Friday, September 19, 2008

In humor there is Truth

Eight something years ago, I got my start in healthcare, and quite a bit has happened since. I'd like to make a point here at the close of my third international HL7 working group meeting. Nothing has been made more apparent to me in the nearly six years I've been participating in HL7 activities than the fact that these are some of the funniest, serious, geekiest, and incredibly intelligent people to work with.

Members of HL7 have a pretty good sense of humor, most of it self deprecating, and I'd like to share some of that. About two years ago, HL7 held an international working group meeting in Cologne, Germany. Cologne is the home of the Dom Cathedral, an immense and inspiring piece of architecture.

This led to many comments on the similarity and differences between the DOM and the HL7 RIM, some of which I share below:

One is a relic from another century, the other is a church.
Both are built on firmly held religious beliefs.
One is stable.
One is built on solid architectural principals.
One of them actually gets used.
Both have been around for centuries.
Both are eternally under construction.
Both provide rites in a language that is nearly impossible to understand.
You can use either to look down on people.

These are hysterical, and in some ways, quite painfully true. HL7 is presently reengaging in trying to connect with its users, and has a new vision.
Its name is SOA-Aware Enterprise Application Framework (SAEAF -- pronounced safe). I'm not sure why we need a new name for principles that many organizations have been using for years, but that also seems to be geek behaviour.
SAEAF needs a bit of work (especially on the name), but what I've seen so far is very good stuff, developed by some really intelligent people. I won't try to explain SAEAF today, but as HL7 and I learn more, I will.
Feel free to add your own analogies between the DOM and the RIM, or see if you can draw new ones between some feature of Vancouver and HL7.


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