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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

SAEAF Revisited

You may recall this box from Demystifying SAEAF ...maybe

Well, I joined a telephone call and web exchange with a number of really bright people who are, like me, still confused about the HL7 Services Aware Enterprise Application Framework or SAEAF as it is known in HL7 circles.

We spent a good bit of time working on the "elevator pitch" about SAEAF.  What we came up with was the following:

SAEAF provides a framework for specifying how HL7 products integrate and function from different viewpoints and levels of abstraction. When HL7 products agree upon common viewpoint and abstraction details, they can be used together.

SAEAF needs to be looked at not from the perspective of one HL7 Standard or work product, but from the viewpoint of the HL7 work products as a whole.  Think about each of the edges of the box as parts of a LEGO® block. A correctly designed HL7 Enterprise Architecture will use common measurements for the connectors that allow each of the blocks to snap neatly together. This illustrates the concept of conformance to the architecture. It requires that we have some ability to test conformance and measure how well different HL7 products stack up against each other.


  1. I don't get why HL-7 is building its own way of doing enterprise architecture. The Open Group has done this in a standardized way via TOGAF The is documentation and tools that work with TOGAF today, it also plays well with UML, many of the tools have plug-ins. TOGAF also maps very nicely to the Federal Enterprise Architecture for those of us that have to deal with government agencies. Is there a link that can tell me how the existing ways of doing enterprise architecture were eliminated?

  2. I think the answer is because we aren't actually building an enterprise architecture in the normal sense, because HL7 is not a normal enterprise. We're building a framework that explains how what we do relates to an enterprise architecture

  3. Thanks Grahame. I understand what you mean, a framework is not an enterprise architecture. Basically what I am saying is that TOGAF (or the FEAF for that matter) are also frameworks that help organizations describe what they are doing in relation to an enterprise architecture. There are many different flavors of enterprise, that is why organizations, such as The Open Group, have gotten together and developed standards for approaching these issues. For HL7 to develop its own standard for approaching enterprise architecture makes as much sense as having OMG developing health care messaging standards.

  4. SAEAF newly known as SAIF (Service Aware Interoperability Framework) to avoid the same time of questions I see here, is specifically concerned with interoperability of services. It is not an Enterprise Architecture. Yes, the original name helped with this misunderstanding.