The HL7 Version 3 (V3) Standard

In the late 1990s HL7 started work on a new generation of standards known as Version 3 (V3). This new generation differs from V2 in that all standards developed under V3 arise from an underlying Reference Information Model (RIM), by applying a set of development steps defined in the HL7 Development Framework (HDF).

The aim of V3 is to produce consistency in definition of different information objects and their representation in messages, thus allowing for easier implementation and the definition of clearer conformance requirements. Furthermore, the underlying modelling approach allows for the definition of standards for information representation other than just messages including forms, decision-support mechanisms and electronic patient record structures.

HL7 V3 standards are developed as syntax-independent models. The current preferred implementation technology is Extensible Mark-up Language (XML).

For full details of HL7 V3 and to download the standard and supporting documents, please go to HL7 Internationals’s HL7 Version 3 Product Suite pages.


A variety of tools to support HL7 V3 is available from The HL7 GForge site.  This site is intended to support HL7 Tool Developers (Toolsmiths) and Work Groups in managing their projects. All of the tools available on the HL7 GForge site are designed to support the development and publication of HL7 Version 3 Messaging Standards. These tools carry a license that restricts their use to activities that support the development of standards by HL7 and the HL7 International Affiliate Organizations.

You can access the HL7 GForge site from  If you do not have a GForge account, you can request one from the site.