Straight from the horse's mouth, Stuart Landrum, Program Manager for the BizTalk Accelerators gave an overview of the new features for the Accelerator for HL7 2.0(A4HL7) in BizTalk 2006 R2.

Here they are:

  • New Accelerator Licensing!
  • Support for HL7 v2.5
  • Support of international characters
  • Support for ordered messaging
  • Enhanced MLLP persistent connection management
  • HL7 Schema Generation Tool
  • BizTalk Mapper behavior enhancements:
    • HL7 v2: Preserving the Order When Mapping a Repeating Sequence Group
    • HL7 v3: Accommodating Schemas with Large Footprints

Licensing

A little piece of information that might have gone unnoticed is that with the R2 release of BizTalk, all the Accelerators (HL7, HIPAA, Swift, RosettaNet) are going to be free and included in the box! Yes, read again, free. This added to the new licensing models for partners makes the adoption of BizTalk a no-brainer.

Update 1: when I say "in the box", they are not actually on the same CD as BizTalk, but available as a separate free download.

Support for HL7 v2.5

We have included support for v2.5 of the HL7 Messaging standard. Support for v2.5.1 that just came out of HL7 is not included as it did not make the cut in time. For people in a hurry to implement 2.5.1 there is still hope, keep reading.

International Characters

In version 2.0 of the A4HL7 we have extended support for international characters: 8859/1, 8859/2, 8859/3, 8859/4, 8859/5, 8859/6, 8859/7, 8859/8, 8859/9, ASCII and UNICODE (single, double, and 3-byte UNICODE character sets)except for JAS2020 and JIS X 0202 which are Japanese character sets with non-standard UNICODE encoding.

Support for Ordered Messaging

We have extended the support for ordered messaging already present in BizTalk 2006 to the MLLP adapter in v2.0 of the A4HL7. In addition to this support we are also releasing a whitepaper for more complex scenarios based on the concept of Ticket Dispenser and Gatekeeper.

Enhanced MLLP Connection Management

One of the funny things about MLLP is that it is sooo simple, yet pretty much everyone out there has a different take on how it should be implemented.

We have added functionality to more finely tune how connection management is handled in MLLP.

HL7 Schema Generation Tool

I have talked about this before and there is not a lot to add. The tool allows you to implement versions of HL7 v2.x that we have not included in the box (hint, hint) by working directly with the models that are stored in the Microsoft Access database that is published by HL7.

BizTalk Mapper Enhancements

In order to address the issues with mapping HL7 v2 messages we have added a flag to the map file that will add additional logic to the XSLT generated by the Mapper to prevent the order of the HL7 segments from changing.

The other couple of issues that we addressed with the Mapper are more related to HL7 Version 3 and deal with the complexities of those schemas.

For full details on the changes have a look at Stuart's presentation on my SkyDrive:

Note: for details on how to get XPS working on your system, check my previous post.