HL7 Encoding Characters

Encoding characters are special characters used to construct an HL7 message, defining how data is separated in an HL7HL7 is a Standards Developing Organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (... More message. Below are the encoding characters:

  • Field Separator (normally |)
  • Component Separator (normally ^)
  • Subcomponent Separator (normally &)
  • Field Repeat Separator (normally ~)
  • Escape Character (normally \)

Encoding characters are defined dynamically in the MSH segment. The character immediately following the segment “MSH” is the first encoding character, which is the field separator. The restREST (Representational State Transfer) is a web services approach used heavily in social media sites... More of the encoding characters are defined in MSH-2, where the four characters in this field define the component separator, repetition separator, escape character, and subcomponent separator in that respective order.

HL7HL7 is a Standards Developing Organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (... More implementation

In an HL7HL7 is a Standards Developing Organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (... More message , sometimes the actual data in a field may contain an encoding character, which will require some data manipulation for the message to be sent correctly. For example, keep in mind that the escape character for the subcomponent separator is “&”, data in a message may contain the following: “Patient must restREST (Representational State Transfer) is a web services approach used heavily in social media sites... More & ice the knee”. In this case, a system may treat the field in which this data is located as two subcomponents, although it really should be treated as a single field because the “&” is meant to mean “and” and not a subcomponent separator.

Additional information can be found on the HL7HL7 is a Standards Developing Organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (... More Standards resource site on the following topics:

Also, refer the HL7 Resource pages for HL7 Separator Character Codes and HL7 Escape Sequences.

Visit the Corepoint Health IT Blog for insights on working with HL7HL7 is a Standards Developing Organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (... More messaging and other healthcare IT observations.

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