My post “HL7 needs a fresh look because V3 has failed” generated a huge number of page hits (more than any other page already), and lots of comments, both private and public.
In this post, I’m going to try and summarize the comments. But before I do that – I made two posts in a point/counterpoint style. The first post (v3 has failed) generated 5 times as many page views as the second (v3 has succeeded), and 10x as many comments. And the second post is the only one I sent anyone a link about (several HL7 mailing lists). Such is life, I guess.
I think that generally, people in the comments were defensive of HL7 because they felt that either
- v3 hadn’t failed
- v3 was trying to something impossibly hard anyway
- HL7 should be congratulated for having a fresh look task force
With regard to the #3 – yes, and that’s a tough ask. With regard to #2 – yes, I thought that too, until I wrote RFH. Then I looked afresh at the v3 specifications, and realized that they make something hard even harder.
As far as v3 failing, I said that v3 was a failure because it wasn’t a suitable vehicle as it is to take the organization forward. No one really disagreed with that – there were a number of passionate defenses of the achievements of v3, including
- several national programs
- RIM based EHRs (there are several) or CDRs (clinical data repositories)
Apologies if I missed anything. Of course, a number of people pointed out that the definition of failure is very much in the eye of the beholder. Indeed it is. You can do good things with v3 as it is (as I said myself).
A number of people suggested that HL7 should invest in tooling in order to make the standard successful. I very skeptical of that theory. Imagine if OMG started writing software and giving it away to try and make CORBA a success – how could that make any difference? I think that that investing in tooling in order to present a better face to an interoperability standard is doubling down. (please, this is not a criticism of national health programs for their efforts in this direction. Tooling is not a bad thing, but thinking tooling solves the underlying problem is. It’s HL7 that needs to beware of doubling down like this.)
Also, people questioned whether repositioning v3 in terms of technology adoption would help. JSON? HTML 5? IDL? Google Protocol? I don’t know whether that would help or not. It’s an area fraught with difficulty.
Some people think that the XML simplification methods (such as greenCDA) for greenCDA will make a big difference – I already talked about that.
There was one particular thread in the comments by Andrew McIntyre / Gunther Schadow that I’ll pick up in later post: the relationship between v2, v3 and archetypes.