HL7 Interface

HL7 Interface
27 Aug 2020

HL7 Interface

An HL7 interface engine, aka integration engine is a software program that processes data between numerous Healthcare IT systems. Think of it as the nerve center or traffic cop of all the data that flows between multiple technologies in a hospital or other Healthcare organization. The technical staff who set up and maintain an interface engine will create individual configurations, or threads for each type of data coming into and out of the interface.


Health Level Seven or HL7 refers to a set of international standards for transfer of clinical and administrative data between software applications used by various healthcare provider

HL7 Compliance

If your Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution is HL7 compliant, it means it conforms to the requirements of the standard. There are specific requirements an EHR software must meet. For example, the HL7 EHR Behavioral Health Functional Profile includes the functions and conformance criteria that is important for behavioral healthcare providers’ clinical records system


HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is the next generation standard that provides a framework for interoperability. It’s designed to facilitate the exchange of electronic healthcare information (EHI) between organizations. It was created to make it easier to connect different healthcare data elements using a web-based approach. Using this framework, data elements will each have a tag that acts as a unique identifier, just like the URL for an individual web page

HL7 Integration Challenges?

  1. Integration is essential for an application to be viable.
  2. There’s significant variance in how vendors implement HL7 standards
  3. Better integration is needed to create better apps
  4. Poor HL7 data semantics leaves the door open to misinterpretation
  5. Migrating to a new EHR may result in a loss of legacy data

HL7 Interface

Healthcare vendors will use the HL7 Interface specifications for the various message types as a starting point and also will expose an input and/or output interface for their application. An HL7 interface includes:

An export endpoint for the sending application
An import endpoint for the receiving application
A method of moving data between the two endpoints (TCP/IP communication is the most common transport)
All these elements together will constitute an HL7 interface

Top 5 HL7 Interfaces

1. Mirth

• The development cycle is intuitive and easy to implement. Integration can be both simple and robust (complex), which allows the engine to server a wide variety of systems and applications. The integrated database allows for quick and easy transaction retrieval and reprocessing. Support has been stellar as well. All in all is is exactly what we were looking for in an integration engine.
• Mirth Connect offers a lot of flexibility for a developer, because you can do NEARLY anything with Javascript. However, there are limitations to the things you can do when compared to using Javascript to build a website or app. Mirth Connect is a terrible consumer of server/vm resources.
• It has been able to meet every demand we have thrown at it. It has become the foundation of our analytics and reporting systems.

2. Cloverleaf

The support is great and anytime we have a project that I am not sure how to proceed with, support has been great to work and help plan what is needed. We have never missed a mark with Cloverleaf and have been recognized as one the most connected
• Fabulous HL7 and EDI engine; however, everything “specialized requires an additional module.
• It is a very stable interface engine and provides great flexibility with the availability to write TCL code and connect to external databases for more complex tasks.

3. Corepoint

Relatively easy learning curve to get productive with the engine. The documentation is heads and tails above anything else I’ve seen. And their customer support is the bar all other should aspire to. They are excellent, eager to help and follow-up to ensure your questions or issues are resolved to your satisfaction.
• Initial FTP functionally was lacking in support for large file delivery, but that has now been addressed with the newer version.


• Healthshare’s Ensemble provided the necessary tool to integrate several systems quickly and easily. It has a fantastic mirroring technology so that the systems will have little to no downtime.
• It is very configurable, which is great. However, it is difficult to manage all the customizations.
• Ensemble has impressed me in what it can do besides being an interface engine. As an interface engine it does what it should and is flexible. The analytic options are what sets Ensemble apart.

5. Rhapsody

It’s easy to use once you get past the learning curve. They offer great training, the support is decent, the engine has a lot of capability, and under the throughput we have
it at, it’s stable.
• I have been involved with developing interfaces for over 10 years, last 5 in Healthcare and Rhapsody. I find the tool to be the best I have used and supports our needs well. I have found Orion support to be excellent.”
• Stable, easy to use interface engine that is feature rich. The FHIR implementation seems a bit complex and I am hoping in coming releases they simplify it. The vendor listens to its customers and over 10 of my enhancement requests have appeared in the 6.2 release. This is fantastic for a company of this size to respond that well to a
single customer.
• Rhapsody is a very mature product, with significant integration tools. Greater flexibility around the handling of large files and shorter retention for higher rate interfaces would be helpful

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