Guides. The FHIR Packages Registry was recently updated to enable searching and filtering by realm.

projectlifedashboard.hl7.org

Our newest project is a dashboard for tracking specifications through their lifecycle. With support from the ONC, this project is being developed first as a prototype that's now live. The super exciting part is that underneath the clean design is a modern open source content management system (Wordpress) with API functionality that will serve as the basis for a major hl7.org platform revamp we're planing for the future. Stay tuned!

Fonteva Association Management Software

And as you've heard, HL7 HQ is pushing hard to complete the first phase of our new Association Management Software (AMS) called Fonteva. The AMS system is like the nervous system for running the organization, so this is a significant project that will have tremendous downstream benefits. We're gearing up for managing the membership information and event registration for our September Working Group Meeting on this new platform.

Seamless Interplay between Standards Development and Standards Implementation

The entire HL7 leadership team continues working towards the vision for a tightly coordinated set of standards development and standards implementation activities that are part of a virtuous cycle. Viet Nguyen , Diego Kaminker , and I are collaborating closely on how our new Division's efforts to support the HL7 implementer community will also enhance and extend our standards development work.

To illustrate how these development and implementation activities are mutually beneficial, consider this image that depicts various phases a project may go through.

In this image, the blue colored activities indicate those with greater standards implementation activity, the mustard yellow colored activities are those primarily about standards development, and the green colored phases are those with shared standards development and implementation involvement.

Working together, the feedback from these interacting activities helps create standards that are best suited for meeting the evolving needs of the health community. At the same time, we're working to provide the resources and services that help scale and spread the use of our specifications through the ecosystem. 

With time, this interplay will become an integral part of how we operate here within HL7.

We look forward to working with all of you, as together we create the HL7 we want to become for the future. 

Yikes!  Mid-summer already and once again your friendly CTO has dropped the ball on keeping you updated on all that's happening.  Which is not to say that there's nothing to talk about.  Here are a few key points - with more to come in coming weeks at webinars and eNews (I really mean it this time):

  • Unified Terminology Governance (UTG) continues to be the prime directive.  The UTG process has now replaced harmonization, and while training materials are being developed, debugging continues, and content continues to be updated and improved at terminology.hl7.org, we have turned the corner so that the vast terminology resources of HL7 are now visible and available to support all of our standards development activities.  Check out the excellent UTG webinar to learn more!
  • Oniine PSS Workflow - the task force is nearly ready to unveil a new, streamlined form and process with concurrent reviews and a simpler approval process.  We can expect some hiccups as we rollout, as usual, but I think we're all ready to make the transition to help us get projects started with much less effort and delay in Fall 2020.
  • We're soon to unveil a new Confluence page to record a running log of leadership decisions and process and tooling changes, similar to the Standups page
  • Josh has set up a new system to store documents that will link to Confluence pages, but allow us to keep space-consuming presentations, pdf and Word files in a separate document repository.  This will keep Confluence performance up and ensure easy access to Workgroup documents - and allow us to archive key documents still posted in the documents tab for WG pages at hl7.org.  You'll learn more about this soon.
  • We'll be setting up a demo of the new, improved FHIR Registry with advanced search features for FHIR IGs and profiles before the WGM.  Stay tuned for details.

As you can see, many things are in progress, with more to come.   Stay tuned for further details as we move closer to the September WGM.

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