Developer of global healthcare standards, Health Level Seven, has announced the release of Version 3 Normative Edition 2008, a globally-defined suite of specifications based on HL7’s Reference Information Model.

The suite provides a single source that allows implementers of Version 3 specifications to work with the set of messages, data types, and terminologies needed to build an implementation.

“The publication of the Version 3 Normative Edition 2008 is another milestone for HL7,” said George Beeler, co-chair of the HL7 Publishing Work Group.

He added: “It assembles all of the HL7 Version 3 (V3) content approved as normative standards through the end of 2007, and includes standards for communications to document and manage the care and treatment of patients in a wide variety of healthcare settings. As such, it is a foundational part of the technologies needed to meet the global challenge of integrating healthcare information, in areas such as patient care and public health.”

Version 3 is currently being adopted to support large scale integration, public health, decision support and research. Several countries have chosen the standard for their initiatives to create national electronic healthcare record and data exchange standard, as it provides a level of interoperability unavailable with previous versions.

Within the US, jurisdictional agencies needing support for large scale integration, such as the centre for disease control and prevention have adopted V3. Significant V3 national implementations also exist in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Mexico, Germany and Croatia.

“We chose the HL7 V3 standard because it supports semantic interoperability in an environment where diverse clinical systems from multiple organizations and geographies must interoperate. HL7 V3 is the foundation for all of our messaging standards that support the national EHR infrastructure we are building to provide Canadians and their health care providers with secure access to the health information they need,” said Dennis Giokas, chief technology officer of Canada Health Infoway.

He added: “HL7 V3 has been successfully implemented in a Drug Information System serving the province of Prince Edward Island. Standards in other domains – laboratory, clinical history and notes, demographic registries, and public health surveillance – have been developed based on V3 and are in the process of being implemented across Canada.”

HL7 say the suite allows implementers an opportunity to test specifications in real-life settings and then provide their feedback to be incorporated into the final published standard.

The release also includes standards that address messaging and transport specifications, implementation technology specifications, administrative management and health and clinical management.

Beeler said: “In healthcare, topics in care provision, public health, regulated studies and therapeutic devices represent an extension in the clinical scope.

Simultaneously, the addition of standards for the Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), implementation of Version 3 with SNOMED-CT, Role-based Access Control and templates extend the technical foundations upon which these standards can be implemented."