The HSSP is a joint activity of HL7 and OMG. In HL7, it is a project within the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) SIG. In OMG, it has a similar relationship to the Healthcare Domain Task Force (HDTF). Many project participants are members of both HL7 and OMG.
The scope and aims of the project are described concisely in this press release issued by HL7 and OMG in early 2005, and at more length in the project charter.
To facilitate working across two rather different organizations, the HSSP steers by principles rather than process. The principles, adopted early in 2005, are as follows:
Operate as one project focusing the expertise of both HL7 and OMG to the advantage of the entire effort.
Don’t re-invent wheels. We will draw on previous work whenever appropriate.
Don’t produce shelfware. We will prioritize activities based upon expressed business interest as demonstrated by commitment of resources to participate and implement.
Service Specifications shall be well defined and clearly scoped and with well understood requirements and responsibilities.
Services should have a unity of purpose (e.g., fulfilling one domain or area) but services themselves may be composable.
Services will be specified sufficiently to address functional, semantic, and structural interoperability.
It must be possible to replace one conformant service implementation with another meeting the same service specification while maintaining functionality of the system.
Since then, we have had to work out how to follow these principles in practice, alongside making progress on the technical work of services specification. Our discussions on methodology have been thorough, involving experienced bureaucrats in both HL7 and OMG. This has had a very positive effect in gaining support in both bureaucracies, and although it has also meant that a higher proportion of our available time than we might have wished has been spent on developing artefacts such as the Service Development Framework and Service Functional Model Boilerplate , we have found that this level of documentation is very useful in getting a a new specification activity off the ground.
Our current projects include:
EIS - Entity Identification Service, to support identity management for entities of all kinds (especially people) within and across healthcare organizations
RLUS - Record Location and Update Service, to support location, retrieval and supply of information within ands across healthcare organizations
DSS - Decision Support Service, to support patient evaluation and other decision support services, and under development by the Clinical Decision Support TC.
CTS II – Common Terminology Service II – is under development by the Vocabulary TC, with good two-way contacts to the HSSP.
The main events and timescales planned for all our current specification projects are set out in the Project Plan.
In order to gain and maintain support from the employers of participants, potential supporters and sponsors, and potential adopters (heavily overlapping but not identical groups) , considerable effort is also going into engaging with the broader international healthcare community. The HL7 UK workshop on 31 Jan 2006 is one example of this; another is the public slide deck and flyer, that are shaped principally by current US concerns regarding healthcare record interoperability.
If you would like to find out more, then find us on http://www.hl7.org : select “Special Interest Groups” under the “Committees” heading on the front page, then select the “Services Oriented Architecture” SIG from the list on the left hand side. We only became a SIG in early Jan 2006, so the document library linked from this webpage is still under construction.
In the meantime, a snapshot collection of current documents has been made available in the HL7 UK members repository, to support the 31 Jan 2006 event.