Objectives: The Health Level 7 (HL7) version 3 clinical data framework can be used to create clinical documents that capture health care interactions and support communication and compliance both within and beyond an institution. This session reports on a method for teaching undergraduate informatics students to apply the object-oriented reference information model (RIM) underlying the HL7 clinical document standards.
Methods: Students were introduced to HL7 and the RIM through background readings and lectures before being asked to apply the RIM in class using a patient case as the data source for their model. Each of the six object classes in the RIM is represented by a color, and relationships between classes are specified. With the classroom walls as their canvas, students used sticky notes corresponding to the RIM object class colors to create Refined Message Information Models (RMIMs) that encoded content specific to their cases. Students indicated relationships between objects by linking the sticky notes with string. Each student then explained his or her model to other students in the class, who offered critique. Effectiveness of this activity was measured on the final semester project, where students were asked to create ten additional RMIMs capturing interactions within their cases.
Results: After completing the readings, lectures, and in-class activities, students were able to create well-structured RMIMs using the six basic HL7 object classes, and demonstrated their mastery of this task later in the semester by successfully creating RMIMs for their final projects. In addition, students applied their practice with the HL7 reference information model to other object-oriented models discussed in a required software development course. Students commented positively on the in-class RMIM exercise in response to open-ended questions on course design and delivery on end-of-term evaluations.
Conclusion: The combination of readings, lectures, and hands-on activities is an effective method to teach the use of object-oriented reference information models to students with little background in computer or information science. An additional advantage to this method is that it does not require the use of computers or specialized software.
Keywords: Teaching, Active Learning, Undergraduates, Informatics, Information Models, Health Level 7
Sarah K. McCord is the resarch data and informatics librarian and an associate professor of library and learning resources at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston, MA.
The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.