Tuesday, September 04, 2012

HL7 Announces Free Standards

Back in 2006, I was one of three final candidates to be the first CEO of HL7.  My big push in my final interview was to advocate for changing HL7's business model to make HL7 standards free for use.  I strongly believed that doing so would present a short-term risk as the organization transitioned from relying on membership and license fees to trusting that a different kind of sustainability model that didn't include license fees would still work for the organization.

Dr. Chuck Jaffe was ultimately selected to be CEO and remains so today.  I was disappointed in not making the cut, but knew that he was an understandable choice by the board.  This morning, Chuck made an important announcement: HL7 would indeed be transitioning to a free license model for all of their standards and much of their intellectual property.

The announcement to members is below.  I couldn't be more thrilled!

To the HL7 Membership:

Today, the HL7 Board of Directors committed to licensing its standards and other selected HL7 intellectual property free of charge. This policy is consistent with HL7’s vision of making our collaborative and consensus-driven standards the most widely used in healthcare, and with our mission of achieving interoperability in ways that put the needs of our stakeholders first. Our primary aim is to maximize benefits to our members, the healthcare community, and all those who have contributed to make HL7 standards so successful.
The implementation of this important decision requires careful planning and due diligence, which is expected to take several months.  The policy will go into effect after analysis of input from our members.  We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you, and to gain your insights and suggestions for moving forward.

In order to provide clarification of several critical issues, please go to the following link for a detailed FAQ document: http://www.hl7.org/about/faqs/FreeIP.cfm

A global press release explaining our plans will be issued at noon EDT today. HL7 members are also invited to attend one of two webinars scheduled this week in which I will discuss these plans and give our members a chance to ask questions.  Members are invited to send their questions in advance of the webinars directly to our Director of Membership, Diana Stephens at Diana@HL7.org. The webinar information is listed below:

·         Wednesday, September 5 at 11:00 am EDT. Please register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/973015242
·         Thursday, September 6 at 4:00 pm EDT. Please register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/263054898

We recognize that our members are the backbone of HL7 and we look forward to continuing our partnership with you,