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Health Language Blog

Understanding HL7 and its Fit with Meaningful Use

While Meaningful Use is on everyone’s mind, semantic interoperability may be an unfamiliar concept. Semantic interoperability, medical vocabulary, Meaningful Use, LOINC ®, and HL7 might seem even more of an alphabet soup. How do all these pieces fit together and how does it help my organization?

Healthcare is complex. The ability to exchange diverse clinical information generated during delivery of healthcare is essential to ensuring continuity of care and patient safety. Electronic exchange of information can occur

between providers
between providers and patients
between organizations
between care settings
At the heart of electronic information exchange are medical vocabularies and transmission standards. By requiring controlled vocabularies, Meaningful Use is laying the foundation for the healthcare environment to exchange information consistently and ubiquitously. A medical vocabulary allows for the consistent representation of medical concepts; however this representation is only part of the picture. It is not simply the exchange of data but transmitting data with shared meaning where value is realized.

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