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Friday, March 25, 2016

I really think we should ... Oh look, squirrel

So the question came up last working group meeting about whether to pursue use of the FHIR StructureDefinition as a mechanism to capture CDA Templates in some meeting somewhere.  I wasn't at that meeting or I would have shown my distaste for the idea then.  Grahame's been playing with StructureDefinition and has demonstrated quite successfully I think that he can use it to represent models for everything from HL7 Version 3, CDA (being a version 3 derived spec, that should be no surprise), to I would guess, V2, X12 and even arbitrary XML schema and other models provided they follow a few fairly simple rules.

Thus, I introduce to you the squirrel in question.  It's a cute squirrel, and even a rather powerful one.

Why do we need this?  We have a perfectly good standard for representing CDA templates if we would just use it in the tools HL7 presently uses to publish so much of its own documentation in.

But it isn't FHIR related, and loses to the flavor of the month (year? decade?) I think.  I suspect chasing this squirrel will only distract any further work on something else that might benefit the HL7 community at large ... for example, liberating CDA Templates from Trifolia in a standard format.

The only benefit I see to this distraction may have is to keep people tied up in a harmless activity, at least for anyone but the squirrel.  But I think StructureDefinition will survive that race.