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Marketing Plan: Strategic Initiatives

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The positioning of the HL7 organization as well as the priotities when it comes to marketing can be determined by looking at the mission statement, and other strategic plans created by the organization.

For HL7 International the strategy/purpose of the organization can be derived from the following:"

  1. Vision statement
  2. Mission statement
  3. Strategic Initiatives

Vision Statement

HL7's vision is to create the best and most widely used standards in healthcare.

  • Comment: phrased from the viewpoint of HL7 itself - it doesn't identify a "need" by stakeholders as to why this vision is relevant to them.
  • Note: this vision isn't visible on the website. It should be listed under "About HL7"

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide standards for interoperability that improve care delivery, optimize workflow, reduce ambiguity and enhance knowledge transfer among all of our stakeholders, including healthcare providers, government agencies, the vendor community, fellow SDOs and patients. In all of our processes we exhibit timeliness, scientific rigor and technical expertise without compromising transparency, accountability, practicality, or our willingness to put the needs of our stakeholders first.

  • Comment: "our" stakeholders - rephrase not to use the word "our". A reader should be able to recognize if they are included or not, by using 'our stakeholders' we're forcing the reader to know things they don't - or they wouldn't be reading the mission statement.
  • Note: this mission statement isn't visible on the website. It should be listed under "About HL7"
  • Marketing analysis:
    • The first sentence clearly identifies the "need" (stakeholders have a need to improve care delivery, optimize workflow, reduce ambiguity and enhance knowledge transfer) as well as a product that satifies that need (standards for interoperability).
    • The second sentence talks about characteristics of the HL7 product.
      • Requirements based: Timeliness, practicality, putting the needs of stakeholders first. Stakeholders want to use standards for issues that are relevant to their context.
      • High Quality: scientific rigor and technical expertise. Stakeholders want to use quality standards that cover the current requirements and that are unlikely to change at some future point in time.
  • Note: transparency, accountability don't satisfy a direct stakeholder need. They (theoretically) enable a stakeholder to verify if the standard was created in a biased (e.g. context/realm/vendor) fashion, and as such it could be regarded as a statement of quality. They are a requirement in order to get international recognition of the standard; achieving international recognition may help to lower the barrier to adoption of a standard.

Strategic Initiatives (2011 version)

1.Lead the development of global technical and functional health informatics standards.

  • Description: Assume a leadership position in the development of global technical and functional health informatics standards for electronic health records, personal health records, health information exchange, and clinical data representation.
    • (Excerpt 1) timely development of relevant standards
    • (Excerpt 2) HL7 standards are advanced to international recognition, such that barriers to adoption across the globe are resolved.
  • Marketing analysis: the description is phrased from the viewpoint of HL7 itself - it doesn't identify a "need" by any of our stakeholders (standards users, standards creators) as to why this initiative is relevant to them.
    • On Excerpt 2: product charactistic (international recognition) to satisfy the need (notably by semi-governmental organizations) that they have to use (inter)national standards.

2.Streamline the HL7 standards development process.

  • Description: Optimize HL7 internal processes to more efficiently deliver global and realm-specific standards in response to new "customer" requirements.
  • Marketing analysis:
    1. Stakeholder "needs": Allows the standard-users to get hold of appropriate standards faster than before
    2. Stakeholder "needs": Allows standards-creators to create standards in a faster manner, thereby facilitating (1)
  • Suggests that HL7 has a product other than standards: an efficiently delivery process for standards

3.Facilitate HL7 standards adoption and implementation.

  • Description: Contribute (often in collaboration with other groups) solutions that make HL7 implementation easier.
  • (Excerpt 1) An education plan lays the HL7 strategy for dramatically increasing the number of folks with V3/CDA implementation-level knowledge. HL7 should be supporting the delivery of training - both training developed and provided by HL7, and that developed and provided by the market.
  • Marketing analysis:
    • Stakeholder "needs": standards that are easy to implement
    • On excerpt 1: education is regarded as a non-primary product.

4.Define an overarching and internally consistent interoperability framework.

  • Description: Maximize data reuse by ensuring consistency of representation across HL7 specifications.
  • Marketing analysis:
    1. Stakeholder "needs": standards-users: enables initiative 3, ease of implementation
    2. Stakeholder "needs": standards-creators: enables initiative 2, faster development of standards
  • Suggests a product characteristic: consistency between all HL7 standards

5.Ensure broad and encompassing stakeholder engagement in the standards development process.

  • Description: Ensure a clear process whereby stakeholders such as clinicians, technical experts, and policy makers can contribute to the development of HL7 standards.
  • Marketing analysis:
  • Stakeholder "needs": quality standards which cover current requirements and are unlikely to change

6.Align HL7's business and revenue models to be responsive to national bodies while supporting global standards development.

  • Description: Profiler-Enforcer organizations, most notably at national levels, have emerged as the largest (but not only) users of HL7 intellectual property and source of funds for standards development, standards tools, and standards implementation guides. HL7's governance, organizational structures, product strategy and revenue models (including IP rights and fees) must evolve to reflect this reality while retaining the fundamental principles of collaborative working and ANSI approved processes.
  • Marketing analysis:
  • Stakeholder "needs":
    1. (??) standards-developers(profiler enforcers) need a fee model that fits their business model
    2. very indirectly: in order to fund the creation process of standards (i.e. those standards needed by standards users - an identified "need") certain fee mechanisms will be forced upon standards-developers(profiler enforcers).


The website features the following text on the top-left hand corner of the main page:

  • Join HL7 International
    • Health Level Seven International (HL7) is the global authority on standards for interoperability of health information technology with members in over 55 countries.
    • By joining HL7, you gain access to our standards, and you help us to create the best and most widely used standards in healthcare.
  • Marketing anaylsis:
    • This seems to pitch "membership" as an HL7 product; and suggests that thru membership (i.e. your fee) that one contributes to the standards development process. Although true in and of itself, the sales pitch probably needs to be refocused.