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New HL7 Online Training Available


HL7 is an international standard for transmitting clinical and administrative information within healthcare domains such as hospitals, pharmaceutical, medical device, and insurance entities.

Altova has just released a new MapForce course as part of its line of free online training modules. This course focuses on HL7 integration using both the EDI (version 2.x) and XML (version 3.x) formats. Each of the three modules include step-by-step tutorials, evaluation exercises, and a chance to work with real HL7 files and functions. hl7 Go on, join the EHR revolution! Download a free 30-day trial of MapForce, go to our training page, and check out powerful HL7 mapping from Altova!

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Updated Industry Schema Library


“The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” – Andrew S. Tanenbaum (attr.)

Maybe we can help. Altova’s updated schema library is a collection of over 100 industry and cross-industry XML Schema and DTD specifications – all in one central location. XML standards (and technology standards in general) are used to promote information sharing and interoperability across disparate software and systems. In a perfect world, this would translate to a global network of data being exchanged seamlessly between information partners… in a perfect world. However, there are some industries that are reaping the rewards of standardization, and hopefully these efforts will pave the way for more. Very recently we have seen an increased interest and even some actionable mandates in XBRL for financial data, HL7 for exchanging healthcare messages, and NIEM for inter-agency communication within the United States government. Of course, if you do find yourself working with some conflicting technology standards, you should probably take a look at Altova MapForce. With native support for visually mapping pretty much any data formats you can think of (XML, databases, flat files, EDI, Excel 2007+, XBRL, and Web services), easily adding data processing functions, and a whole bunch of automation options, you may even find that creating data integration solutions is well… kind of fun. Check out Altova’s Industry Schema Library, or download a free 30-day trial of MapForce today!

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HL7 and XML Healthcare Data Integration at HIMSS10


Altova is kicking off the 2010 trade show season with our first participation in the annual conference of the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The HIMSS10 conference will be held on March 1-4 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. We’re looking forward to demonstrating the functionality in XMLSpy 2010 for editing, analyzing, and validating HL7 healthcare data. We will also show how MapForce 2010 can map older EDI-based legacy healthcare records to the latest XML-based HL7 v3.x standard. The example below shows a simple MapForce mapping to update an HL7 v2.6 message to v3.x. MapForce mapping for HL7 This will be our first opportunity to demonstrate the new Altova MissionKit 2010 Release 2 with significant speed and performance enhancements across the product line. Come see the new 64-bit versions for yourself, or download a free trial today. If you are one of the expected 30,000+ attendees traveling to Atlanta for HIMSS10, stop by and see us at booth 5744. Or click here to get more information on the Altova MissionKit and HL7.

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Adding z-segments to HL7 Mapping Components


When mapping HL7 EDI components, it is often necessary to add locally-defined information, or z-segments, to accommodate additional fields not included in the standard. Following is a simple walkthrough that will demonstrate how to add z-segments to the HL7 configuration files that are available as a free download with MapForce. In the example below we will be adding a ZLR segment to an HL7 2.3 Observation Results Unsolicited (ORU) message. The ZLR segment is commonly used for adding additional information for legacy laboratory-based reporting. ZLR attributes are provided below:

SEQLENGTHOPTDATA TYPEELEMENT NAME
1106trueXADOrdering Provider’s Address
290trueXONOrdering Facility Name
3106trueXADOrdering Facility Address
440trueXTNOrdering Facility Phone
520trueSNPatient’s Age
640trueXPNNext of Kin/Associated Party Name
740trueCENext of Kin/Associated Party Relationship
8106trueXADNext of Kin/Associated Party Address
940trueXTNNext of Kin/Associated Party Phone

