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Semantic Mapping and HL7. Why Mapping?. HL7 have built UML semantic models of healthcare (RIM, RMIMs, CDA…) If everybody migrated to these models, many interoperability problems would be solved

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semantic mapping and hl7

Semantic Mapping and HL7

why mapping
Why Mapping?
  • HL7 have built UML semantic models of healthcare (RIM, RMIMs, CDA…)
  • If everybody migrated to these models, many interoperability problems would be solved
  • Suppliers cannot do this; they have big commitments to other models and structures
  • They could map to the HL7 models; mapping is much easier than migrating
  • So HL7 needs to publish shareable mappings to existing standards and data structures
why semantic mapping to handle structure clashes
Why Semantic Mapping? To Handle Structure Clashes
  • Most mapping tools only map data values
  • These are the leaves of message trees
  • Structure clashes (e.g. multiplicity) arise on non-leaf nodes, deep in the trees
  • Most mapping tools don’t address them
  • Therefore the translations don’t work
  • So people drop the tools and hand-code

Message B

Message A


structure clashes arise from associations
Structure Clashes Arise from Associations
  • ‘Deep’ message A represents the association X=>Y by nesting of elements
  • ‘Shallow’ message B represents the same association by shared key values
  • This causes a structure clash
  • You cannot translate from A to B without knowing how they each represent the same association
  • Therefore semantic mapping is needed, to drive accurate translations


Class X




Class Y

Message A

Message B

UML Class Model

mappings in progress
Mappings in Progress
  • Pharmacy V2-V3 (Pharmacy TC)
  • Various V2-V3 (ItalTBS)
  • HIPAA X12 to V3 (FM TC)
  • CCR – CCD (various vendors)
  • Relational database – V3 (basic demonstrator)
example ccr and ccd
Example: CCR and CCD
  • CCD and CCR are complex structures (typical nesting depth: 6 – 12)
  • They have many structure clashes (CCR uses shared keys)
  • They have both been mapped to a CCD semantic model (a few days’ work for CCR)
  • The mappings give accurate translations and round trips – translating thousands of data items
  • Mapping exposes the problems in CCR
mappings for arra hitech
Mappings for ARRA/HITECH





V 2.5.1



Data Model









benefits and issues
Benefits and Issues
  • Mappings reveal the problems clearly and early
  • Any-to-any translations can be generated from the mappings (=>rapid testing)
  • By mapping an application data model to CDA, you will get translations to and from CDA, V2.5.1, CCR ….
  • Managing templates is a big problem
  • Versions are a big problem
semantic mappings summary
Semantic Mappings - Summary
  • Declarative, simple where they can be simple, viewable (e.g. Excel)
  • A specification for semantic interoperability
  • Auto-generate runnable transformations
  • N*(N-1) transformations from N sets of mappings
  • Rapidly testable (=> test-driven mapping)
  • Mapping exposes semantic problems (gaps, ambiguities)