At a Glance
Interchange Standards Versioning and Maintenance
STATEMENT: Enable version control according to local policies to ensure maintenance of utilized interchange standards.
Version control of an interchange standard implementation includes the ability to accommodate changes as the source interchange standard undergoes its natural update process.
The life cycle of any given standard results in changes to its requirements. It is critical that an organization know the version of any given standard it uses and what its requirements and capabilities are.
For example, if the organization migrates to an HL7 v2.5 messaging standard, it may choose to take advantage of new capabilities such as specimen or blood bank information. The organization may find that certain fields have been retained for backwards compatibility only or withdrawn altogether. The EHR-S needs to be able to handle all of these possibilities.
Standards typically evolve in such a way as to protect backwards compatibility. On the other hand, sometimes there is little, or no, backwards compatibility when an organization may need to replace an entire standard with a new methodology. An example of this is migrating from HL7 v2 to HL7 v3.
Interchange standards that are backward compatible support exchange among senders and receivers who are using different versions. Version control ensures that those sending information in a later version of a standard consider the difference in information content that can be interchanged effectively with receivers, who are capable of processing only earlier versions. That is, senders need to be aware of the information that receivers are unable to capture and adjust their business processes accordingly.
Version control enables multiple versions of the same interchange standard to exist and be distinctly recognized over time.
Since interchange standards are usually periodically updated, concurrent use of different versions may be required.
Large (and/or federated) organizations typically need to use different versions of an interchange standard to meet internal organizational interoperability requirements.
For example, the enterprise-wide standard might use HL7 v2.5 for Lab messages, but some regions of the enterprise might be at a lower level.
It should be possible to retire deprecated interchange standards versions when applicable business cycles are completed while maintaining obsolete versions. An example use of this is for possible claims adjustment throughout the claim's life cycle.
When interchange standards change over time, it is important that retrospective analysis and research correlate and note gaps between the different versions' information structures to support the permanence of concepts over time. An example use of this is the calculation of outcome or performance measures from persisted data stores where one version of a relevant interchange standard, e.g., CDA Release 1 captures the relevant data, e.g., discharge data, differently than CDA Release 2.
HL7 EHR FM R1