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HL7 Learning Partner Sub-Group

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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.

  • Group members: Rene Spronk, Melva Peters, Mark McDougall, Sharon Chaplock, Heather Grain
  • Planning: Will need to address all of the issues (as documented below); Will need a position statement (by the education WG); Proposal to be ready for May 2014 WGM

HL7 Learning Partner Program

This document proposes a HL7 Learning Partner Program to establish relationships between commercial/university providers of HL7 education and the HL7 organization (international or affiliate). See Appendix A for related snippets from the Education Strategic Plan.

Note: in the context of this document the term 'HL7' is used to denote either 'HL7 International' or a 'HL7 Affiliate'.


Benefit for HL7:

  • training courses delivered in its own name (brand/marketing aspect) or in joint names
  • revenue from delivery of training courses by Partners (e.g. royalty, revenue sharing, see elsewhere in this document for details)
  • 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;
  • 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.
  • additional capacity to deliver educational offerings in different languages and geographic areas, and educational offerings in countries that don’t have an affiliate.
  • 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.

Benefit for an Education Partner organization:

  • potential for the use of any training materials and/or tools created by HL7,
  • revenue from any delivery of training courses using HL7 materials or tools
    • irrespective of delivery method (face to face, online)
    • at different locations
    • Note: that details of ‘revenue sharing’ and fees, and the circumstances where those apply are discussed elsewhere in this document.
  • Joint branding of educational offerings
  • Increased student numbers or courses delivered (resulting from the –joint- marketing efforts of HL7)

Prerequisites for the Partner organization

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.
  • HL7 approved/licensed trainers/educators (certification, experience)
    • This needs to be based on published criteria such as experience in topics being taught plus educational expertise. And we could also do recognition of prior learning certification, or a hurdle test.
    • Rene: We’ll need a global way of doing this – probably even in a language independent manner, the tutor in question may not even speak English, e.g. just be a very good FHIR tutor in Japanese. Suggests to me that we need something that HL7 itself defines in terms of test or criteria, re-using/building upon some tests/criteria used elsewhere. Create a reasonable hurdle, neither unrealistically high, nor unrealistically low ;-)

Learning Partner Agreement

  • 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-themedtraining 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.

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.



  1. HL7 International not wishing to compete with Affiliates
    • 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:
      • 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 receive 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.
  2. What is the qualification of the organizations who provide training? To become a partner and to remain a partner
    • We need to develop core competencies on evaluation of “teachers”
  3. HL7 Code of conduct that precludes endorsement of one member over another
    • Rene: I haven't read that section in years, but the spirit of it is probably to prevent 'nepotism'. 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.
  4. Competition with HL7 International offerings
    • Rene: 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? To me it seems near impossible to see a 'causal' relationship..
  5. Dilution of the HL7 brand
    • Rene: 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.
      • 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.
  6. Risk of saturation of market with HL7 sanctioned training
    • Rene: one of the big questions is whether this proposal will lead to additional offerings by new players. This may be the case, but given the small size of this niche market it is unlikely to be significant. If there was a significant market for such traning courses the big commercial providers would already have covered the market.
      • Besides, even 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. I'm less worried about saturating a market than I am about not covering some markets at all.
  7. Need to understand how this is different from what is happening today
    • Rene: currently: anything goes, multiple parties (commercial or not) are offering educational services, some of high quality, others of poor quality. The average potential attendee has no way of knowing the quality of the respective offerings. 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.
      • Some affiliates have an arrangement like the proposed Learning Partnber Program in place. Some affiliates, as well as HL7 International, will forward leads to commercial parties for the delivery of training courses - some asking a small % of the revenues for forwarding the lead, others doing so for free. There is no consistency in such arranagements, nor is the process transparent in any way.
  8. Do we have the time to do the evaluations in a volunteer organization?
    • Rene: if the Learning Partners had to pay an annual fee to be accredited, evaluations of organizations and/or trainers would be a paid effort.
  9. Affiliate agreement just signed and would need to be changed/amended
    • An amendmend may be in order, see above for suggested additional content
  10. There may be an issue for some of the HL7 International teachers in providing training in some countries
    • Rene: exactly that's why one has to widen the number of options by having Learning partners that could provide training in those countries.


  • Is there an opportunity for partners to develop material where we do not have resources/time?


  • Formalizes a framework for what we are currently doing
  • Additional revenue
  • Offers an opportunity for management of the HL7 brand