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HL7 Learning Partner Program

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This page is related to discussions of the "HL7 Learning Partner Program". See Education Home Page for general issues related to the provision of HL7 Education.

Note: in the context of this document the term 'HL7' (unless more specific wording is present) is used to denote either 'HL7 International' or a 'HL7 Affiliate'.

EC Discussion

  • EC (April 2015): MOTION from Education Work Group: To seek EC approval for the Director of Education to undertake the steps necessary to develop, with affiliate council input, a detailed proposal and implementation plan for a Learning Partner Program. Subject to over 50% of the Affiliates approving the detailed proposal and legal review, the proposal and implementation plan will be brought back to the EC/Board for review and approval. The motion failed with 0 in favor, 5 against,0 abstentions.
    • Mark McD: The EC did discuss the Learning Partner program proposal. The proposal includes many undefined or unknown factors that would need to be resolved before presenting a complete picture of the recommended program. Many concerns were raised towards the unknowns or undefined portions of the proposal, as well as towards competing with training that is produced by HL7 International and by the HL7 Affiliates. There was also concern expressed over the challenges of policing the quality of the training provided by others. The motion failed with 0 in favor, 5 against,0 abstentions. If the Education Committee wishes to bring the proposal back to the HL7 EC, the proposal needs to be better defined (less options and TBDs) and the advantages to HL7 and our affiliates need to be more clearly articulated.


The "2013-2016 HL7 Education Strategic Initiatives" plan has an objective (2c) enititled "Partner with companies to deliver training", with the aim to "establish X# of partnerships by EO 2013, 2014, 2015". It contains the following action plan (copied as-is):

  • Define benefits of partnering with HL7 to deliver training
  • Solicit companies interested in delivering HL7 training
  • Provide training materials for new standards for companies to use
  • Offer “preferred partner” status for companies using HL7 materials who have met our training standards
  • Define criteria and process for achieving “preferred partner” status
  • List “Preferred Trainer” companies on HL7 website
  • Evaluate potential of licensing training materials for distribution to “preferred trainers”

This document, initiated by companies and organizations that are keen be be such "Preferred Partners", proposes a HL7 Learning Partner Program to establish the relationships between commercial/university providers of HL7 education and the HL7 organization (international and/or affiliate). The primary goal of the HL7 Learning Partner Program (henceforth known as the LLP) is to create a win-win situation both for HL7 as well for its educational partners. A secondary goal is to both formalize a framework for what we are currently doing - given that such partnerships are already in place both within HL7 International (who hire consultants to present in-company training courses on its behalf) as well as within multiple HL7 affiliates (who outsource the provision of education to a third party).

Key benefits for HL7 include:

  1. Generation of additional revenue from
    • delivery of training courses by Partners (e.g. royalty, revenue sharing, see elsewhere in this document for details);
    • additional revenue from additional memberships as a result of someone’s interest level being sufficiently raised by attending a training course; or in case an attendee were to seek to pay a membership rate for the training course;
  2. Have additional capacity to deliver educational offerings in different languages and geographic areas, and educational offerings in countries that don’t have an affiliate. HL7s educational offerings are currently limited to offerings in the US (by HL7 International) and offerings by HL7 affiliates (in some 'more active' / larger affiliates).
  3. Training courses are delivered using the HL7 brand (brand/marketing aspect) or using joint branding
  4. Having additional capacity to develop educational materials (for a fee to be paid by HL7 to the Education Partner) whereby the resulting material may be either co-owned by HL7 and the Education Partner, or wholly owned by HL7, such to be determined on a case by case basis.
  5. Potential to dual badge broader offerings of interest to HL7 members that HL7 does not have the resources to develop – quickly extend and improve the portfolio of HL7 offerings.

Key benefit for an Education Partner organization include:

  1. Potential for the use of any training materials and/or tools created by HL7,
  2. Generate additional revenue from any delivery of training courses using HL7 materials or tools
  3. Generate additional revenue from educational offerings organized/marketed by HL7 - and outsourced to the Education Partner.
  4. Joint branding of educational offerings
  5. Increased student numbers or courses delivered (resulting from the –joint- marketing efforts of HL7 as well as the Education Partner)

Underlying use cases where the LPP is desirable include:

  1. HL7 International having access to additional resources (with knowledge or the local context, with specific language skills, with specific subject matter knowledge) for the organization, delivery, localization and/or creation of edcuational offerings around the globe
  2. A HL7 affilliate with insufficient resources (time/facilities/educational infrastructure) to plan and deliver training who seek an appropriate education partner to develop/deliver/arrange educational offerings in an agreement that makes the investment of both parties worthwhile and fiscally viable.

Proposed Learning Partner Agreement

This is a draft proposal meant to show the basic structure of the LPP.

