HL7 delivers healthcare interoperability standards

The 6th HL7 International Affiliates Meeting

CIS Convention Centre, Taipei, Taiwan

July 21st to 23rd 2005


The following report is written by Philip Firth (HL7 UK Secretary), who attended and contributed to the meeting.


The 6th International Affiliates Meeting was another great success with delegates from HL7 USA, Taiwan, Germany, UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Malaysia, Korea and Hong Kong in attendance.

The event also hosted the 4th Asia-Pacific HL7 Conference on Healthcare Information Standards, and a very interesting session on HL7 and Public Health.

The conference was a great success in terms of sharing information on best practice and success stories about the use HL7v3 around the world. HL7 Taiwan where excellent hosts and the conference was another great opportunity for networking with HL7 colleagues from around the world.

July 21, 2005

Opening addresses

  • Liu, Chien-Tsai (Chair of HL7 Taiwan)
    Chien introduced the theme of the conference as “Leapfrogging health care and quality of life through integrated health information infrastructure.” This was a theme he felt recognized that health information standards are necessary for linking individual, regional, national and international core knowledge in healthcare and for creating, adopting and using Electronic Health Records in advancing the quality of healthcare services and improving quality of life through better population health.

  • Mark Shafarman (Chair of HL7)
    Mark reported a growing international use of HL7, demonstrated by the broad worldwide spectrum of conference attendees. He also noted that HL7 is very close to becoming an ISO standard, and negotiations are in hand on a formal agreement between HL7 and SNOMED, with a view to making SNOMED available worldwide.

  • Kai Heitmann (International Representative to the HL7 Board of Directors)
    Kai reported that 32 countries are now supporting HL7 in their national IT strategies. Interoperability was the key word and HL7v3 was key to achieving this. From 2006 the event would therefore be re-named the HL7 Interoperability Conference.

International Case Reports

  • Bernd Blobel (Chair of HL7 Germany)
    Bernd presented an excellent paper “Comparing Advanced Architectures for Semantically Interoperable Health Information Systems”.

  • Philip Firth (HL7 UK, Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Trust)
    I gave a powerpoint presentation focusing on the status of HL7 UK, the role of HL7 in NHS Connecting for Health, and the role of HL7 in the IT strategies of local NHS Trusts.

  • Jun Nakaya (HL7 Japan)
    HL7 Japan presented excellent papers on “General Purpose Portable Data: MERIT-9 Referral document conforming both HL7 CDA R2 and “IHE PDI (Portable Data for Image) in Shizuoka Prefecture EHR project” and Toward the Standardization of Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Markup Language (SNP-ML)”.

  • Lai, Feipei (HL7 Taiwan National Taiwan University)
    Feipei gave a powerpoint presentation focusing on the status of HL7 architecture & realization in National Taiwan University HIS.

Sharing on International HL7 Experiences

  • Chris Lynton-Moll (HL7 Australia) and Stephen Chu (HL7 NZ)
    Chris and Stephen explored a number of interoperability themes, including the use of HL7, DICOM and IHE. He invited people to look at the HL7 in Australia website: www.hl7.org.au 

  • Tom de Jong (HL7 The Netherlands)
    Tom summarized the status of the Medication Information Registry in the Netherlands. He admitted that the aim of achieving a nationwide medication record by 2006 is looking increasingly ambitious. Key issues in the Netherlands are funding (envy of CfH noted here) and the sheer scale and scope of what is being proposed.

  • Michio Kimura (HL7 Japan)
    Jun gave a report on the Japanese strategy of introducing EHR is 60% of hospitals by 2006. He said the key Japanese theme was to ‘Do simple things now, and complex things later’. Michio demonstrated a prototype EHR which has been developed in Shizuoka at a cost of just $4million, and which the health ministry now wishes to buy for nationwide use.

  • May Hu (HL7 USA)
    May introduced the NHII as recently mandated by President Bush, and the role of HL7 in a nation-wide health information infrastructure. She explained how the government is encouraging regional interoperability / EHR initiatives whilst NHII is being developed.

July 22, 2005

Conference day 2 included a session on Public Health and a number of HL7 tutorials.


  • Stephen Chu

  • Developing reusable care structures for HL7 V2.x and V3 messages

  • Mark Shafarman

  • Introduction to HL7 3.0

  • Kai Heitmann MD

  • Ingredient for better healthcare information technology - HL7's Clinical Document Architecture Release 2

For more information about HL7 International Affiliates please visit the HL7.org site.

Last modified 13/09/07