The HL7 Standard

“HL7” is an abbreviation and stands for “Health Level Seven”. The improvement of efficiency and quality of medical care goes hand in hand with the development of information structures within and between health care facilities. The international data standard HL7, which was developed especially for the health care system, enables communication and cooperation between almost all institutions and areas of the health care system.

HL7 has its origins in the USA, where it was developed in its first version in 1987 after a first meeting at the university hospital in Palo Alto. In the meantime, a commercial organisation has been formed (, which distributes HL7 today in version 2.3 (published in 1996) and is at the same time the “umbrella organisation” of all HL7 users and coordinates their activities.

Characteristics of HL7

  • International Standard
  • Global organisation with national representatives
  • HL7 meets a wide range of requirements, from logistics to image communication, from archiving to allocation
  • In particular, HL7 cooperates with IHE, an initiative of health professionals and industry, to improve data exchange between computer systems in the health sector
  • HL7 standards are widely used in the IHE profiles
  • HL7 also cooperates closely with other standards, including ISO
  • GS1: Reciprocal agreement for use in the logistics and healthcare sectors
  • HL7 uses international terminology such as LOINC and  SNOMED CT
  • CDISC: harmonisation with HL7 for clinical research

Source (German): HL7 Benutzergruppe Schweiz,