  • The Partner agreement may be limited to specific countries, geographic areas and/or language(s) and/or delivery methods.
  • The Partner shall refrain from offering HL7-themed training courses under its own brand-name, all HL7-themed training courses provided by the Education Partner (in as far as they take place within the agreed upon geographic area and use one of the agreed upon delivery methods) shall be subject to the Partner agreement. Joint branding requires permission of HL7
  • The Partner may use, in whole or in part, those HL7 educational materials where either HL7 holds a (shared) copyright or those HL7 materials that have some sort of open license. The Partner will be responsible for the localization (language, content) or adaptation (if only because of different learning styles used by different tutors/instructors) of these materials should this be necessary.
  • The Partner may use its own educational materials, any audits/reviews by HL7 will be output-driven, i.e. the quality of the delivery and the quality of the content will be evaluated.
  • Any educational materials created by the Partner remain the exclusive ownership of that Partner, educational materials provided by HL7 are and remain the exclusive ownership of HL7. This continues to be true after termination of the Partner agreement.
  • One HL7 representative may participate (for free) to audit / review the training courses. Travel/accommodation costs of the auditor are paid for by HL7.
  • The Partner will share the results of the evaluations by attendees of the training course (whether paper forms or electronic) . Such evaluations will include a standard questionnaire developed by HL7 but may include additional questions if required by the Partner. In this case all evaluation answers will be shared by HL7 and the partner.

Affiliate Agreement

The Learning Partner proposal is based on the assumption that the following (or something like it) would be agreed upon between the HL7 affiliates and HL7 International in order to clarify the roles of the Affiliates and HL7 International when it comes to educational offerings (the change is "backwards compatible" with current agreement):

  • All HL7 affiliates have the right to organize education offerings within their own territory in a manner that they deem suitable for their members and territorial context, provided IP and other issues (as per the existing affiliate agreement) are handled as agreed upon.
  • Should HL7 International recieve a request to provide education, and such education is to be delivered within the territory of one of the HL7 affiliates, then the affiliate associated with the territory in question will have the ‘right of the first refusal’:
    • HL7 international will seek confirmation that the affiliate is willing and able to arrange for the delivery of the educational offering; should the affiliate either be unwilling or unable to do so, or should the affiliate not respond to the request of HL7 international within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. 5 working days), then HL7 international shall have the right to deliver the requested educational services.
  • Should an HL7 Affiliate receive a request (other than a request from another affiliate) to provide education outside of its own territory, then HL7 International will have the ‘right of the first refusal’:
    • Should HL7 International either be unwilling or unable to deliver the requested educational offerings, or should HL7 International not respond to the request of the affiliate within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. 5 working days), then the affiliate shall have the right to deliver the requested educational services.

Financial Aspects

Financial arrangements between HL7 and the Learning Partner must address a couple of scenarios:

  1. (outsourcing): The scenario where HL7 is responsible for the marketing and invoicing; and the Learning Partner for the delivery of an educational offering;
  2. (licensing): The scenario where the Learning Partner is responsible for the marketing, invoicing and the delivery of an educational offering.

Another dimension could be whether or not HL7s materials (and other IP) are used or not.

There are many options when it comes to a financial agreement between the Partner and HL7. Options include (this is subject to further negotiation):

  • Annual credentialing fee – an annual fee paid by Learning Partners which (at least) covers the efforts by HL7 to accredit the Learning Partner organization and/or its tutors. A substantive annual fee is likely to ‘scare away’ small providers of education many of whom are the people with HL7 expertise and education experience we actually want to leverage.
  • Existing Model – Europe (used exclusively for the outsourcing scenario described above): A standard model employed by Ringholm (and currently in use by multiple HL7 affiliates).
    • The net profit is calculated as:
      • revenue from trainees,
      • minus costs of the meeting room/projector/catering (receipts required)
    • Additional Costs:
      • Option 1: Travel/accommodation costs, and man hours of any party are not included in this calculation. The net profit is shared (for open training courses: typically in a 70/30% split) between the Partner and the HL7 organization. Thus the HL7 organization has an incentive to market the training course (it receives 30% of the net revenue), as does the Partner organization.
      • Option 2: Travel/accommodation costs paid upon receipt and agreed hourly rates using educational rates for preparation and delivery i.e.:
        • Lecturer rate 1 hour deliver + 4 hours of preparation
        • Lecturer rate (representation of existing material without need for review) 1 hour delivery + 1 hour preparation
        • Lecturer rate (representation of existing material with review needed) 1 hour delivery + 2 hours preparation
        • Note: The current rate in Australian Universities is $221.00 per hour - A rate would be established within the Affiliate or by HL7 International as part of the agreement.
  • Usage model (mainly applicable to the licensing scenario described above)- where a fee is paid for the number of students taught. This is often calculated as a percentage of the course fee and is effectively an IP use payment. This works well for organizations of different sizes and is either
    • Paid in ranges or groups, i.e.: 2 - 20 students, 21 - 50 students, 51 -100 students etc.
    • Paid per student as a direct calculation
    • It should be noted that there are overheads to either of these methods and periodic payments are easiest to administer. Access to student lists and records would be required by HL7 international, and potentially by the partner to HL7 course student lists as a governance requirement.


