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The Official Blog of Health Level Seven® International


It's All About the Community

[fa icon="calendar"] Oct 18, 2016 12:31:04 PM / by Melva Peters

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. 

From the Pharmacy Work Group to the HL7 International Board of Directors

Pharmacy is a very international work group with participants from around the world. In addition to our meetings during the HL7 WGM, we’ve also had a number of opportunities to hold out-of-cycle meetings and joint meetings with our IHE Pharmacy and ISO TC215 WG 6 colleagues in Europe. It’s a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun times!

Now more than eight years later, my how things have changed for me at HL7. I continue to participate primarily in the Pharmacy Work Group, and as the Affiliate Chair for HL7 Canada I also participate at the International Council. I’m also very honoured to start a term as a Director on the HL7 International Board in January 2017. 

The work is hard but the reward is great!

During the last WGM in Baltimore, I talked to my husband on Wednesday night – that was day five for me after starting with the TSC meeting on Saturday. I was pretty tired by the end of that day and he asked me why I continue to do this.  I think I have the same conversation with him every WGM!  My answer?  Because I love the community, I love participating and I love how much I continue to learn!

Topics: HL7, HL7 community, work groups, HL7 working group meeting

Melva Peters

Written by Melva Peters

Melva Peters is the Chair of HL7 Canada, a Co-Chair of the HL7 International Council and a Co-Chair of the HL7 Pharmacy Work Group. In 2017, she will serve as a Director on the HL7 International Board of Directors. She is also a consultant/industry leader in medication management at Gevity Consulting.

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