Manipulating HL7 messages with the HL7 Kotlin DSL

Manipulating HL7 messages

Message manipulation is as straightforward as read access. You navigate to a segment or field and assign it a new object or String value.

Manipulating segments

Segments can be replaced. Currently only segments can be assigned, assignment to groups isn’t supported yet.

    // copy over EVN segment from msg2 to msg1

    // assignment operator
    msg1["EVN"] = msg2["EVN"]

    // recommended equivalent

Manipulating fields

To change a field value, navigate to the field (either by name or index) and either assign it a string value or another field. Again, fields may also be assigned using the from() method.

    val nk1      = message["PATIENT_RESULT"]["PATIENT"]["NK1", 0]
    val otherNk1 = message["PATIENT_RESULT"]["PATIENT"]["NK1", 1]

    // assignment operator
    nk1[4]       = otherNk1[4]       // copy address
    nk1[4][4]    = otherNk1[4][4]    // copy state or province only

    // equivalent

    // set state or province to a string value
    nk1[4][4]    = "NY"

Adding repetitions

There are two ways to add a repeating element: explicitly and implicitly.

Explicitly calling nrp() (for “new repetition”) adds an element and returns it to the caller. The argument is of type String for repeating structures or int for repeating fields:

    // Adding a PATIENT group
    val newPatientGroup = message["PATIENT_RESULT"].nrp("PATIENT")

    // Adding a NK1 segment
    val newContactSegment = message["PATIENT_RESULT"]["PATIENT"].nrp("NK1")

    // adding a field (NK1-4)
    val newAddress = message["PATIENT_RESULT"]["PATIENT"]["NK1"].nrp(4)

Implicitly, an element is also added if you access a repetition that does not exist yet:

    val message       = ORU_R01()
    val patientResult = message["PATIENT_RESULT"](0)          // add a PATIENT_RESULT group
    val order         = patientResult["ORDER_OBSERVATION"](0) // add a ORDER_OBSERVATION group
    val observation   = order["OBSERVATION"](0)               // add a OBSERVATION group
    val obx5          = observation["OBX"][5]                 // add a OBX-5 field

Together with the Smart Navigation feature, it is particularly convenient that accessing a repeated element without index does a default to its first repetition. Hence, the code above can be condensed to:

    val message = ORU_R01()
    val obx5    = message["PATIENT_RESULT"]["ORDER_OBSERVATION"]["OBSERVATION"]["OBX"][5]

Handling content types of OBX segments

The type of data contained in the fifth field of each OBX segment is variable and determined by the second field. In other words, when OBX-2 equals to "CE", OBX-5 contains repeating instances of type CE.

To set data type in a newly created OBX segment or to change the type in an existing segment, the following approach using the setObx5Type() method can be used:

    // set type 'CE' for repetitions of OBX-5 and ensure that
    // at least 2 such repetitions are available

    obx[5](0)[1] = "T57000"
    obx[5](0)[2] = "GALLBLADDER"
    obx[5](0)[3] = "SNM"