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Phoenix WGM Report

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Representatives from 17 countries are present at the WGM. Two new Affiliates have been created: HL7 Chile and HL7 Sweden.

The Affiliates present at the meeting gave a status update about activities in their respective realms; Chuck Meyer presented the USA Realm activities. See Affiliate Reports for detailed reports from the affiliates.

The May 2007 WGM will be held in Berlin, Germany. The exact dates and location will be announced at a later point in time. The 2006 International HL7 Interoperability Conference (IHIC), which was formerly known as the "HL7 International Affiliates Meeting", will be held in Cologne, Germany on August 24-25, 2006. This will be contiguous with the Medical Informatics Europe (MIE) Conference, May 27-30, 2006 in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The interoperability meeting will be focused on standards implementation experiences, where WGMs focus on standard development.

Other highlights

  • The v3 Normative Edition will be published latest february of 2006. New normative content was created for the Master File/registry domain, Personell Management and CMETs.
  • Work is underway on V2/V3 mapping and capturing/developing best practice in migration between the two.
  • The Board is undertaking a Strategic Initiatives, funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to define long term goals and positioning for HL7. The outcomes will be a 3 year strategic plan and a 12-18 month implementation plan. The Initiative is considering HL7’s organization and processes, and its internal and external positioning. This is still work in progress. Supporting actions include establishing HL7 Global, with the USA as a member as for other international realms. However, existing Affiliates have highlighted potential threats to HL7 as an on-going force in global e-health standards if this results in the HL7 standards developed becoming fragmented.
  • Organization review/ballot fatigue – the evolution of V3 specifications has been positive in terms of engagement of implementation projects and proving the V3 methodology. Negative aspects have included difficulties in seeing the big picture (reviewing the entire V3 ballot package) and ensuring consistency between domains. The Organizational Review Committee has reviewed these issues and recommended:
    • Improved model design and descriptive text in ballot materials
    • Automated ballot change tracking – this requires toolset improvement, but an interim solution can include manual document highlighting
    • Visual presentation of ballot context status – eg normative/informative; ballot stage
    • Wide distribution of ballot progression (scheduling) information
    • Reinforcing the need for cross domain harmonization
    • Reducing the number of ballot cycles per year – business process review of HL7 ballot cycles suggests 6 months is needed from announcement to reconciliation, so migration to 2 cycles per year is being considered. A decision will be made in September 2006 whether the January 2007 ballot cycle should be dropped and move to a 2 cycles per year schedule. If January 2007 is dropped the 2 cycles per year approach will be evaluated in September 2007.
    • The board is also looking at speeding up ballot cycles, including via greater use of Draft Standards for Trial Use (DSTUs) as a means of getting standards out early for market testing.
  • Use of Wiki's by HL7 - On Tuesday evening a "Wiki Nite" was held to discuss the use of Wiki technology and other Collaborative Technologies by the HL7 community. The basic functionality of a Wiki was demonstrated.
    • This was followed by a discussion related to how the HL7 community currently uses the Wiki, and for what purposes a Wiki would be the most suitable technology. It was the consensus that any "dynamic content" that is potentially authored by multiple sources is a good candidate for the Wiki. Static content (e.g. a finalized text, finilized meeting minutes) is probably better at home in a document repository or the HL7 website.
    • Skype (the chat option thereof) was briefly discussed as an example of another technology which supports the colaborative process: during WGMs this is frequently used for brief communications between domain-experts that take part in seperate committee meetings. As such it supports cross-committee communications.

Comittee Reports

See Committee Reports for detailed reports from the individual SIGs/Comittees.

Liason reports

  • ISO TC215 Report (presented by the Chair of TC215) – ISO TC215 has published 24 health informatics standards and another 70 are under development. A Global Health Information Technology Summit was held in … and presentations are available on the HIMSS website. Follow up meetings will be held this week, but a strong theme is harmonization of standards and activities across international standards organizations.
    • At the Berlin ISO meeting, the decision was taken to develop a 3 part standard on data types. Part 1 will be a restatement of basic data types, but reformatted into a form more useful and standardized for healthcare. The same formats will be used for Parts 2 and 3. Part 1 has now been drafted. Parts 2 and 3 will both map to Part 1, but not necessarily to each other. Part 3 will be HL7 data types, and this can be produced quite readily. Part 2 is more problematic. It will comprise an amalgam of other data types emerging from a variety of jurisdictions and other sources, and will require significant and focused work to compile, reformat and negotiate. All three parts are needed simultaneously. All can be delivered in draft for discussion to the April 2006 ISO TC215 meeting, but only if financial resources can be provided to enable the development of Part 2.
  • CEN TC251 Report – the leadership and secretariat of TC251 has shifted from Sweden to the Netherlands. This has resulted in lag in updating TC51 site. The EN13606 Part 1 (Electronic Health Record Communication - Reference Model) ballot has closed with strong overall support, apart from Norway. An updated standard on Units of Measurement in Healthcare (EN12435) is about to be published but has already been recognized as defective and will be rapidly revised. For example, it does not provide for compatibility with HL7.