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SOAP Standard Interface: Sender and Receiver Effort

The effort involved to implement and maintain a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) service will differ across different environments. However, in general, IIS and external sending systems must address similar challenges.

Immunization Information Systems

Each IIS environment is unique, and implementing a SOAP service will require planning, design, and development efforts specific to the technical environment and IIS. While the act of creating the SOAP web service is only one of many steps in accomplishing health system interoperability, it is helpful to understand the entire process. At a high-level, the following areas must be addressed to implement the recommended SOAP service. Some of these steps may have already been completed by the IIS.

Hardware Evaluation

Evaluate current hardware to determine if the anticipated increased load warrants new or additional hardware. It is very possible the current hardware will be adequate, but it is important to evaluate and confirm.

Network Evaluation

Evaluate the current network to determine if the anticipated increased load warrants network upgrades. It is very possible that the current network will be adequate, but it is important to evaluate and confirm.

HL7 processing

Prior to creating your SOAP web service, the IIS must have the ability to accept, parse, process and respond to an HL7 V2 message. The WSDL for the SOAP web service is used as the contract between the sender and the receiver to pass the HL7 message as a string of data.

SOAP Service

Once an IIS has the ability to consume and respond to an HL7 V2 message, adding a SOAP service is the final step. The details within the implementation resources provide the necessary information to address SOAP service needs. As each IIS environment is unique, it would be pure conjecture to guess the exact effort required to add a SOAP service to an IIS. However, it is known from past projects that the timeframe is usually measured in months of effort rather than weeks or years.


Rolling out the SOAP service is, as can be expected, an on-going process similar to other data exchange initiatives. As new providers come on board and other providers upgrade existing software with SOAP capabilities, it is important to create a repeatable plan for working with providers. The plan should be tailored to the policies, programmatic environment, and operational needs of the IIS.

External Sending Systems (EHR, IHS, HIE, or other external Health System)

Presuming a sending system can already generate HL7 V2 messages, the technical effort by that system to begin an exchange with an IIS is a straightforward process:

  1. Retrieve the WSDL from the IIS
  2. Import the WSDL to generate Wrapper class
  3. Populate HL7 Message
  4. Open Connection
  5. Invoke API defined by the IIS WSDL

Obviously, there are non-technical steps involved in engaging with the IIS, getting credentials, automating the process outside of the technical environment, and assuring data quality. It is noted that each IIS has its own processes to follow in this regard and those will not be generalized here.

See SOAP Web Services for additional implementation resources.

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