Tag Archives: funny

If your Healthcare IT standard was a River Boat…

I spotted this: If your programming language was a boat, and it got me thinking… what if your Healthcare IT standard was a River Boat? (A river boat is a hat tip to the old, but wrong, bridge metaphor for interoperability).

HL7 v2

HL7 v2 is like a river raft with a rope guideline. Anyone can build one, they’re all slightly different, and they only go where the rope takes them.


openEHR is a like a house boat – solid design from first principles, unsinkable, slowly coming along. All aboard to join the community party!

HL7 v3

What an amazing concept! Power like you wouldn’t believe. Once in flight, can carry an entire hospital across the river in milliseconds. Sadly, takes 100x the width of the river to get going.

(More info: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUTWWsh6iGA)


Yep, you can do almost anything in XML. It just requires a great deal of hard work, with almost no help from your machinery


We’ll just bung a few different parts together – it’ll be fine; they’re all proper standards in their own right. There’s no risk that it will go bang later.


This boat is made up of a whole lot of little bits that each float in their own right. Nothing is ever going to sink this boat. But where’s all the bits to make it work?

The Wreck of HL7

A wonderful contribution from Jean-Henri Duteau:

The legend lives on from ANSI on down
of the SDO they called “HL7”.
Health Standards, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of designers twenty-six thousand tons more
than when HL7 started early,
that good SDO was a bone to be chewed
when “Semantic Interoperability” came early.

The SDO was the pride of the American side
coming back from some place in Ann Arbor.
As SDOs go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and CEO well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of projects
when they left fully loaded for Orlando.
And later that night when the supper bell rang,
could it be the north wind they’d been feelin’?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev’ry man knew, as the CEO did too
’twas witch of Interoperability come stealin’.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when Semantic Interoperability came slashin’.
When afternoon came it was freezin’ rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old Board chair came on deck sayin’.
“Fellas, it’s too rough t’feed ya.”
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,
“Fellas, it’s bin good t’know ya!”
The CEO wired in he had water comin’ in
and the good SDO was in peril.
And later that night when ‘is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of HL7.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the requirements turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they’d have made Normative
if they’d put fifteen more miles behind ‘er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

In a musty old hall in Ann Arbor they prayed,
in the “Health Informatics’ Cathedral.”
The church bell chimed ’til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the HL7 Board.
The legend lives on from ANSI on down
of the big SDO they call “HL7”.
“Health Standards” they said, “never gives up her dead
when Semantic Interoperability come early!”