HL7 format for MSWord dictation files

Posted on 2005-05-13
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
In our hospital, we have a Unix-based system for medical records (CPSI).  The radiologist wants to use a Windows-based app such as Dragon for dictating reports.  These reports are in MSWord. We need to get the patient record from CPSI (name, dob, etc.), into Dragon, then dictate the report, then export that complete record back into the Unix app.  The CPSI tech support says they can export the file into HL7 format, then we would have to somehow convert that to Word, do the dictation, then convert it to HL7 and export it back to Unix.  

I don't know much about HL7 format except that it is supposed to be the universally required data structure for submitting patient data.

Does anyone know if HL7 can be converted to MSWord and vice-versa???

Question by:maharlika
    LVL 53

    Expert Comment

    We will need to know more about your environment, and the DTD that the HL7 component is using.  HL7 messages generally get parsed as XML, so the DTD or schema bening used will etermin just how much work the parsing will entail to get it into something usable by word.  

    You will almost certainly need to writ a custom parser.  Even in a Websphere environment whre IBM has tools it is stil necessary in most cases write some custom parsing.

    This document might help you understand the complexity of what you want to do given the current state of HL7 initiatives.: egov/documents/text_full_public.doc

    If you are just learning the network and message standard within health care.  This FAQ migh help you get started.  I work a number of clients trying to implement HL7 base messaging and it is quite challenging, becaue of the monolithic approach of the standard trying to be all things in health care.

    In any case if you cna give more detail about the environment you are in and the message segment types in use, I may be able to find something in the pile of stuff I have accumulated over the last sevela years.  I've nover consisered tha possibility of taking off HL7 segements and diverting them to desktop apps.

    LVL 3

    Author Comment

    I really can't answer your questions.  All I know is that the radiologist wants to dictate into Dragon and then load that into our Unix-based system.  This doesn't seem like it should be real complicated, and I'm pretty sure others have done it before, but I haven't found anyone that has experience with it. I know that CPSI can handle dictation, it's just not as robust a package as Dragon has.  Dragon's tech support just told me that all Dragon can do is create an MSWord document, and that they don't know anything about getting it into any other format.  That's kind of weak on their part, since Dragon has medical-specific modules, and I don't know of anyone who stores medical records in MSWord format!

    I'm probably over my head on this one.
    LVL 53

    Accepted Solution

    >>>I'm probably over my head on this one.
    It might be that you are.  None of us knows everything; and I've just about drowned on projects a couple of time.

    I think you are going to probably need somone from your technical or app development group discuss it with dragon.  Thre is absolutely no question that it can be done.  But it may require development of a custom parser.  That is not a trivial undertaking, and it requires some skill and knowledge of HL7 that is not a common part of the skill set outside of health care.

    LVL 3

    Author Comment

    You're right.  I need to get the right people talking to each other: I can't do this on my own.


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