Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME)

MIME is short for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. It is a specification for formatting non-ASCII messages so that they can be sent over the Internet. While originally intended to support e-mail transfer of multi-resource HTML multimedia documents, MIME packages are now commonly employed using other transfer protocols. A MIME-encoded package contains a root resource (object) as well as other resources linked to it via URIs. These other resources may be required to display multimedia within the document that can include items such as graphics, audio, and video files.

In HL7 messages, a CDACCD, or CCR document can be treated as a multimedia object which can be exchanged as a MIME package. These documents can be included in a V2.x or V3 message. In V2.x, the MIME package could be embedded in an OBX segment, or any other message that can exchange documents such as MDM. As an example, in the OBX segment, the MIME package is placed in the OBX-5 field and the OBX-2 field should be set to “ED” for encapsulated data type.

MIME was defined in 1992 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). A new version, called S/MIME now supports encrypted messages.

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