While looking at my past posts on the topic, I realized I never gave out the link to the download for the HL7 Schema Generation Tools that I discussed waaaaay back.

Hopefully the most entrepreneurial readers will have found it, for the rest of us, here it is with a small description from the download page:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=94877261-1F04-40B7-8C6D-CF92F38D09A3&displaylang=en

This is the same tool that the BizTalk team uses internally to generate the schemas that ship with Microsoft BizTalk Accelerator for HL7 v2.0. The tool takes the HL7 message definition from the database that HL7 publishes on their web site and generates schemas in a format that the BizTalk HL7 parser can understand. These schemas are used by the parser in the process of translating from the flat file format of HL7 v2.x to XML.
The HL7 message definitions are stored in a Microsoft Access database and include definitions for all the approved versions (2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.3.1, 2.4 and 2.5). The HL7 message definition database will not ship with the Accelerator as it is part of the HL7 standard and has to be acquired separately from the HL7 standards organization.
By customizing the database and the generated schema namespace, you will be able to create your own library of message definitions for your own integration purposes or for versions of HL7 that we do not include in the Accelerator for HL7.
The Schema Generation Tool also comes with full source code. That way it can be adapted to generate the schemas from *any* repository or from tools such as the HL7 Messaging Workbench.
The objective of the Schema Generation Tool is to make it easier to manage libraries of HL7 message definitions by working at the model level instead of dealing with schema customization. Every time you need to generate a custom message or segment, you can modify the repository (or a copy of it) and generate new schemas.

Just to be clear, you need to have your own HL7 definition database. You can get the “vanilla” version from the HL7 web site. To get it, go to the HL7 Bookstore, scroll down to the section “Access Databases Versions of the HL7 Standards” and click on the “more info” button.

The most interesting aspect of the tool is that it allows you to generate schemas from your own HL7 message definition. So, if you have a national HL7 v2 standard (most countries do) and you can put that definition in an easy to maintain database, then generating the BizTalk schemas for any particular HL7 dialect becomes much easier.

Another interesting route to explore, and the reason why we’re including the source code, is to adapt the tool to generate the schemas directly from other tools or repositories such as the HL7 Messaging Workbench.