The ZLR segment must follow each OBR (Observation Request) segment, and there can only be one ZLR per OBR. 1. Go to C:Program FilesAltovaMapForce2009MapForceEDIHL7.v230 to access the MapForce configuration files for HL7 version 2.3. 2. First, locate the message configuration file in question, ORU_R01, and open it in XMLSpy – or any text editor.[i] Add a ZLR just below OBR. hl7 mapping 3. Save this file as ORU_R01_ZLR (or any unique name you choose). 4. Now open the EDI collection file and add the new message to the list.[i] hl7 mapping 5. Next, simply open the HL7 SEGMENT file to add the segment details to the GENERATE DATA section as provided above.[i] hl7 mapping 6. Finally, scroll down to the GENERATE SEGMENTS section and add the following: hl7 mapping 7. Now, let’s access our newly customized HL7 EDI mapping component in MapForce. Open MapForce and choose Insert > EDI. In the Browse EDI collections dialog, select HL7.v230 and scroll down to select ORU_R01_ZLR. hl7 mapping Press OK to insert. 8. Your new mapping component will appear in the MapForce design pane with the new ZLR segment included. hl7 mapping Now you can complete your data integration design by inserting another source or target data structure(s) and dragging lines to connect nodes. MapForce supports mapping to/from XML, databases, flat files, EDI, XBRL, and Web services. [i] If you are working in XP, you will have to unclick “read-only” in the Properties dialog. Vista users will need to copy the file to another location before editing – you can then copy the file back to the appropriate HL7 collection directory. For more information about mapping HL7 and other EDI formats, please see the MapForce feature pages – or download a 30-day free trial of MapForce today!

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New Data Mapping Demo Video Released


We’ve recently updated our MapForce demo video to highlight the new functionality added in MapForce 2009, including XBRL mapping and HL7 mapping. Watch the short demo to see MapForce in action and learn about this new functionality. And if you’d like more detailed tutorials, check out Altova’s MapForce training course, which is free and available on demand.   Data Integration Demo

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HL7 Data Integration


By now, you may be aware of the global push that is being made for data transparency – both in the realm of financial reporting* with a recent XBRL mandate in the U.S., and electronic health records – and that these efforts are focused on the creation and maintenance of XML standards. Of course most of you are among the XML savvy and can feel free to please join me in a resounding “duh” to the rest of the world that is only now beginning to realize the value of XML data in reducing errors, lowering costs, and generally increasing the overall efficiency of data management. But for now, let’s focus a bit on healthcare data and standards. Both HL7 and the HIPAA mandated X12N formats healthcare data exchange have traditionally been EDI-based, but the newest version of HL7 (version 3.x), released in 2005 is XML-based and constrained by a formal framework (HDF) that allows for an evolving data model within a carefully defined development methodology. Yes people, standards – bring it on!! Well, of course there is a need to map this data from the HL7 EDI to HL7 XML, to and from backend systems, to Web services and beyond. So what now? Do you need to become an expert in all of these formats? Weren’t standards supposed to make things EASIER? Please ladies and gentleman, return to your seats! Let me draw your attention once again to MapForce, the coolest data integration tool on the market, with support for mapping and converting data to and from XML, databases, flat files, EDI (including HL7, X12, and EDIFACT), Excel 2007, and Web services. HL7 mapping in MapForce The shot above shows a simple graphical mapping updating an HL7 v2.6 message to v3.x. Altova MapForce is an any-to-any visual data mapping tool that supports mapping HL7 data, in its legacy EDI or newer XML-based format, to and from XML, databases, flat files, other EDI formats, and Web services. Mappings are implemented by simply importing the necessary data structures (MapForce ships with configuration files for the latest EDI standards and offers the full set of past and present HL7 standards as a free download) and dragging lines to connect nodes. A built-in function library lets you add advanced data filters and functions to further manipulate the output data. MapForce can also facilitate the automation of your HL7 transaction workflow through code generation in Java, C#, or C++ and an accessible command line interface. Additional support for mapping HL7 data to and from Web services gives healthcare organizations the ability to meet new technology challenges and changing enterprise infrastructures as they unfold within internal and external provider domains. Read more on our new HL7 tools page in the Altova Solutions Center.   *The Altova MissionKit has been infused with XBRL support to meet financial reporting mandates.

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