Email from HL7 Classmate

Hi Julie,

I hope you are fine and doing best in life. I need your help.

I am going for HL7 certification – can you suggest me which certification is useful in today’s industry scenario – V2, V3 or CDA. I have heard a lot that still people use V2 in comparison to V3.


Can you guide me a little bit regarding this domain, specifically HL7 – What exactly any HL7 specialist do? Is there any particular jobs for HL7 specialist without much technical knowledge of coding and programming? I have these question from long time but I am not getting answers from anywhere.


Nice to hear from you! My understanding re HL7 versions is that the United States only uses V2, and in fact, I did not complete the course through to V3.  Please take this advice with a grain of salt, b/c HL7 is not my sweet spot.  Logically though, in the long-term, I believe healthcare entities will be using the latest version of HL7 as health information exchanges gain international connections. 


Good question as to what individuals do with HL7.  One of the HL7 students works for a company I am interviewing with now.  They provide solutions for health information exchanges and he is a Senior Software Engineer.  I imagine he works with HL7 on a daily basis as the HIEs are constantly adding new healthcare providers to their system.  I just sent a message to him, asking him questions about his position and also if there are individuals solely working with HL7.  Hang in there and I will let you know as soon as I hear from him! 


There is so much new in this industry, sometimes it is very difficult and frustrating to find answers!



I encourage and welcome comments from those of you in the know!  


About Julie

My credentials include a Master's Certificate in Health Informatics, a CHPSE certification (Certified HIPAA Privacy and Security Expert), and certification in HL7 (Health Level 7). The multidisciplinary approach to equipping myself to enter the healthcare IT sector is consistent with my professional background in sales, management, healthcare, and recruiting. I also have a BA in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan, which as been invaluable in my professional life for exceling in sales, change management, and laying down an excellent foundation from which I was able to build effective communication skills with professionals of all levels.

Posted on March 11, 2011, in HL7 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. This is the software engineer’s response: “I’m not working with HL7 messages at all.. at the moment. Our guys who is touching hl7 mostly, as you mention, parsing and translating data, preparing it for presentation to end user or for transmission to another system…. Basically, if you know standard you can work with that… hope it helps ;).”

  2. If you’re in the US: probably close to 100% of hospitals are using HL7 version 2 to support organization-internal workflows. The CDA standard (HL7 version 3 based e-Documents) is being used/promoted by HITSP as part of the Meaningful Use initiative; and is also used by other projects to promote the exchange of data between organizations.

    Whether certification makes sense is a cultural decision: in the US, the Indian subcontinent and Asia the certfication is generally regarded as being something of value.

    • Hi Rene,

      Thank you for your input! Even though I took an HL7 course, I was not aware it was a component of MU.

      What is your experience with HL7 and can you enlighten us about what types of roles work primarily with HL7?


  3. Thanks a lot everybody for sharing their knowledge. Can anybody elaborate what all technical know-how is required with HL7 knowledge to work in Health industry? Like I have seen in many job openings that people asked for command on .Net and C# language.

    Is there any jobs like HL7 analyst which only requires good knowledge of HL7 versions which help in creating messages from raw knowledge, somebody who will work as a bridge between client and programmer, whose responsibility would be to understand requirements and map it into HL7 messages and tell programmer about design and what all objects and classes need to created, their relationships so that programmer can build a software for those requirements.

    I am very naive for this industry and need help in finding out what all opportunities are there.


  4. This is from my fellow student:

    Hi Julie,
    Thanks once again.

    “parsing and translating data, preparing it for presentation to end user or for transmission to another system” –
    Parsing and translating data means converting raw medical knowledge like patient information into V2 messages, right? If yes, how do they perform this task, I mean do they use some software. I can do this manually like if somebody provides me some medical data then I can convert it into V2 messages and also in V3 XML but definitely this all work must be automated and here comes interface engines into picture but I do not have much idea about how these can be build and what all technologies and programming languages are in fashion to create these interface engines.

    I do think one would need to have a working knowledge of coding/programming to work in an HL7 capacity –
    Yes, it seems that coding and programming is required to fully use HL7 strengths but what all programming languages and technologies are required and used in industry.

    Asking to tutors is good idea, I have tried this, I have posted my doubts on Q&A forum but not much reply come back, only Iryna replied back but still lot of questions were unanswered. I will try again by asking them individually through mail.

    Thanks a lot Julie for your efforts and help.

  5. Working with HL7, v2 or v3, does not necessarily require programming knowledge or experience. You will e.g. find great value of using the HL7 to set up an information architecture in a hospital supporting different workflows internally in a system or across multiple systems. HL7 would allow you to specify in details which information that should be exchanged between different systems as part of a work flow (patient treatment process) without programming a line of code. This information architecture can then be used in tenders or as details specifications to the resources doing the actual implementation.

    Which technology that are being used for actually building the necessary interfaces to support the information architecture and information exchange doesn’t matter that much. The company I work for use java as our main technology for developing a healthcare specific integration engine based on HL7. This being said, we are communicating with HL7 interfaces build on other technologies.

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