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Product SAIF

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Product Brief - Services-Aware Interoperability Framework


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Product Name

HL7 Services-Aware Interoperability Framework (SAIF)


  • IF: Information Framework (including RIM, data types, vocabulary bindings, etc.),
  • BF: Behavioral Framework (subsuming the existing Dynamic Model),
  • ECCF: Enterprise Conformance and Compliance (including HL7's existing Implementation and Conformance standards), and
  • GF: Governance Framework.

Standard Category

Modeling Standards

Integration Paradigm

Documents, Messages, Services




SAIF (The HL7 SOA-Aware Interoperability Framework) provides HL7 with an Interoperability Framework, i.e. a set of constructs, best practices, processes, etc. that enable HL7 specifications to achieve cross-specification consistency and coherancy irrespective of the chosen interoperability paradigm (messages, documents, or services).

SAIF consists of four core "frameworks":
(1) Information (including RIM, data types, vocabulary bindings, etc.),
(2) Behavior (subsuming the existing Dynamic Model),
(3) Enterprise Conformance and Compliance (including HL7's existing Implementation and Conformance standards), and
(4) Governance.

Originally titled SAEAF (Services-Aware Enterprise Architecture Framework), the name caused confusion with other enterprise architectures such as Zachman and Togaf. It was renamed in Febrary 2010. SAIF should be regarded as an adjunct to any EAF which focuses on Working Interoperability (WI). It is a framework which brings from SOA practice, two critical constructs which significantly enhance the path to WI, i.e.

  • Separation of concerns (static vs behavioral semantics)
  • Formal notion of contracts

SAIF is Interoperability Paradigm neutral (documents, messages, services)


See the SAEAF Overview Snapshot presentation from September 2009 here.

Business Case (Intended Use, Customers)

  • Enterprise interoperability projects including those building large-scale integrated health IT infrastructures at the national level


The main benefits that will be derived from developing specifications using the SAIF include: consistency of specifications, enhanced ability to manage loosely-coupled complex interactions between multiple trading partners, increased cross-organization reuse of architecture primitives (realizing the value proposition of CMETs and extending that proposition to include behavioral as well as static semantic constructs)

Implementations/ Case Studies (Actual Users)

  • National Cancer Institute (NCI),
  • Canada Health Infoway (CHI),
  • Open Health Tools (OHT) Architecture Project team


Work Groups

  • ArB - Architecture Board


  • SAIF 'book' under development
  • SAEAF document locations currently on GForge here
  • Tutorials offered at WGM on Services and Service-Awareness in HL7, and The SAEAF Behavior Framework
  • See more at
Certification Available
  • none


Relationship to/ Dependencies on, other standards

  • Information Framework: RIM, data types, vocabulary…
  • Behavior Framework: UML, CDL…
  • Governance Framework: TSC operationalization...
  • Conformance and Compliance Framework: TSC operationaliztion…
  • OVERALL: RM-OPD, ISO 19763, 21090

Links to current projects in development