October 25, 2022 Last updated October 25th, 2022 145 Reads share

What is HL7? A Guide for Healthcare

What is HL7Image Credit:

If you work in the healthcare industry, you’ve likely heard of HL7.

But what is it, exactly? And why do healthcare providers need it?

In this article, we will answer those questions and more. We’ll discuss what HL7 is, what it does, and why it’s vital for healthcare providers. So if you’re curious about HL7, read on!

What is HL7?

Health Level Seven (HL7) is a set of global standards for exchanging electronic health information. These standards define how patient data should be structured, formatted, and transmitted between healthcare systems.

This allows providers to exchange information, regardless of location or healthcare system, securely.

HL7 also enables the development of patient-centered applications that provide greater care coordination and patient transparency.

HL7’s members include:

  • Healthcare providers
  • Vendors
  • Government agencies

The HL7 Version 3 standard is widely used for exchanging electronic health information globally. Over 1,500 organizations in over 30 countries use Version 3 to develop and deploy healthcare applications.

Why Do Healthcare Facilities Need HL7?

One of the critical challenges facing healthcare providers today is the need to exchange data efficiently and securely with other facilities.

What is HL7 2

Changing Times

As a result of the pandemic, there are many new medical marketing trends to look out for. These affect how records are kept and, in some cases, how medical services are offered.

HL7 provides a standardized way for systems to communicate and transfer patient data, helping hospitals and clinics avoid compatibility issues between different software platforms during these changing times.

Whether you’re a clinician, administrator, or IT professional, understanding what HL7 is and what it does is essential to working in modern healthcare.

When integrating HL7, it is advised that healthcare facilities use a third-party service provider to help ensure the compatibility and security of patient data with their HL7 integration expertise.

So if you’re looking for a solution to your healthcare exchange needs, consider HL7 and the many benefits it can offer your facility. With its ability to facilitate better care coordination and patient engagement, HL7 is an essential tool for modern healthcare providers.

What are the HL7 Standards?

The HL7 standards are a set of specifications that define how patient data should be structured, formatted, and transmitted between different healthcare systems.

These standards take into account factors such as:

  • Interoperability
  • Security
  • Usability


Interoperability refers to the ability of different software platforms, devices, and systems to work together.

HL7 takes into account interoperability by creating standards for data exchange that ensure compatibility across different systems and platforms.


Security is also essential in HL7 standards, as it allows healthcare providers to transmit patient data securely between facilities. This helps to protect patient privacy and ensure the safety of their data.


Finally, usability is a crucial consideration in HL7 standards. These specifications are designed to be easy to understand and implement, making them ideal for healthcare providers who need a reliable way to exchange data efficiently and effectively.

Following these standards helps healthcare providers efficiently exchange patient data across different platforms and settings.

Several HL7 standards cover different areas of healthcare. Some of these standards include: 

  • HL7 Version 2 – Standard for Clinical Document Architecture
  • HL7 Version 3 – Standard for Structured Product Labeling
  • HL7 Version 3 – Standard for CDA Release 2: Consolidated CDA Templates and Profiles

HL7 Version 2 – Standard for Clinical Document Architecture

This document standard defines a structure for exchanging clinical information between healthcare organizations.

The standard defines a set of metadata elements that can be used to describe the content and structure of clinical documents, as well as the rules for assembling and packaging these documents.

Clinal Document Architecture (CDA) documents can be used to exchange information between healthcare providers, insurers, and other interested parties.

HL7 Version 3 – Standard for Structured Product Labeling

This standard provides the format for exchanging product information between healthcare providers, manufacturers, and other trading partners.

The standard defines the structure and content of the product information, including the following:

  • Product name
  • Description
  • Ingredients
  • Directions for use
  • Warnings and precautions

Product information can be exchanged in any format, including paper documents, electronic files, or oral communications.

HL7 Version 3 – Standard for CDA Release 2: Consolidated CDA Templates and Profiles

This standard is a comprehensive guide that provides a set of templates and profiles for exchanging clinical documents.

The standard is designed to support the electronic exchange of clinical information between healthcare organizations and improve the quality and accuracy of information.

The standard also provides a common foundation for developing clinical applications and services.


Overall, HL7 is an essential tool for modern healthcare providers. Providing a standardized way to exchange information helps improve data accuracy and interoperability across facilities, giving clinicians the tools they need to deliver quality care to their patients.

