HL7 International and openEHR International consider aligning standards and specifications

International technical standards bodies HL7 International and openEHR International have announced their intention to explore a closer collaboration, and are jointly considering aligning some standards and specifications.

In a joint statement by Rachel Dunscombe, CEO openEHR International and Charles Jaffe, CEO HL7 International, the pair outline how a collaboration could help “deliver clarity and harmony” and increase software choices by “demonstrating how the specifications work together more completely than has been done previously”.

The announcement states the openEHR community could benefit by gaining “alignment of formal adoption processes, and availability of shared conformance, compliance, publication tools and processes”. The HL7 community would also benefit from “leveraging openEHR’s open collaborative culture, platforms, and people – particularly the clinical community – an extensive clinical model library, clinical modelling methodology, elements of the specifications and the value provided by better integration of tooling and modelling between the communities,” the announcement notes.

Although no formal agreement is in place, the organisations are exploring: which openEHR specifications are appropriate to benefit from an HL7 driven standardisation process; if HL7 can create a path that meets its standards obligations, and works for the existing openEHR community; if more formal standardisation for some parts of openEHR can be introduced; and if it’s possible without harming the proven openEHR culture of open innovation.

The statement concludes: “If we together decide to move forward, whatever we do will take time to build trust, develop approaches, and deliver outcomes.”

Last week, for our latest poll we asked the HTN audience: what’s the biggest challenge with interoperability across health and care. We put forward four possible answers – a lack of a national strategy, suppliers and systems, the need for dedicated funding to support interoperability, or the reality of organisations solving challenges alone. 31 percent of respondents believed that the lack of national strategy is the biggest challenge for interoperability. Second place with 29 percent of votes, was the need for dedicated funding to support interoperability.