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January 2007. Healthcare Services Specification Project The Business Case and Importance of Services. HL7 Service-Oriented Architecture SIG OMG Healthcare Domain Task Force. Background.

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healthcare services specification project the business case and importance of services

January 2007

Healthcare Services Specification Project The Business Case and Importance of Services

HL7 Service-Oriented Architecture SIG

OMG Healthcare Domain Task Force

  • This presentation represents the collective input and thinking from the collective participants involved in the Healthcare Services Specification Project.
  • Contributions to this content have come from
    • The Object Management Group (OMG) community
    • The Health Level Seven (HL7) community
    • The Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) community
    • The Eclipse Open Healthcare Framework community
  • This presentation is intended to describe the purpose, role, and importance of industry-standard service interface specifications
why common services and not just messages
Why “common services” and not just “messages”?*
  • A common practice in healthcare, just not yet in healthcare IT
  • Many key products use them but do not expose interfaces
  • Ensures functional consistency across applications
  • Accepted industry best practice
  • Furthers authoritative sources of data
  • Minimizes duplication across applications, reuse
  • Messages can be either payloads in or infrastructure beneath services
  • Service-oriented architecture is just automation of common services

*slide adapted from a Veterans Health Administration Presentation, used with permission

what is the healthcare service specification project
What is the Healthcare Service Specification Project?
  • An effort to create common “service interface specifications” tractable within Health IT
  • A joint standards development project involving Health Level 7 (HL7) and the Object Management Group (OMG)
  • Its objectives are:
    • To create useful, usable healthcare standards that address functions, semantics and technologies
    • To complement existing work and leverage existing standards
    • To focus on practical needs and not perfection
    • To capitalize on industry talent through open community participation
what are threads of active work
What are threads of active work?
  • SOA Functional Standards
    • Scheduling Service, Order Entry/Management, Anonymization, Terminology Maintenance/Navigation, Workflow, etc, ….)
  • Technical Specifications for balloted Functional Standards
    • Entity Identification, Record Location/Update/Retrieval, Clinical Decision Support, Service Ontology Development
  • Implementation Guidance & White Papers
    • Service Registries, HL7 V2/V3 migration strategies, deploying SOA into Provider Organizations, etc.
  • Methodology
    • Service Specification Framework
    • SOA4HL7 Messaging-to-SOA Transition Methodology
where would these specifications be used
Where would these specifications be used
  • Inter-Enterprise (such as NHIN, RHIOs, LHINs)
    • By functionally specifying behavior, roles between applications and products are clarified, and the technologies supporting them can be profiled and sharpened
  • Intra-Enterprise
    • Standardization on functionality allows for better integration of off-the-shelf and custom development environments, and promotes more of a “plug and play” environment
  • Intra-Product
    • Facilitates vendors ability to integrate third-party value-add components and speed design phase with higher confidence
  • Custom-Implementation
    • Affords organizations wishing to custom-develop the opportunity to later integrate off-the-shelf
the approach
The Approach
  • HL7 to lead in service selection, functional elaboration, and conformance criteria
  • OMG to lead in technical specification
  • Both organizations jointly participate in all activities
  • Work products will be “owned” by only one organization but used collaboratively
  • “Operate as one project” as a principle
  • Actively seek vendor participation
  • Engage IHE community
the value of collaboration
The Value of Collaboration
  • HL7 brings…
    • Healthcare semantic interoperability expertise
    • Rich, extensive international community perspective
    • Diverse membership base
  • OMG brings
    • distributed systems architecture and modeling excellence
    • Effective, efficient, rapid process
    • Premise that standards must be implemented
  • Resulting in…
    • Services will be identified by the community needing them
    • Improved methodology resultant from functional and architectural merging of the two groups
    • Facilitation of multi-platform implementation and broader implementation community
context of hssp specifications
Context of HSSP Specifications


Ability to Interoperate



Design and


& Semantics


Platform Bindings





Model Fragment


Independent Specification

Reference Information Model

HL7 Application Roles

Data Types and Terminology Bindings

Middleware Frameworks

Standard Terminologies and Vocabularies

Messaging Specifications (HL7, others)

HL7 Community and Open Participation

Physical/Software Infrastructure

two dimensions of interoperability
Two Dimensions of Interoperability
  • Behaviorally, there are a lot of solutions
  • Need to marry Semantic Interoperability with Behavior
  • The touchstone business case is the notion of automated discovery, composition, and delivery
  • What can HSSP provide to get us to the goal?

