Tuesday, September 4, 2012

HL7 to Become a Truly Open Standard After All

Summary: HL7 to implement a free IP policy by Q1 2013, and become a truly Open Standard, with both Open Access and Open Use.

Long Version.

I got a whole bunch of emails this morning from HL7 members who had received a special announcement via email from the HL7 CEO, Charles Jaffe.

The long and the short of it seems to be that the HL7 Board of Directors has "committed to licensing its standards and other selected HL7 intellectual property free of charge".


The details are described in an FAQ at "http://www.hl7.org/about/faqs/FreeIP.cfm", which was only accessible to HL7 members, but as of a few minutes ago, became generally accessible.The CEO's announcement has also just appeared as news on the HL7 home page here.

A few of the highlights of the FAQ include:
  • recognition that "charging for standards is a barrier to widespread adoption"
  • "increasing government demand for standards that do not require a licensing fee"
  • HL7 will retain copyright (i.e., not "public domain") to retain control over change and improvement process (conventional for most standards)
My understanding is that both access to the standards, and the right to use the standards in implementations, will become free, globally, so that any current barriers to open implementation will be removed.

There will be some delay until this policy is in place, and in the interim the current licensing policy applies, but the commitment is to roll this out by Q1 2013, apparently.

I am certain that other open source code developers are as pleased by this as I am, and I am sure that we are all equally grateful to whoever those HL7 stakeholders were who were responsible for this development (like Keith Boone, for example).



Martin Peacock said...

Hopefully not following the lead of ICD & SNOMED where I believe explicit permission is still requires (albeit cost-free).

A positive step indeed

Newbrie said...

Terrific news for healthcare innovators and healthcare standards adoption. Secures all the great work that HL7 and IHE have done together.