Inventory of Health Care Information Standards. Health Level 7 Reference Information Model


I. Category/Classification

Information model

II. Standards Development Organization (SDOs)

Quality Assurance/Data Modeling Committee of Health Level Seven (HL7).

III. ANSI Accreditation

HL7 is an ANSI accredited standards developing organization.

IV Name of framework, architecture or model

Health Level 7 Reference Information Model (RIM).

V Contact for More Information:

George W. Beeler, Jr.


voice: 507-284-9129

fax: 507-284-0796

VI Description of framework, architecture or model

This will be an object-oriented information model of the classes present in the healthcare domain about which Health Level 7 messages are transmitted. Its purpose will be to provide the precise definition of the content of HL7 messages. The Reference Information Model will be part of a set of models which include a Use-Case Model, the Reference Information Model, an Interaction Model, and a Message Specification Model. Each of these is linked and interdependent.

The scope of the Reference Information Model is the healthcare domain in general, with particular attention to clinical care activities within healthcare. This is the same scope as the HL7 organization. This model has not yet been implemented. It will see its initial draft presentation and evolution at the HL7 working group meetings in January 1997. No special tooling is required to read and review the model, as it will be fully specified by its literary and graphic expressions. A processable form of the model will available as a database in Microsoft Access.

VII Readiness of framework, architecture or model

The Reference Information Model is currently undergoing its initial draft development pointing towards review and use within the Technical Committees of HL7 in January of 1997. Draft version 0.6 of the HL7 RIM can be found at This web-site provides access to a literary expression in Microsoft Word, html expressions, graphic expressions, and the Access database.

The current release is a draft version. As with every data model, there will never be a "final version." The reference information model will evolve as the developments within HL7 continue to expand. Implementation of this model involves its use in the definition of healthcare information interchange messages. This process will begin in January 1997.

The present release of the RIM is relatively complete in scope. It will undergo further development in terms of adding additional detail to the Version 0.6 currently available. Additional releases of the DRAFT RIM are planned on a monthly basis between now and the HL7 working group meetings in January. Subsequent to that, the Reference Information Model will probably be updated in preparation for each subsequent HL7 working group meeting. HL7 has not yet determined whether (or how) to manage releases of the RIM for use external to the HL7 Working Group MDF process.

The use of the model is not dependent upon a particular set of tools. However, for an organization to use the full message development framework, tooling will be a necessary support activity. The selection of such tools for use by HL7 will occur during 1997. The use of the model is not dependent on any RFI or RFP process.

VIII Indicator of Market Acceptance

Because the Reference Information Model is being published electronically, we do not have a count on how many have been requested or distributed. This development of this model drew upon models from a number of vendor and healthcare provider organizations. It has been provided back as a courtesy to those same organizations. It is uncertain the degree to which they will take advantage of it.

Presumably, the reference information model will be used by the HL7 affiliates in Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, and New Zealand. No other SDO's are committed at this time.

IX Level of Specificity

I am uncertain of the intent of this question and therefore cannot respond.

X Identifiable Costs

Expenses have not yet been fully established, but it assumed that licensure costs would be nominal, on the order of $250, if HL7 elects to publish versions of the RIM for external use.