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Healthc Inform Res. 2011 Dec;17(4):214-23. doi: 10.4258/hir.2011.17.4.214. Epub 2011 Dec 31.

The Development of a Graphical User Interface Engine for the Convenient Use of the HL7 Version 2.x Interface Engine.

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Department of Medical Information Technology, Daegu Haany University, Daegu, Korea.



The Health Level Seven Interface Engine (HL7 IE), developed by Kyungpook National University, has been employed in health information systems, however users without a background in programming have reported difficulties in using it. Therefore, we developed a graphical user interface (GUI) engine to make the use of the HL7 IE more convenient.


The GUI engine was directly connected with the HL7 IE to handle the HL7 version 2.x messages. Furthermore, the information exchange rules (called the mapping data), represented by a conceptual graph in the GUI engine, were transformed into program objects that were made available to the HL7 IE; the mapping data were stored as binary files for reuse. The usefulness of the GUI engine was examined through information exchange tests between an HL7 version 2.x message and a health information database system.


Users could easily create HL7 version 2.x messages by creating a conceptual graph through the GUI engine without requiring assistance from programmers. In addition, time could be saved when creating new information exchange rules by reusing the stored mapping data.


The GUI engine was not able to incorporate information types (e.g., extensible markup language, XML) other than the HL7 version 2.x messages and the database, because it was designed exclusively for the HL7 IE protocol. However, in future work, by including additional parsers to manage XML-based information such as Continuity of Care Documents (CCD) and Continuity of Care Records (CCR), we plan to ensure that the GUI engine will be more widely accessible for the health field.


Computer Graphics; Health Level Seven; Medical Informatics; Software Design

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