The HL7 Comprehensive Database

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DB V.8.0
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DB V.5.0
DB V.4.0
DB V.3.0
DB V.2.0
DB V.1.0
HTML example
HL7 News

About the Database

Good News: The sixth generation of the comprehensive HL7 database has been released before the May WGM 2011 in Orlando. I am sorry for the inconvenience the delay in delivering the database may has caused.
But what are the new features?

it includes HL7 Version 2.7
it generates differences for data types as well
it can generate the XML schemas
it generates OWL files according to CSO (communication standards ontology)

Interested? Please let or HQ know.
BTW, you can also try out an example of what is available.

The different versions of the comprehensive HL7 database has been released some years ago and are widely accepted and used now.


The main advantage of this new database is the consistent maintenance of the data. It is introduced in the January 2000 issue of the American HL7 news:

New Access Database Lets You take control of HL7 Standards

Another article is

Zugriff - Die HL7 Datenbank jetzt verfügbar

Please keep in mind that both articles describe the functionality for the first version of the database! The second version has been expanded by additional functionalities described below!



Using the database uncovers a set of different questions. The most popular ones ("where to buy it?") will be answered on a separate FAQ page. They include information about how to get the database.



Unfortunately, the database is not free of errors. All known bugs are listed here. The list also provides an overview on necessary (i.e. due to referential integrity) changes to the original standard:

Version 8.0
Version 7.0
Version 6.0
Version 5.0
Version 4.0
Version 3.0
Version 2.0
Version 1.0


The database makes use of referential integrity. As a direct consequence, the contents is not 100 percent identical to what is written in the standard documentation. (The discrepancies are documented and can be found here.) The applied changes are selected in order to reflect the intent of the authors and to reduce the neccessary changes to a minimum.



Besides the maintenance of the main data one can generate an HTML-Version of the main parts of the HL7 specification out of the database. Here you can browse through events, messages, segments, tables and table values, (logical) data types, queries and last but not least a comparison of data elements among the different HL7 versions.
Of course, the latter only works with databases which contain more than a single version.
The network generated allows the pursuit of every HL7 point of view you want to. If you are interested please have a look at a short snapshot.
But be careful, only a few links are populated due to copyrights. Here are the rules:

events A02 and A03
PID segment
table 0003
the overview pages for all versions

For ease of maintenance, this snippet is a representation of a previous release which has been enhanced in the meantime.

For HL7 members the files for a single version are free of charge now.


PHP Scripting

First of all, the most powerful enhancement to the database is the provision of PHP scripts as listed above. It facilitates PHP 4.3.1 and Apache 2 as well.
This feature operates directly on the database and generates HTML on the server side. Hence, any changes within the database is directly available without any regeneration. Furthermore, it can take advantage of some details which cannot be presented in the generated (static) HTML files (see below).

Unfortunately, this feature is not included in the official package of the database. But if you are interested, please let know.


Generation of Documentation

The first new functionality of the database is the generation of documentation out of the database.
The basis is the usage of Word which is remote controlled by the database. Information about interested events, segments and tables which are marked therefor is generated as tables into Word files.


Inclusion of Original Documents

Starting with v2.5 the database also contains the original documents divided into paragraphs as maintained in the Word files. In combination with active scripting the different paragraphs can directly be presented within HTML. This allows for comparing e.g. the description of the different fields when reused in different segments.


Last Update: Dec. 22, 2014