OMG, in partnership with Health Level Seven International (HL7), recently announced the adoption and availability of the hData Record Format and hData RESTful Transport specifications, a scalable electronic method for exchanging patient health information (such as EHRs and mobile health) among patients, doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
“This is the latest in a number of standards jointly created as a result of our partnership with OMG," says John Quinn, chief technology officer of HL7. "This collaborative relationship is successful because it combines HL7’s expertise in creating healthcare interoperability standards with OMG’s expertise in distributed process models, wrappers, and transport specifications that are common to all industries. It is also one of the first published efforts to adopt the significant contributions and balloting efforts of our volunteers from MITRE, giving HL7 implementers API access to the hData RESTful Transport specification.”
“The real impetus behind health data information standards like hData is saving lives and saving money by connecting clinical systems across doctors' offices, hospitals, and research centers," says Richard Mark Soley, PhD, chairman and CEO of OMG. "This is accomplished by overcoming the differences in systems that make sharing information difficult in the medical world.”
With the adoption at OMG and at HL7, hData is now the first set of peer-reviewed specifications within both organizations for implementing a RESTful exchange of clinical information in the context of national and international standards. With hData, implementers can achieve semantic interoperability between clinical systems both within and across organizational boundaries. By supporting a wide variety of clinical content models and media types, hData offers maximal flexibility while ensuring high scalability and efficiency through an optimized transport architecture.
“MITRE initiated and led hData’s development in 2008 in an effort to promote the adoption and use of scalable electronic health record systems,” says Gerald Beuchelt, a lead software systems engineer at MITRE. “Doctors cite compliance as an area that will improve a patient’s health and also help keep costs in the US system down. Mobile health is a useful tool, but first we need scalable exchange and semantic interoperability of health IT systems, and then we can support future growth in tools like mobile health that can all share common data—hence hData.”
RESTful specification services are low-cost and easy to deploy versus other service types that are more cumbersome to build and implement. hData allows a Web developer to demonstrate a prototype in days instead of months with the current standards in use. Not surprisingly, RESTful Web services are used by companies such as Amazon.com and Google because they can scale to millions of users.
With the hData specifications, medical records present content in a tiered structure that allows for fast and secure access to only the specific information needed at a given time. This means that rather than having to download an entire record to a mobile device, doctors can download just the pieces of data they need in order to make decisions. hData makes the data securely accessible so the innovation of mobile use can happen.
The specification is available to the public for download from the OMG website at www.omg.org/cgi-bin/doc?dtc/2012-01-03.
HL7 has published the hData Record Format as a DSTU (Draft Standard for Trial Use). It is available on the HL7 website at www.hl7.org/dstucomments.