How does HL7 Work?

HL7 is a set of standards that defines how patient data should be structured and formatted in order to facilitate the secure and efficient exchange of information between healthcare systems.

To implement HL7, healthcare facilities typically use software platforms designed to meet these standards.

These platforms typically include tools for:

  • Managing patient records
  • Prescribing medications
  • Managing electronic health records

What Are HL7’s Benefits?

HL7 is a very valuable tool for healthcare organizations of all sizes. It helps to improve communication between different systems, and it also helps to improve patient care. If your organization is looking for a way to improve its communication capabilities, HL7 is worth considering.

There are several key benefits of using HL7 in healthcare. HL7 can help:

  • Cut Out Duplicates
  • Improve Clinical Efficiency
  • Organize patient records
  • Manage medications
  • Maximize the Value of EHRs

Cut Out Duplicates

One of the benefits of using HL7 is that it helps to cut out data duplicates. This is because HL7 messages are standardized and include a unique identifier for each patient.

This means that if two different healthcare providers send messages about the same patient, HL7 will be able to identify any duplicate data and merge it into a single record.

This can save time and ensure that all patient data is accurately stored in a single location.

The impact of duplicate medical records in the medical field can be significant, as it can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Improve Clinical Efficiency

Another key benefit of using HL7 is that it can help improve clinical efficiency.

HL7 platforms typically include tools for managing patient records, prescribing medications, and managing electronic health records.

These tools can help clinicians streamline their workflows and deliver high-quality care to patients more efficiently.

Organize Patient Records

One of the benefits of HL7 is that it allows for exchanging patient records between different healthcare providers.

This can be highly beneficial for patients, as it allows them to receive treatment from any provider they choose without worrying about transferring their records between different providers.

Additionally, HL7 can help to improve the quality of patient care by providing a more accurate and complete picture of a patient’s health history.

What is HL7 3

Manage Medications

HL7 can help with medications in a few ways. The first is that it can standardize the way information is transmitted about medications. This means that everyone who needs to know about the specific medication will have access to the same information, which can help avoid errors.

HL7 can also help with drug interactions. By tracking all of the medications a patient is taking, HL7 can help identify potential problems with drug interactions before they happen.

Finally, HL7 can also be used to track patient adherence to medication regimens. This can help ensure that patients take their medications as prescribed and benefit most from them.

Maximize the Value of EHRs

Finally, by enabling healthcare providers to share information seamlessly across different

facilities and platforms, HL7 helps maximize the value of electronic health records.

Electronic health records (EHR) are essential to the healthcare industry.

They allow healthcare providers to store and track a patient’s medical history, including:

  • Allergies
  • Medications
  • Treatments

EHRs also make it easier for healthcare providers to share information with other providers and facilities, improving care coordination and patient outcomes.

Wrap Up

Overall, HL7 is a powerful tool that can help healthcare organizations of all sizes improve communication, manage patient records, and maximize the value of EHRs. Whether you want to streamline your clinical workflows or ensure that patient data is accurate and complete, HL7 may be the right solution.

So what are you waiting for? Start exploring HL7 today and see what it can do for your organization!

If you have questions about HL7, let us know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does HL7 work?

A: HL7 works by exchanging messages between different software systems. These messages contain the information that needs to be shared between systems. The messages are formatted in a specific way, and they’re typically transmitted over the internet or a secure network.

Q: Why do I need HL7?

A: If you want to exchange healthcare information with other providers or facilities, you’ll need to use HL7. HL7 is the most common healthcare standard in use today. It’s been adopted by healthcare providers worldwide and is supported by many software vendors.

Q: How can I get started with HL7? 

A: To explore HL7, you can start by visiting the website or speaking to an experienced healthcare consultant. Many organizations also offer training and support services to help you get up and running with HL7 as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Q: What are some of HL7’s most popular standards?

A: Some of HL7’s most popular standards include FHIR (a modernized standard for exchanging healthcare data), CDA (a standard for representing clinical documents), and V2 (a standard for exchanging information between different healthcare IT systems).

Q: What are the benefits of using HL7 standards?

A: The benefits of using HL7 standards include improved interoperability between healthcare systems, increased efficiency, and enhanced patient care.

Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett

Read Full Bio