Take, for instance the "", I'd hope that anyone who has spent any time in dealing with HL7 messages knows that the "" signifies that something should be deleted. "" is not an empty string, it's not a filler etc... But occasionally, one may meet a vendor who persists in sending "" instead of just sending nothing at all.
Since, I work for a small business and have an extremely flexible HL7 interface, I can ignore ""'s in received messages. But these things are adding up.
- Some vendors like to send custom formatted fields with psuedo-components that they leave others to interpret themselves.
- Some vendors send all their information in note segments and assume you're going to only show users the information they send in a monospace font.
- Some vendors even have the audacity to send Carriage Return Line Feeds at the end of each line of a file interface.
- Some vendors absolutely refuse to send decimal numbers and in-so-doing refuse to send any numbers.
So, with all this crippling humanity against the simple plastic software man, how does one bend without breaking*? Or better yet, how does one fight back and still make money?
*my answer is usually to create an interface for the interface and keep the HL7 processing pure, but I don't think this is the best solution