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Health Information Access Layer (HIAL)

The HIAL is an architectural concept for providing communications services, common services and supporting components to broker data and service requests from point of service applications. 

The HIAL will publish a catalogue of available services, such as services to access registries and domain repositories (e.g. labs, drugs, diagnostic images).

Example: A point of service system requests the ‘get lab result’ service for a health care client as part of the larger business service of managing lab results and reports. The system or user requesting the service does not need to know how to interface with the registries, domain repositories and applications; it just needs to know how to request a service that is exposed through the HIAL. 

The HIAL does not persist business data. It does not run the database systems that maintain the business and clinical information tied to specific clinical domains, and is generally not responsible for maintaining or applying the business logic that is specific to a line of business. The core business and data processing logic associated with a clinical domain is expected to be handled and processed by the line of business application itself, once the HIAL passes the appropriately-formed service request to it. The HIAL’s fundamental capabilities and duties include the following:

  • Acting as the central transaction coordinator for all EHR services exposed by the HIAL 
  • Recognizing and having awareness of all transactions handled by the HIAL
  • Coordinating the execution of all EHR transactions from start (service request) to finish (service response sent to requester)
  • Monitoring and managing the state of all EHR transactions
  • Monitoring, controlling and routing of message exchange between services
  • Resolving and managing contention between communicating service components
  • Controlling deployment and versioning of services
  • Providing commonly needed transaction processing services including event handling, event choreography
  • Data transformation and mapping; message and event queuing and sequencing; security; error/exception handling; message parsing and validation; protocol conversion; enforcing proper quality of communication services 
  • Providing commonly needed and commoditized EHR business services, including: validation of the asserted authentication of the end user involved with a transaction; role-based service access; authorization of the end user involved with a transaction; application of coarse-grained consent directives for disclosure of information
  • Validation and resolution of key enterprise reference identifiers for transactions, including client, provider and provider organization involved in clinical transactions
  • Catering for the optional application of business logic rules associated with specific business domains

The following sections provide more details on the three major areas of the HIAL services, namely, exposed business service interfaces, communication services and common services.

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