Implementing Healthcare Messaging with XML

Last week Monday I gave a presentation on XML 2007 titled “Implementing Healthcare Messaging with XML” for a very attentive and responsive audience, chaired by Tony Coates. David Orchard and Glen Daniels of multiple WS-standards were there, and I had an interesting chat with them afterwards on the layering problems of WSDL mentioned in my presentation. Jon Bosak inquired about ebXML – which we hadn’t used because it did not seem to get any traction from IBM and Microsoft at the time. With hindsight, looking at what ebXML (ebMS specifically) delivered years ago and the time the WS-* stack took, one wonders whether this was such a wise decision… Anyway, it was great to have such a responsive crowd.

4 Replies to “Implementing Healthcare Messaging with XML”

  1. Hi Marc,

    It’s one the important question that i am thinking on.

    In your perspective and after your recent chat on the conference “Implementing Healthcare Messaging with XML”, do you think that the WS* (WS RM and WS addresing) are enough mature and performant to use ? Especially for a large implementation of an EHR ?

    Or simply use the basic WS profile with the native hl7 message capabilities like the accept ack.


    Marouan Ouri

  2. Marouan,

    I think WSRM is fine. HL7 is abandoning accept acks for reliability itself, and anyway one has to implement reliability with accept acks oneself. I have much more doubts on WSA. WSA is one the most “unRESTful” parts of WS-*, and I think we should take the REST criticism seriously (whereas REST has no generally accepted reliability solution, and WSRM is not that unRESTful). Not do I really believe the underlying view of WS-* and WSA where lots of intermediaries without knowledge of the message do intermediairy stuff, and that is the problem area which WSA addresses. So I’d preferably use Basic Profile, WSRM, and only those parts of WSA which are needed for the particular WSRM solution, not use HL7 accept acks, and keep HL7 Sender and Receiver.

    Hope this helps,


  3. Hi Marc,
    I went through some of your blogs and material regardfind hl7v3 implementation.
    we are trying ti implement PIX/PDQ for subject discovery and also document query and retrieval.
    I was wondering how did you take care of error codes specified in those transactions.
    I found a document where they mention about how error code should be handled for XDS document query and retrieval but i did not find anything for subject discovery.

    just another dumb questions. i am assuming that whatever error codes are specified they have to be send as either a soap response or ebrim error message but NOT as soap fault. I did not know if my assumption is true or not.

    it would be helpful if you can comment on it and share your experience on this.


  4. Ravi,

    currently we handle all errors on their own level, so one can get http errors, soap faults, HL7 errors. HL7 errors are normal soap responses.

    An alternative approach is to package accept acks containing just an error code in a soap fault – I think that approach is equally valid, I can see no real problem.

    True, the error appears on more levels – http 500, soap fault, hl7 error, but soap already does that itself by packaging soap faults in http 500.

    Hope this helps,


Comments are closed.