How Does HL7 SAIF Benefit the Healthcare IT Organizations?

How Does HL7 SAIF Benefit the Healthcare IT Organizations?
The HL7 Services-Aware Interoperability Framework Canonical Definition (SAIF-CD) shares the consistency between all artifacts and allows a standardized approach to enterprise architecture development and implementation and measure the consistency. The HL7 is a standard for sharing information between medical applications. The messages shared using the HL7 standard are shared as a collection of different messages, where each message transmits an item that is related to health. 

The aim of the HL7 Service-Aware Interoperability Framework Canonical Definition is to provide the top-level specification of SAIF. It is a framework that is essential to rationalize the interoperability of standards. It describes a canonical form of SAIF which can be used to an organization’s implementation requirements through the implementation guide. HL7 SAIF targets interoperability projects among different organizations. 

Furthermore, it aims enterprise interoperability objects and organizations building large-scale integrated health IT infrastructures at the national level. 

Overview of SAIF (Services Aware Interoperability Framework) 

SAIF is an architecture for achieving interoperability but is not a whole-solution design for architecture management. 

It consists of different sections, including Interoperability Specification Matrix (ISM), Information Framework (IF), Governance Framework, and more. It represents the best practices and concepts from different frameworks.

Background of HL7 SAIF

The development of HL7 SAIF began in 2008 and was directed by a high-level set of requirements communicated to the HL7 Architecture Board by the Chief Technology Officer and other senior representatives. The ARB (Architecture Board) was directed to provide an enterprise with a systematic approach that would allow the description of several technological components but not limited to HL7 specified artifacts. As soon as ARB began considering its task, the effort soon started focusing on a set of canonical frameworks that consists of different languages.  

The SAIF-CD (canonical definition) defines a set of concepts that complies with SAIF IG-specified models that can be defined. These models support different approaches to interoperability, including services and messages, and allow the successful realization of different purposes. The HL7 SAIF is intended to be used by the authors of the enterprise’s SAIF IG, and it is valued to enterprise analysts, developers, and other architecture stakeholders. 

Governance Framework

It describes the motivation and content of the governance framework. Additionally, it defines the administrative context in which the interoperable functions are maintained. It uses governance documentation adopted from a publication (Thomas ERL, 2011). A SAIF-IG operationalizes the GF in organization-specific SAIF IG Grammar. 

Governance Framework provides a language for individual organizations to define sets of terms and processes and ensure a common understanding between the organizations that are focused on achieving a negotiated shared purpose. It is made up of different interdependent concepts that together define who makes the rules, what are they, how they are measured, and what processes are needed to implement the process. Governance framework system must consider all these measures together:

1. Percepts

It is an authoritative rule of action. It includes objectives that define a percept and establish its responsibility and goals. Policies in percepts establish decision-making constraints and consequences in terms of prohibitions and authorizations. The standards specify the compulsory formats and actions that people required to use and carry out to implement more policies. 

2. People

People make decisions according to the constraints stipulated by governance precepts. People should understand the purposes of percepts and accept the responsibilities and authorities defined. 

3. Processes

It is a collection of steps that takes place in a definite manner and leads to an objective. Every step taken should have one or more actors. Governance processes provide a means to enforce policies and take the right action in the support system. 

The Behavioral framework may be used to specify other processes. Any process can be considered as a management activity, but a governance process ensures compliance with its Percepts. Automated processes could coordinate tasks and make a decision based on the presented data.  

4. Metrics

It provides information that is used to measure and verify compliance with percepts. It improves the visibility and effectiveness of the governance system. Furthermore, it also measures trends and requests for waivers. 

The ECCF (Enterprise Consistency and Conformity Framework) describes the types of metrics as conformance statements that are used to check whether technology components can be certified according to the behaviors specified. 

Behavioral Framework

It provides a set of constructs for highlighting the behavioral semantics of specifications and allows working interoperability. Accountability describes the purpose of the different technology components that are involved in a particular scenario. The Behavioral Framework is technology-neutral and can be used with model-driven specification stacks. 

The BF languages describe who does, what, when, and how. The contracts are expressed as explicit or implicit agreements at several jurisdictional boundaries, including components, systems, and organizations. The Governance Framework provides the language that defines non-technical constructs of shared purpose and binds technical risk management. 

How Governance Framework and Behavioral Framework are Related

The Behavioral language provides the language to describe the transactions and process which are necessary to deliver a technical realization of a specified shared purpose scenario. The GF provides the language for various organizations and technical development activities that must be managed through the overarching governance process. Operations, obligations, and permissions are the terms that are mentioned in GF but not defined in BF. 

Enterprise Consistency and Conformity Framework

The main purpose of Enterprise Consistency and Conformity Framework is to allow the working of interoperability between organizations and systems. This structure organizes, defines, and relates a set of artifacts that specifies the semantics of software specification or any other system-of interest. 

It provides an organizational framework in which artifacts are kept sorted through content. For instance, a UML diagram contains static data construct that shares between the different structures. 

Interoperability Specification Matrix (ISM)

ISM shows a 5-column-by-3-row matrix which distributes the multiple aspects of certain components specification across various cells of the matrix. It is based on proven cognitive models and describes complex systems that revolve around the partitioning complexity on several dimensions while keeping an eye on the dimensions from multiple perspectives. Implementation Specification Template is defined by a particular SAIF IG and specifies the content of specific artifacts in the perspectives of the ISM. 

The IEEE states that interoperability allows the systems to exchange information and to use the information exchanged. The information received depends on the intent of exchange. Semantic interoperability processes the information received with the same understanding of the meaning of the information and uses the information received appropriately. 

Information Framework (IF)

It is a SAIF-compliant recasting of HL7 expertise associated with the specification of static semantics. It draws information from different sources like storyboards, HL7 core principles, reference information models, and others. 

It defines the language that is required for defining the informational semantics and is relevant to scenarios, including information, vocabulary bindings, and models. Furthermore, it also defines the language to describe the patterns of documents, messages, and other transformations. 

We, at Covetus, are specialized in healthcare services and offer expertise in a range of healthcare standards like DICOM, HL7 FHIR, ICD-9, ICD-10, and more. 
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