If you notice the image above you may think, why is a blog post about tech not more “trendy”… where the images of computer chips and fancy graphics? We will get to that later. First we are going to do a brief synopsis of HL7.
A dear friend of mine asked me to speak to her students as an introduction to HL7 or Health Layer 7. In our HIM curricula, we are taught that HL7 was the introduction of technology implementation in the healthcare space. It birthed the beginnings of Meaningful Use and is our modern day enforcement of quality measures in MIPS and MACRA. In the US healthcare system, CMS guidelines from meaningful use enforce quality care over quantity care in the US healthcare system. While this is important, HL7 is actually so much bigger than that.
If you look at the titles to the books in the image above, you might notice that there are some computer programming languages in the titles like C#, Visual Basic and Java. This is helpful to know because what you need to know about HL7 is that it is a set of standards that are required for any software application that is utilized to collect healthcare data. This was mandated by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) as part of the HIPAA mandate of 1996. HL7 is important for health information management professionals because it provides the guidance for anything and everything related to healthcare data. Think about the technology you utilize today. Are you able to access healthcare data on your phone? How are you accessing it? Are you prompted to log into a website or app? HL7 is a standard that defines what can be accessed, stored and uploaded onto a site or through a software application. These standards define how clinical information can be moved and transferred through various systems or applications and provide guidelines on what the data is and how it is going to be shared. Without standards data is just a jumble of numbers and letters.
As new Health Information Management professionals enter the job market, it is important to keep this information in mind while you are pursuing your career journey. This is part of why Medical Coding for Millennials was created. As a health information management professional, I accept the fact that I have my cert in Medical Coding… but I also see the value in knowing these technologies and using them to access and provide a picture of the patient story in the data we collecting in the profession.
For more information about HL7 and its application in healthcare check out these articles.