Risks include the following:

  1. The LPP introduces the concep to 'preferred partners' which may be in violation of the HL7 Code of conduct
    • What the proposal aims to do is to allow any member to be a learning partner, as long as they fulfill some basic quality criteria. As long as the crteria are open and published, and the accreditation process (in terms of governance) is done in a fair way this shouldn't clash with the code of conduct.
  2. The LPP could result in (additional) competition with HL7 International offerings
    • Realistically this could only currently occur in two scenarios: competition in the form of face-to-face training courses within the US (WGM Tutorials, Educational summits), and with the e-learning course. E-learning courses, like webinars, are virtual in nature and as such it would be hard to prevent competition. Will the Learning partner program lead to additional offerings (besides those already available as competing training courses) of face to face training courses in the US? That is a risk, although probably a small one.
  3. The LPP could lead to a dilution of the HL7 brand
    • Customers will associate all HL7 training courses (whomever provides them) with "HL7" and as such training courses of poor quality will be detrimental to HL7 as a brand. Under the LLP the HL7 brand would be used (in addition to where it is used today) for 'quality' training courses [that's why we have an acceditation process], this should strengthen rather than weaken the HL7 brand, especially in markets where HL7 currently has no presence at all.
  4. The LLP could lead to saturation of the market with HL7 sanctioned training
    • See the previous issue - this proposal could lead to additional offerings by new players. Given the small size of this niche market it is unlikely to lead to significant new offerings. If there was a significant market for such traning courses the big commercial providers would already have covered the market. Even if we were to saturate the market, some of the commercial providers would leave it because it's no longer profitable, leading to stable market again.

Prerequisites for Learning Partners

The LPP will have to define various kinds of Learning Partners:

  1. Organizations reponsible for the organization, billing, and delivery of education
  2. Organizations responsible for the delivery of education, using their own trainers/tutors

Organizations that have an interest in becoming a HL7 Learning Partner are likely to be either commercial providers of training courses, or not-for-profit organizations such as public Universities. Prerequisite criteria could include:

  • assessment of the organization (experience in the delivery of training courses),
    • e.g. those organizations that are ‘certified’ by their government/s to provide education – this is possible in Australia, but not universally around the globe.
    • Rene: We’d need a global unified way of doing this, a process that would span all jurisdictions.
    • See below of the page for a draft list of criteria.

Draft Criterion for Assessment of Partners

Below some of the cdraft criteria for assessing partners. This has been written to support materials and delivery which originates in HL7 IP materials or HL7 delivering IP materials which are owned by others.

Criterion To meet this criteria you would be Comment
Education Provider Organisation Quality An education provider entitled to use .edu or similar address ? consider which would be considered essential – the idea is to confirm that the organisation has established best practice policies and procedures
A nationally recognised education provider (able to confer qualifications)
Submit company details to indicate that you have a Privacy Policy, a Asessment Policy, a Environmental Sustainability Policy, Quality Management Procedures, a Student Grievance Policy, Student entry conditions, Student refunds process and policy
Course Developer/ Presenter quality A qualified and current (i.e. up to date) educator (either holds a qualification in education or can demonstrate that they have learned about best practice in design, delivery and assessment of skill development) The qualified educator may seem an issue – however as an example in Australia we have online learning courses which deliver this training or will recognise prior learning and confer a formal certification of the individual – the average cost of this is around $1500.
AND This requirement has been defined as it is easy to check and does not involve any personal judgements which could cause dissent.
Topic Currency: Provide information to show that particular domain knowledge is present, e.g. by having attended a WG, or by having presented on a particular topic in the past
Course Material quality All materials including assessments to be held in a shared space but secure environment (i.e. can be checked at any time by both parties)
Both parties have 1 auditor position at each course delivery – i.e. may attend course delivery at any time, irrespective of online or face to face.
Course materials must be approved by the originator of the material (i.e. HL7 or the education provider). Modifications may be made to contact, sequence of delivery, and non substantive content without notification, but other changes shall be notified to the originator of the material when changed.
Materials will include the HL7 logo at a similar size to the logo of the provider, or if the provider does not use a logo at the size used in HL7 presentation templates.
Online learning, if provided must use SCORM compliant resources