HL7

Altova at Oracle OpenWorld 2009

Today was the first big day at Oracle OpenWorld 2009 in San Francisco and Altova is exhibiting at booth# 3750 in the Moscone West hall this year.

We had great traffic at our booth already on the first day and lots of people were interested in how MapForce can help them to move data into and out of the database and how to transform different data formats quickly and efficiently. Especially the new XBRL and HL7 data formats supported by MapForce 2009 appeared to be exactly what people wanted.
There was also a lot of interest in the database differencing features of DiffDog and DatabaseSpy - it appears that a lot of people are in the process of migrating data between systems, and that is exactly where these tools can add tremendous value.
There is a also a lot of talk about MySQL at the show this year - due to Oracle's acquisition of Sun - and I'm happy to report that all our tools do, of course, work great with both Oracle and MySQL as well as all other major databases.
If you are at the show this year, make sure you visit our booth and say hello. I am usually at the booth every morning...

Electronic health records, HL7, and XML data mapping

The recent appointment of Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary for Health and Human Services yesterday marks another important step in President Obama's drive for health-care reform. As the President has stated numerous times, including during his recent Address to Joint Session of Congress, his goals for health-care reform very clearly include electronic health records:

"Our recovery plan will invest in electronic health records and new technology that will reduce errors, bring down costs, ensure privacy, and save lives."

In essence, electronic health records directly translates to the HL7 family of standards and it is, therefore, important for software developers to be able to integrate HL7 data in their applications swiftly and efficiently. No other tool makes this easier to accomplish and more affordable to do than Altova MapForce.

MapForce is a data mapping and conversion tool that now supports HL7 v2.x EDI standards as well as the new HL7 v3.x XML-based standards and allows a developer to easily map data between HL7 and various other data sources, including relational databases, XML, web services, and even plain text files from legacy systems. Specifically, MapForce makes it easy to map data from an HL7 electronic health record into an in-house relational database.

Specifically, you can now download the MapForce HL7 Installer, which is free for all licensed MapForce customers, and includes all HL7 EDI message formats in various versions so that you can pick and choose the exact transaction and message structure for electronic health records that you need to implement in your organization:

And the best thing about MapForce: once a mapping between any HL7 message and your internal data structures and/or datbases is defined visually in the intuitive user interface, MapForce will auto-generate all the necessary program code in Java or C# that implements this data mapping, so that this code can be integrated into your in-house applications with ease. By doing that, MapForce eliminates the need to write hundreds or thousands of lines of infra-structure code that would otherwise be cumbersome to write, error-prone, and a nightmare to debug.

Using MapForce to auto-generate that data integration code can result in huge cost-savings and improved efficiency, which is critical in today's tough economic environment!

In addition to HL7, MapForce does, of course, also support the ANSI X12 transactions required for HIPAA compliance, so it can be used for all aspects of electronic health-care reform.

For more information, see also this article on HL7 Data Integration on the official Altova Blog.

XBRL and HL7 thoughts

Kurt Cagle has a great new article on his blog on the O'Reilly Community site titled "XBRL Becomes Mandatory - This Should be Interesting", where he writes (emphasis added by me):

"From the IT perspective, the formal adoption of XBRL as a mandatory requirement is likely to have a number of implications, not least of which being a suddenly high demand for XML skilled people in general, and XBRL people in particular, as well as a boon for XBRL service providers and tools vendors. As with the OOXML/ODF controversy of 2007, it is very likely that 2009 will be a banner year for XML technologies in general, as two of the key issues that are highly visible this year - financial transparency within corporations and the streamlining of health care, both involve rich XML standards - XBRL for financial reporting, HL7 v3 for electronic health records."

I couldn't agree more, which is why we released support for both XBRL and HL7 in our recent v2009 product line. Make sure you read Kurt's entire article, as he has some great thoughts and insight on the current economic situation as well.