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HL7 Standards to be Free

September 4, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Health Level Seven International (HL7), a developer of interoperability standards for healthcare IT, is making most of its intellectual property (IP), including standards, freely available under licensing terms. The new policy is expected to take effect in the first quarter of 2013.

"HL7’s vision is to make its collaborative, consensus-driven standards the best and most widely used in healthcare," Charles Jaffe, M.D., PhD, CEO of HL7 stated. "By eliminating this barrier to implementation, we can come closer to realizing our goal, in which healthcare IT can reduce costs and improve the quality of care. Coupled with increasing government demand for standards that do not require a licensing fee, our decision to move toward free standards is perfectly aligned. To this end, we have already received enthusiastic support for this decision from key healthcare stakeholders."

In a produced statement, John Halamka, M.D., MS, CIO at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School said: “"This announcement is the most significant standards development in the past decade, said “It ensures that every stakeholder will have ready access to the content standards they need for Meaningful Use. Enormous thanks to everyone who worked on this effort.”

The volunteer-created standards and other select pieces of intellectual property will be made available to the international healthcare community after a period of careful analysis and planning by HL7. Until then, the traditional IP/membership model which includes access to, and the right to use HL7 standards, will continue to be in effect. Following completion of the analysis, HL7 expects to transition directly to a model in which use of HL7 standards and select IP is independent of HL7 membership

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