The HL7 SAIF

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  February 21, 2017 


The Health Level 7 Services-Aware Interoperability Framework (SAIF)

SAIF Overview

The HL7 Services-Aware Interoperability Framework provides a set of constructs, processes, best practices, etc. that enable HL7 cross-specification consistency and coherency irrespective of the chosen interoperability paradigm: messages (eg V2.x & V3), documents (eg CDA) or services. 

The main benefits of developing specifications using the SAIF are: consistency of specifications, enhanced ability to manage loosely-coupled complex interactions between multiple trading partners, increased cross-organization reuse of architecture primitives.  In particular, SAIF enables realizing the value of CMETs and extending that value proposition to include behavioral as well as static semantic constructs.

SAIF consists of four core "frameworks":

  • Information (including RIM, data types, vocabulary bindings, etc.)
  • Behavior (subsuming the existing Dynamic Model)
  • Enterprise Conformance and Compliance (including HL7's existing Implementation and Conformance standards)
  • Governance

Originally titled SAEAF (Services-Aware Enterprise Architecture Framework), it was renamed to "SAIF" in February 2010 to avoid confusion with other enterprise architecture frameworks (EAFs) such as Zachman and Togaf.  SAIF should be regarded as an adjunct to any EAF which focuses on Working Interoperability (WI).  It brings from SOA practice two critical constructs which significantly enhance the path to WI, i.e. Separation of concerns (static vs behavioral semantics) and Formal notion of contracts.



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SAIF Introductory Videos














HL7 International has released the specification for the Canonical Definition of the Services-Aware Interoperability Framework (SAIF CD).  This important new document defines a set of languages that enable those working in any one of the established enterprise architecture frameworks (TOGAF, Zachman, RM-DOP, etc.) to more consistently and explicitly define appropriate details of a given component (a service, a message, a document, etc.) involved in one or more "cross-boundary" (intra- or inter-enterprise) interoperability scenarios.  Specifically, the SAIF CD defines a set of languages for describing Informational (static) and Behavioral (dynamic) semantics from the perspective of interoperability.  The languages are ultimately instantiated in organization-specific SAIF Implementation Guides (IGs).  As such, the SAIF CD and its derivative IGs are not meant to be replacements, but rather adjuncts for existing architecture frameworks.  In addition to the informational and behavioral languages, the SAIF CD provides a framework for collecting artifacts based on applying its languages across multiple dimensions viewed from several role-based perspectives.  At its core, the SAIF CD draws heavily on a number of the SOA Design Principles and the SOA Benefits and Goals of Thomas Erl's previous publications.  Finally, it provides a governance language that is based on the SOA Governance Framework defined in Thomas Erl's recent book "SOA Governance: Governing Shared Services On-Premise & in the Cloud."


HL7 SAIF Links

An introduction to the H77 Services-Aware Interoperability Framework can be found on the HL7 wiki and more details on the SAIF Main Page.  The SAIF development is governed by the HL7 International Architecture Board (ArB).

HL7 SAIF - Latest News

HL7 FHIR Foundation Collaborates with Google Cloud Platform to Support FHIR Community
Sunday, 19th February 2017
Health Level Seven® International (HL7®), the global authority for interoperability in healthcare information technology with members in 55 countries, today announced that the HL7 FHIR Foundation is now working with Google to support HL7's Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard and the FHIR community using Google Cloud Platform.

HL7 Argonaut Project Takes Major Step Forward for FHIR
Thursday, 16th February 2017


Health Level Seven and the Healthcare Services Platform Consortium Announce Collaboration Agreement
Wednesday, 1st February 2017
Scottsdale, Arizona and Ann Arbor, Michigan (February 1, 2017) - Health Level Seven® (HL7®) International, the global authority on interoperability of health information technology with members in 55 countries and the Healthcare Services Platform Consortium (HSPC), a provider-led, not-for-profit fostering industry-wide collaboration for the development of an open ecosystem of interoperable applications, content, and Service Oriented Architecture services, today announced that they signed a collaboration agreement and will initiate joint projects to advance interoperability.


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