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It's All About the Community

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 18, 2016 12:31:04 PM / by Melva Peters posted in hl7, hl7 community, work groups, hl7 working group meeting

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It's All About the Community

Someone recently asked me why I participate at HL7 and it didn’t take me long to answer: “It’s because of the community”. I wasn’t surprised when many other people answered the same in a recent HL7 Pulse survey.

My first experience at an HL7 Working Group Meeting

I first started participating just prior to the May 2008 Working Group Meeting (WGM) in Phoenix, AZ and I had no idea of the number people that I would be able to call friends and colleagues more than eight years later. I also had no idea of how much I would learn and grow from my participation! 

I felt so intimidated at that first meeting – it’s a very daunting experience for a first-time attendee. I think back to the conversations I had in Phoenix where I just hoped that I wouldn’t come across like a newbie. There was no way I was going to wear a pink ribbon. Looking back I realize how silly that was. I now tell first-time attendees that it’s perfectly okay to ask newbie questions and wear the pink ribbon!

Finding my HL7 legs

It can definitely take some time to find your way at an HL7 working group meeting – there are so may work groups and so many activities.  Luckily I had colleagues around me to help point me in the right direction. It actually took me almost 3 years to find my way to the Pharmacy Work Group and start participating on a regular basis. It seems like the Pharmacy Work Group should have been a no brainer for a pharmacist, but for lots of reasons it wasn’t.  I visited many work groups along the way, but once I started participating in Pharmacy, I think I found my HL7 legs. 

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HL7 at 30 – Years of Stability & Innovation

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 26, 2016 2:03:36 PM / by Liora Alschuler posted in hl7, hl7 community, hl7 working group meeting

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January 1997: my first HL7 working group meeting

It was a dark and cold New England January in 1997 when I came down to my first HL7 working group meeting in Tampa Bay, Florida.

SGML 

I was invited to talk about Standard Generalized Markup Language – SGML – an object of veneration of a small cult that would give the world both HTML and XML, the engines of the World Wide Web and what came to be called ecommerce. To put this in context, the Web was just over 3 years old and XML was still a suckling infant.

It had been announced the previous month, in Boston, simultaneously with a talk on “SGML in Healthcare” by me and clinical co-conspirators, John Spinosa, Dan Essin, and Tom Lincoln. We finished before the XML folks and caught the final few minutes of what we knew meant a dramatic change in electronic information publishing and processing.

Prior to XML, the electronic text world was torn between the advocates of HTML (it’s simple, you can use it!) and SGML (it’s powerful, you can move mountains).  

For the HL7 Tampa talk, billed as a tutorial, I recruited two SGHappyML luminaries – Tim Bray and John McFadden – both Canadian, both showed up with winter colds. Tim was one of the prime movers behind XML; John later a reluctant convert. John had written the OmniMark language for markup conversion and he could actually make SGML work. Tim wrote one of the first programs to index the Web.

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