HL7 delivers healthcare interoperability standards

Grangerís legacy of international standards support

Richard Granger has announced that he will transition from his full-time post as the Chief Executive of NHS Connecting for Health. 

The NHS Connecting for Health (NHS CFH) under Granger has had a huge impact on healthcare systems interoperability. He has shown commitment to the use of international standards such as HL7 Version 3 (V3), and actively invested in the development of those standards. This will leave a long-term legacy that will provide the NHS with a national information environment which is flexible and robust enough to ride the ever-changing organisational, political, technical and medical landscape.

We cannot know what clinical applications will be needed in fifteen years time, nor what the organisational structure of the NHS will be. We do know that having a national information sharing framework, that is converging with those used in other countries, will allow the NHS to benefit from a global market in affordable software products and information services. It gives suppliers to the NHS a wider market to help ride out the ebbs and flows of NHS demand, allowing them to invest and develop product for the NHS with greater confidence.

The selection of HL7 V3 as the strategic basis for the national communications infrastructure has proved a robust decision. NHS CFH has, with other National Initiatives, contributed to a growing international consensus that representation of clinical data in shared Electronic Patient Records should conform to the HL7 V3 Clinical Statement pattern . The decision to support Clinical Statements in HL7 V3 documents for care record summaries is in line with other countries that are establishing national initiatives. The clear commitment from NHS CFH to the use of HL7 has ensured that the UK has substantial influence in the evolution of that international consensus.

The pragmatic local use of HL7 V2 for communications within hospitals has been an effective way to deliver local interoperability without demanding wide-scale changes to existing systems.

HL7 UK looks forwards to continuing the work with NHS CFH, other home countries IT initiatives, the suppliers and the clinical community, in the development and promotion of robust, open specifications for the sharing of healthcare data, in a way that is cost effective and delivers tangible benefits in patient care.