Setting up a New Interface

Last Updated: 12/02/2015 Introduced in Verision: 2.0


In Decisions an HL7 Interface is a set of processing instructions, or flows, that determine what is done with a message when it is received and how it is transformed before it is sent to another system.  The most common ways that HL7 systems communicate are using TCP/IP-based interfaces, using the file system to hand off messages, and using a database.  Decisions supports all of these types of “end points” or message communication mechanisms and much more using the flow engine.


Receives and Emitters

With each HL7 interface that you create you can add any number of receivers and emitters.  A receiver gets messages from a source and sends them into the engine and an emitter takes processed messages and pushes them back out to other systems.  Since Decisions HL7 Module allows many receivers and emitters to be setup on a single interface you can have common handling that gets messages from all the HL7 systems in your hospital or medical practice, transforms them all the exact same way, logs statistics, and sends unified messages out to another system (or systems)!

The three types of receivers are:

  1. TCP/IP Receiver
  2. File Receiver
  3. Flow Receiver

The three types of emitters:

  1. TCP/IP Emitter
  2. File Emitter
  3. Interface Emitter


Configuring an Interface

To create a new interface, navigate to the HL7 Interfaces folder in Decisions. If you do not have this folder, you may need to install the module or get permissions from an administrator to access this folder.



Click the Add HL7 Interface button.



Configure the Add HL7 Interface screen. 

  1. Name – This is the name of your HL7 Interface. 
  2. Description – This is a free text description that can help you or others in your organization understand the purpose of a specific interface.
  3. Strict Parsing Mode – Turning this setting on means that messages that do not confirm to the HL7 standard will not be sent to the processing flows.  You will see these messages in your dashboard and you will be able to make changes to them to allow them to process.  Examples of reasons that the strict parser would discard a message: Segments or data that are required but missing, segments that are out of order, segments that have too much data, and malformed data (like dates).
  4. Only Allow Specific Message Types – Enabling this setting gives you a list of all acceptable message types and allows you to specify message types that this interface will process.  All other message types will be ‘logged’ but ignored.
  5. Output Version – An interface can only send out messages as one version.  If you need to upgrade or downgrade messages to different versions and send to multiple systems you can easily do this by using the HL7 Interface emitter to send messages to another interface that uses a different version.  (This limitation is due to our post processing flow described below.)
  6. Enabled – This setting turns on all receivers and emitters that exist as a part of this interface. 

 Click OK; the new interface is created and immediately shows up in the dashboard.  If the interface is enabled, it will be colored green, otherwise it will be red. 

To start setting up the details of the new interface, simply click on it in the dashboard or use the folder tree on the left to select the new interface.

Now that the interface is complete, it is necessary to set up receivers, either File Receiver, TCP/IP, or Flow Receiver.

Additional Resources