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The Accelerator process at HL7

HL7® FHIR® Accelerator Program

Working within the HL7 processes can be intimidating for new organizations.  The FHIR Accelerator Program is designed to assist implementers across the health care spectrum understand and navigate the HL7 processes that must be followed to create FHIR Implementation Guides or other informative documents. The term "Accelerator" refers to accelerating the use of FHIR across the industry, not to fast-tracking or circumventing the HL7 process.

Generally speaking, HL7 processes are open, meaning that anyone who has an interest can participate (though not vote). Thus, most calls or events related to an Accelerator project should be open to anyone who wishes to participate. Many Accelerators have one or more decision-making bodies comprised of companies that fund the work of the Accelerator and make decisions about which projects or use cases will be undertaken by the Accelerator. These calls and meetings do not need to be open. To ensure that HL7's policies around openness are met, all relevant information about Accelerator projects should be publicly available on your Accelerator's Confluence page, including the days/times/dial-in information for conference calls or events such as Connectathons. Meeting minutes from conference calls should also be available on your Confluence page


Once you've signed the Accelerator agreement (SOU) and paid the startup fees, you will be introduced via email to your assigned HL7 Expert. Your HL7 Expert will provide a limited number of "Help Desk" support hours each month (outlined in our SOU) to assist you with understanding the various HL7 structures and processes and with getting your artifacts through the project approval and ballot processes. 

Standards development work at HL7 is based on projects. Typically,  there is a single Work Group (WG) that owns a given project. Within HL7,  projects are defined via the Project Scope Statement (PSS) and the WG owning the project will be identified as the Sponsoring WG. WGs have defined areas of focus, and thus the WG that will own your project(s) will be determined based on the description and scope of the project. Your HL7 Experts will assist you in determining which WG will sponsor your projects. In addition, your project may have impact on other WGs and therefore your HL7 Expert will identify any additional WGs that are impacted or that need to be informed. Once the sponsoring WG has been identified, work with your HL7 Expert to schedule a call with the WG co-chairs or at least send an email to them to advise them of projects that you are planning. Since WGs are not obliged to accept or prioritize your projects, doing this upfront work to introduce your Accelerator and your envisioned work to the affected co-chairs and WG should help create a positive working relationship.

All project scope statement are approved by multiple bodies within HL7, with the sponsoring work group being just the first level of approval.

When you see text FHIR Accelerator Home or HL7 confluence lets you jump to that page in confluence or web page. You will find many of these links in the documents on the FHIR Accelerator Pages.

Project Planning

Because projects drive the priorities of the WGs, it is important to understand the processes in place to manage projects. WGs plan conference calls as much as 1 to 4 weeks in advance. It will be important to get on an agenda for the sponsoring WG so that it can have preliminary approval of the project before any other steps are completed. Once this has been done, then scheduling time on co-sponsoring WGs can begin. One of the key issues will be to get the Sponsoring WGs approval of co-sponsoring WGs and what the role will be for those co-sponsoring WGs.

If your HL7 Expert has not already reach out, forward him/her an email identifying the key people on your staff and asking to set up a conference call. It will be helpful to have a 15-30 minute conference call to introduce your team members to the HL7 Expert. If you are already thinking about an HL7 FHIR Project, it would be helpful to share this information during this call. Your HL7 Expert is available to assist with creating and getting project scope statements approved, getting ballot comments resolved or with other HL7 process issues.

Next Steps

  1. Schedule an introductory call with your HL7 Expert.
  2. Go to How to Create a PSS from Template receive training on Project Scope Statement development.
  3. Create your HL7 Project Scope Statement 
  4. During your introductory call, your HL7 Accelerator will be able to assist with determining the Sponsoring Work Group (WG) for your Project as well as the co-sponsoring WGs.
  5. The Accelerator Project Checklist has the details of a project from start to publishing.
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