Ideal Target

HSSP Reference Arch


HL7 Messaging

HSSP RLUS (Profiled)



Web Services



Java RMI



From the RM-ODP Informational Viewpoint

what participants are saying
What Participants are Saying…
  • “Kaiser Permanente I.T. is currently transitioning to an SOA-based approach to business and systems integration. Availability of industry standard services will bring many benefits towards this goal in terms of speed of implementation, flexibility and reduced cost. I am very pleased that both HL7 and OMG are committed to this timely effort.”, Alan Honey, Enterprise Architect (Principal), Kaiser-Permanente
  • “The creation of a health Informatics infrastructure based upon a service-based architecture grounded in comparable data has the potential to improve healthcare delivery and greatly enhance patient safety.”, Peter L. Elkin, MD, FACP, Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  • “The MedicAlert mission – to protect and save lives – requires a repository of comprehensive medical information that comes from multiple sources for our members. Our SOA-based infrastructure demands the rich and flexible capabilities that are provided by these standard interoperable services.”, David Harrington, CTO, MedicAlert Foundation
  • “The Eclipse Foundation is pleased to support an open source project dedicated to building frameworks, components, and exemplary tools to make it easy and cost-effective to build and deploy healthcare software solutions. This Eclipse Open Healthcare Framework project will leverage the Eclipse Platform developed by IBM, Intel, Wind River, Actuate, Borland, BEA, Computer Associates and others.” Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation
  • “The time is now and the place is here in this joint OMG/HL7 project. Never before has the industry been closer to cogent, clear healthcare IT data model and service standards that can provide true interoperability in a short timeframe, with open-source implementations making availability abundant.”, Richard Mark Soley, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO, OMG
hssp moving in internet time globally
HSSP – Moving in Internet Time (Globally)

2005 January: Joint Project Chartered

2005 April: Project Kickoff

2005 October: Interoperability Services Workshop & Conference

2006 January: HL7 Charters SOA Special Interest Group

2006 May: EIS, RLUS, and DSS Ballots Issued

2006 Summer: HSSP Education held in Australia, Finland, Norway, US

2006 September: EIS, RLUS, and DSS Pass HL7 Ballot

2006 December: EIS, RLUS RFPs Issued

2007 Q1: Functional work begins for ‘07

what has the hssp delivered
What has the HSSP delivered?
  • HL7 DSTUs:
    • A Decision Support Service (DSS) receives patient data as the input and returns patient-specific conclusions as the output
    • The Retrieve, Location, and Update Service (RLUS) provides a set of interfaces for accessing and managing health information
    • The Entity Identification Service (EIS) for identification of patient, providers and other entities participating in the care
  • OMG-issued technical Requests for Proposal (RFPs) finalized or drafted for all DSTUs
  • A Service Development Framework (methodology) for developing the service specifications
  • An informative HL7 ballot document on the SOA4HL7 Messaging-to-SOA Transition Methodology
how is this project different
How is this project “different”?
  • Active participation from three continents and 15+ organizations
  • Significant cross-cutting community involvement
      • Providers & Payers (Blue Cross/Blue Shield, DoD Military Health System, Intermountain Health, Kaiser-Permanente, Mayo Clinic, Veterans Health Administration)
      • Vendors & Integrators (Accenture, CSW Group, EDS, IBM, Northrop-Grumman, PatientKeeper, Universata)
      • Value-added Providers (MedicAlert, Ocean Informatics, Eclipse Foundation, etc.)
      • Governments (Veterans Health Administration, DoD Military Health System (MHS), Canada Health Infoway, NeHTA Australia, SerAPI (Finland))
  • Managing differences between SDOs in terms of membership, intellectual property, and cost models
approach is producing a comprehensive solution
Approach is producing a Comprehensive Solution


Story Boards

Application Roles


CIMs and LIMs

Control Act and Transmission Wrappers



Interaction Payload

Interaction Contracts



    • Conformance Profiles
      • Semantic + Functional
      • Model Pedigree
    • Profile and Template Registries
    • Conformance Testing (Governance)
    • Functional Models for Core and Business services
    • Methodology for HL7 to Service Mapping
    • Support for Federation, Forwarding, and Orchestration
    • Ontology for Service Description and Discovery
why should i participate one
Why should I participate? [One]
  • This effort is focused on and driven by business-need
    • It is not an “academic exercise” striving for perfection
    • Acknowledgement that for standards to be useful they must be used
    • Focused on the practical and achievable
    • Short timelines
    • Based upon business value and ROI
  • Leveraging talent from two standards communities
  • Up-front commitment ensures community engagement
  • Being run like a “project” and not a committee
  • Recognize participation as an investment and not an expense
why should i participate two
Why should I participate? [Two]
  • This is happening—the only way to influence the outcome is to engage
  • Significant “networking” opportunities—you will gain access to the best and brightest in the industry and the world
  • Prime opportunity to directly engage with complementing stakeholder groups (provider-to-vendor, vendor-to-payer, SDO-to-SDO, etc)
  • Benefit from “lessons learned” from others
  • Reduce design burden
  • Establish market presence and mindshare as industry leader
how do i participate
How do I Participate?
  • Join appropriate standards organizations
    • HL7 for functional work
    • OMG for technical specification work
    • Join both
  • Allocate resources to actively engage in the project
    • Engage existing, knowledgeable resources in the areas they are working already.
    • Subgroups form based on industry need and priority
    • Teleconferences are weekly; meetings approximately bimonthly
who should i involve
Who should I involve?
  • Involve the staff that can best address your business needs:
    • The benefits you receive will depend upon your investment
    • Organizations that commit resources garner more influence and more mindshare
    • Your business interests are being represented by your attendees
  • HL7 Website:
  • OMG Website:
  • Services Project Homepage