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Case Study 1

Case study 1 - PMI HL7 messages created from tag-delimited files.

Case study on the solution Kestral Computing created for an Australian medical imaging group, to upload PMI information provided in tag-delimited files.


The medical imaging group (MIG) had a requirement to accept PMI information from a new hospital database. The PMI data was being sent as tag-delimited files. For example:


These files were to be transferred to the application server every fifteen minutes using an FTP protocol.

The requirement was to find a way of translating the tag-delimited files into HL7 message structure for importing into the existing PMI.

The MIG required a means of converting these tag-delimited files and maintaining the FTP directory.


The solution was to use HL7Connect to move the tag-delimited files, translate the data into HL7 format and to route the messages into the radiology information system (RIS) using an HL7Connect TCP/IP interface.

To facilitate this, Kestral wrote two VB Scripts. The first utilizes an incoming Scripted HL7Connect interface which copies the file from an FTP directory to an HL7Connect working directory. In doing so, it creates a copy of the original file into an archive directory and deletes the original FTP file (all preformed by the one interface) thus ensuring the FTP directory only contains un-processed files. The second script is a file interface that picks up the ‘moved’ file and translates the records into HL7 messages for routing to an outgoing TCP/IP HL7Connect interface.


The Scripted interface uses a simple VB Script that sets the FTP input directory, archive directory and file extension and the output directory and file extension. If the archive and output directories do not exist then they are created. This script also copies and renames files and deletes the original file.

The second script (on the incoming HL7 file interface) picks up the moved and renamed file and parses the tag-delimited records and translates them into the HL7 message structure. The resulting messages are then routed to the PMI outgoing TCP/IP interface.

These scripts demonstrate how easy it is to manage file directories, copy and delete files and to translate unusual user definable file formats into HL7 messages.

Key Success Factors:

  • The FTP upload directory was maintained by the Scripted interface in HL7Connect and copies of all FTP files written to a user definable directory.
  • The custom tag-delimited data structure was successfully translated by the HL7 file interface in HL7Connect into a valid HL7 message.

    The MIG has made this script available to others to use freely at the HL7Connect web site code repository at Free public access is available to this resource.