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Sunday, December 5, 2010

HL7 Wants Your Input

At the September Working Group Meeting, Bob Dolin, the current HL7 Board Chair reviewed briefly the HL7 Strategic Initiatives.  That document has now been published for comment by the public at the HL7 Ballot Site.

Their is no fee to provide feedback on this document through the HL7 ballot process (or any other for comment only document for tha matter) .  You are simply asked to register.

The document appears below.  Your input to HL7 will be used to update the 2012 Strategic Initiatives.

I have several comments of my own on this document.

  1. Strategic initiatives should be few, not many, so as to provide a point of focus.  Six strategic initiatives feels like too many. Three of the strategic initiatives:

    • Streamline the HL7 standards development process
    • Facilitate HL7 standards adoption and implementation
    • Define an overarching and internally consistent interoperability framework

    Look like they could be combined into one initiative whose goal is to Build better standards that are more responsive to customer needs.  They have overlapping (and sometimes conflicting) requirements that mean they should be addressed together.  This, FYI, was essentially my platform when I ran for the HL7 Board.
  2. An initiative is something that you do to reach a goal, an action to take, not an outcome.  Initiative #1:  Lead the development of global technical and functional health informatics standards is more descriptive of an outcome, rather than an initiative.  As a strategic initiative, it also fails the test of obviousness.  This one is a no-brainer.  Of course HL7 wants to be a leader in this role, that is not really a strategic initiative, but rather it's purpose to begin with..  We are after all the global authority on standards for interoperability for heath information technology according to the HL7 home page.  I think the key issue here is that HL7 wants to be more appreciated as a recognized leader in the development of standards, and the initiative should be more targeted towards that objective.

    The success critieria for this initiative are a mixed bag.  I think the first criteria for success: Industry responsiveness has been demonstrated through the timely development of key standards belongs with the group I identified above. 

    In that same vein: Working Group Meetings have been effective is a bit weak without discussing how WGM effectiveness is being measured.  The adjectives "healthy" and "appropriate" are not measureable as described without some discussion of this. There is an initiative to ensure that working groups are healthy as measured by certain criteria, but without explaining what "healthy" means, this is a bit nebulous.  One of my measurements of a healthy working group is the number of people standing for cochair elections.  Many working groups (Structured Documents included) have only one person standing for election to a leadership position.  That doesn't seem to be indicitative of a healthy working group. 

    I'm also not certain how ensuring WGMs are effective ties into the lead development efforts goal.  I'd be more satisfied with success critieria that talked about increasing membership, participation in working groups and working group meetings (which is a clear measure of recognition of the importance of HL7).
  3. The last strategic initiative: Align HL7's business and revenue models to be responsive to national bodies while supporting global standards development is interesting.  It speaks to HL7's need to remain an active body with suffucient funding, and it addresses a complaint that its current model of governance needs to be addressed to ensure that more international participation is encouraged.  The IP issue is tricky.  Under the current model, International Affiliates get to use HL7 IP as part of their association with HL7, and return some revenue from membership and sales of HL7 IP to HL7.  However, the membership and sales fees for International Affiliates are not uniform.  The challenge is that HL7 may need to use that IP in a new revenue model in a way that would trade some of the access provision to HL7 IP for more influence to the affiliates.  I'm still not sure how to address this one.
So, as I have it, the quick summary:  Reduce the document from six initiatives to three.  Make the first initiative stronger, less like a mission statement.  Combine adoption and customer responsiveness initiatives.  Keep working on the business model.

I think, as a point of focus, these are the areas that we (HL7) still need to be working on.  When we have demonstrated more success in these areas, it will be time to address new areas.

I will be happy to incorporate any comments I receive here into my input to HL7, but be advised that it will also be filtered by my understanding and goals.  If you want to make your own unfiltered comments to HL7, the best way to do that is register to comment on this document through the HL7 ballot site.

1 comment:

  1. "I'd be more satisfied with success critieria that talked about increasing membership, participation in working groups and working group meetings"
    ... Since many WGs members are 'volunteers,' How do you see HL7 accomplishing this?
    --A HL7 newbie