The Role of an Integration Engine in Modern Healthcare

Scale smarter with a modern integration engine

In today’s connected healthcare environment, the role of an interface engine should enable faster deployment times of high quality interfaces by IT professionals with a wide range of skill sets. With healthcare data flowing through it, an integration engine should ease connections to remote care facilities (e.g., physician practices, labs, radiology centers, etc.), leverage the data to improve operations, allow the adoption and implementation of new technology that improves workflows for caregivers, and uses data to connect patients to their care.

In these two sentences, the role of an integration engine is clearly defined.

Exploring this definition is essential to gaining the most value from your healthcare integration infrastructure and ensuring it has the right fit for today’s data demands and those you will be facing in the years ahead.

Key roles of a modern interface engine

  1. Migrate EHRs and incorporate new applications efficiently. IT teams need to easily be able to connect new EHRs or incorporating new applications into their infrastructure.
  2. Deploy quickly with confidence. Deliver tested, ready-to-deploy interfaces in minutes or hours rather than days, weeks or months.
  3. Seamlessly promote new interfaces. Move tested interface mapping and processing logic into production with a few clicks. Revert to an earlier version of the interface, if needed.
  4. Maintain native high availability and disaster recovery. Ensure that data continues to be processed during downtime or unplanned emergencies.
  5. Exchange data with web APIs and HL7 FHIR. Securely and efficiently exchange data using the most modern data exchange standards.
  6. Center workflows on patient care. Create logical workflows that alert the right people when problems arise.
  7. Easily monitor the status of every interface. Easily know the status of every interface in the enterprise.
  8. Grant access to colleagues close to the data. Empower analysts, managers or executives to customized views of their interfaces and workflows.
  9. Bring joy to interface work. Improve work satisfaction and productivity with powerful features and ease of use.
  10. Excel in a hybrid integration environment. Integrate data between cloud and on-premise systems

Migrate EHRs and incorporate new applications efficiently

Migrating EHRs takes detailed planning, and for most health systems, re-writing many existing interfaces. A modern integration engine like will speed up EHR migrations and empower the connectivity required to update existing interfaces and create new workflows. Many healthcare providers upgrade their existing integration engine at the same time they implement a new EHR.

Corepoint Integration Engine has innovative features that help facilitate an efficient EHR migration. Corepoint Health has experience helping customers migrate to and from every major EHR in healthcare.

Features that allow our customers easily incorporate new technology include:

  • Ability to build interfaces quickly and accurately. Our software offers a develop-and-test IDE characterized by drag-and-drop interface diagramming, configuration wizards, and point-and-click mapping that allow the creation of basic interfaces. For more complicated interfaces, developers enjoy the flexibility of our Action List operators.
  • Intuitive troubleshooting tools ease testing and development of interfaces.
  • Visual interface monitoring communicates engine status at a glance.
  • Seamless high availability and Disaster Recovery options

Deploy quickly and with confidence

Waiting weeks or months for a new interface is not acceptable in today’s health IT world. Slow development times affect critical workflows and the ability to deliver high-quality care in a timely manner.

An integration engine’s role is the catalyst in implementing new healthcare interfaces. Interface cycle time is reduced significantly by using a menu-driven approach to develop interfaces, without complete reliance on scripting. Why waste time coding basic interfaces that account for 80% of an organization’s overall interfaces when they can be replicated with a drag-and-drop approach? This leaves the interface developer with more time to focus on the remaining, more challenging and interesting interfaces.

Cycle time is reduced significantly with this new approach and allows managers and directors to expand interfacing duties to IT professionals with analyst-level experience. The role of an effective interface engine is to reduce the cycle time to deploy a robust, well-tested interface.

An interface engine’s role is to create leverage within your interfacing environment. For example, one Admit-Discharge-Transfer (ADT) interface should be leveraged to more than one application. The integration engine leverages one application interface to multiple applications as needed. This directly impacts cycle time in a positive manner, and can dramatically decrease interfacing costs for a healthcare organization.

“One of the things that really stood out to us was the derivative builder. It was mind-blowing how easy it was to create a derivative.” - Frederick Memorial Hospital

Seamlessly promote new interfaces

After an interface has been developed and tested in the engine, it should take only minutes to place into production—all without re-creating objects or components. An intuitive integration engine automatically includes needed elements as a new interface is transferred into production.

