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Last modified: July 07, 2000
ISIS European XML/EDI Healthcare Pilot Project (XMLEPR)

[July 07, 2000] "The ISIS XML/EDI Project has developed the following sets of XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) during the initial phase of their project: (1) Electronic Healthcare (EHCR) DTDs; (2) Transport-related DTDs. The two sets of DTDs represent two different approaches from which to develop XML/EDI messages. The approach used for the healthcare messages was based on formal modelling techniques and automatic generation of DTDs from a UML model. The approach used for the transport messages was based on the conversion of an existing EDIFACT message to XML syntax. For the transport-related work two sub-approaches were adopted. For the container movement DTDs it was decided, after a series of trials, that one of the big advantages of adopting an XML-based approach was the ability to simplify the transmitted message by only transferring those parts of the required information which was not already known to the transaction partners. For the IFTMBF message that will follow these initial messages the XML DTD will represent a full MIG, that is used by the Finnish transport industry, which is closely related to a general-purpose Nordic MIG used for freight movements throughout Northern Europe. . . The Electronic Healthcare messages are derived from a formal data model developed by PT29 of the CEN TC251 Healthcare Informatics team. This model is designed to cope with a wide range of healthcare messages. To create a specific message a hierarchically ordered subset of the overall model is first generated. This is then converted into an XML DTD using a set of mapping rules that can be applied automatically. There follows a manual appraisal of the DTD to ensure that there are no optimizations that can be made to make the DTD simpler to use. To ensure the greatest resuability of message components the EHCR model has been split into reusable segments, each of which maps to an XML parameter entity definition that references a file containing a reusable set of element and attribute definitions. To allow an appropriate set of agents to be used to validate the contents of elements, and the values assigned to attributes, a special XML namespace has been declared that references the CEN TC251 rules for data validation."

"The ISIS European XML/EDI Pilot Project has investigated how XML message structures can be developed to meet two very different sets of requirements: (1) those of the transport industry, for conveying the messages involved in the control of container movements, including booking and confirming on-land transport requirements (2) those of healthcare, for conveying patients' medical records between GPs, or between GPs and hospitals. For healthcare, the starting point was the EHCR (Electronic Healthcare Record) model that was recently adopted as a pre-standard by CEN TC251. For transport, the starting point was a set of existing EDIFACT messages, as qualified by the message implementation guidelines (MIGs) in use in one user community (the Finnish trucking industry). In the healthcare arena, where the starting point was a formal model developed in UML, it was possible to develop a set of rules for generating an XML DTD from the model which will be generally applicable to any data set defined using a UML model. These rules are presented in a separate document: Mapping from UML Generalized Message Descriptions to XML DTDs A second project in the healthcare arena evaluated the use of simplified local DTDs for data capture and manipulaltion purposes. Data captured using the simplified DTDs can, after undergoing any required local processing, be mapped to the richer formal model for interchange with other systems through the use of XSL Transformation specifications. Details of this approach are presented in a separate document: Best practices for linking local applications to a communication standard. In the transport arena the lack of a formal model underlying the EDIFACT messages made it difficult to identify all the inter-relationships between the data elements, composites and segments forming each message. Often these inter-relationships are defined by means of commentary within the message implementation guidelines, rather than being defined in the main directory definitions of the component parts. Nevertheless, it was possible to develop a set of rules that enable XML DTDs to be developed on the basis of the message structure defined in the MIG for a specific application of an EDIFACT message. These rules are presented in a separate document: Rules for Mapping Existing EDIFACT MIGS to XML DTDs."

Project for validating GP-GP Electronic Patient Record (EPR) transfer: The project's clinical objectives are managed by the Royal College of General Practitioners with Dr Leo Fogarty as project manager and with financial support from the NHS Executive. The project forms part of the European XML/EDI project on use of XML for messaging. This project is supported by the European Commission under the DGIII ISIS Programme, which seeks to encourage high quality European standards by feedback operational experience and piloting. The European Commission's representative for the project is Antonio Conte, DGIII." See the project document.


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