The HL7 SAIF

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  February 26, 2018 


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 International Appoints Accenture's Andy Truscott to the Board of Directors
Thursday, 1st February 2018
Health Level Seven® International (HL7®), the global authority for interoperability in healthcare information technology (IT) with members in 55 countries, today announced the appointment of Andy Truscott, managing director of health technology consulting at Accenture, to the HL7 Board of Directors.

HL7 Announces Winners of FHIR Applications Roundtable of Real-World FHIR Solutions
Thursday, 18th January 2018
Health Level Seven® International (HL7®), the global authority for interoperability in healthcare information technology and home to the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard, today announced the winners of the third FHIR® applications roundtable, an event focused on showcasing FHIR-based solutions in use in today's healthcare industry.  The organization also announced that the presentation slides and video recordings are now freely available to view on the HL7 website.  The HL7 FHIR® Applications Roundtable was held at the LSU Human Development Center in New Orleans, LA on December 6 and 7, 2017 and highlighted 30 FHIR-based solutions available today.

Health Level Seven and TransCelerate BioPharma Working Together to Facilitate Use of eSource for Clinical Research with HL7® FHIR®
Monday, 4th December 2017
Health Level Seven® (HL7®) International, the global authority on interoperability of health information technology with members in 55 countries, and TransCelerate BioPharma Inc., a non-profit organization to improve the health of people around the world by simplifying and accelerating the research and development of innovative new therapies, are working together to advance the use of eSource in clinical trials and facilitate interoperability by enabling the use of electronic health records (EHRs) in clinical research, enabled by the use of the HL7® FHIR® platform standard.


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