This versatility should work in reverse, as well. If the user needs to revert to a previous version of the interface, it should be possible with only a few clicks.

This versatility gives users complete control over their data architecture, allowing them to easily manage change.

“The speed of development has been a big improvement. In eGate it might have taken me half a day to write an ADT interface. Now, I can write a basic ADT interface in 3–5 minutes.” - Halifax Health

Exchange data with Web APIs and HL7 FHIR

Today’s health IT environment is very fragmented. It’s not unusual for large health systems to have 100s of applications from different vendors installed, including EHR, lab, radiology, and billing systems.

As healthcare continues to integrate and adopt mobile devices and cloud-based applications, the need for using web APIs for data exchange is growing.

The demand for population health, precision medicine, mobile applications, telemedicine, and home health applications has highlighted the need for rapid and standardized digital integration. Modern, web API (application programmer interface) technology—which gives applications simple and fast access into other applications’ data—has the potential to transform patient care.

Web APIs are methods of secure communication between electronic devices over the internet that make it easier to communicate health data between applications, regardless of the operating system or software in use.

Providers have been demanding more of this type of access from their EHR vendors, who, in turn, are eager to prove that they are committed to their customers’ goals of improving patient care through internal and external data interoperability. EHR systems are now required to deliver more to providers in terms of API connectivity and the ability to improve caregiver and patient workflow.

Web APIs have the potential to open myriad possibilities for patient care. A modern integration engine must be equipped with this new technology to meet all future data demands.

“Having Corepoint Integration Engine in place gives me peace of mind about the performance of every interface, and I know the product will keep us ahead of the curve with future health data exchange initiatives.”

Edward Martinez, Senior Vice President and Chief Information OfficerNicklaus Children’s Hospital

Center workflows on patient care

Six Sigma and Total Quality Management approaches within healthcare are showing great results in achieving efficiency and enhancing quality of care. Data flow plays a fundamental role in this process view within healthcare.

It is no longer “good enough” to just re-work a date format and send it on to the next application. Logic needs to be applied to the data not only in the transformation but also in where it needs to be routed. Likewise, alerts need to be fired out to the correct people when certain triggers occur, such as missing data elements or a particular event occurring. Data flow is not flat or uneventful. It is robust, ever-changing, and an interface engine needs to adapt to these changes.

The role of an interface engine is to ease the workflow by providing the flexibility to change direction and deliver alerts when an abnormal condition arises. Streamlined healthcare workflows and interface engines are a vital combination to support and deliver productive, timely delivery of care to patients. 

Easily monitor the status of every interface

Another role for an integration engine is to capture the data, store it, and present the status of each interface to the interface team and key staff. The information is timely, vital to workflows and patient care, and operational decision makers require insights to make changes to address current trends. Access to interface and health data information facilitates more decisions that are informed with the added ability to address potentially adverse issues in a timely manner before they have negative effects.

 

Grant access to people close to the data

What part of an organization’s data flows through the integration engine? The answer is probably “most of it.” If the integration engine is the conductor of the data flow within your organization, then it would be beneficial if it provided useful information to hospital colleagues who need the data most.

Corepoint Integration Engine delivers this flexibility through fully customizable User Profiles, which provide IT staff with the flexibility to extend ownership of specified interfaces to the actual stakeholders all the while maintaining auditable control of its usage. This type of flexible customization gives non-IT staff greater control over the data their departments both consume and produce.

Deployment of the interface monitoring capabilities to IT operations staff can reduce the number of help desk tickets and phone calls the interface team receives for issues that occur after normal business hours. An interface engine’s role is clear – Provide the data, which can be organized and presented in a way to facilitate timelier, more effective workflow and operational decisions.

Bring joy to interface work

Today’s role of an interface engine in healthcare is to address changes in a productive and proactive manner. How interfaces are built should be intuitive so that any member of the interface team can access and troubleshoot. A modern engine offers ease-of-use, allowing IT departments to improve resource allocation and accomplish larger projects more efficiently and only utilizing custom code for the most complicated interfaces.

“... It’s actually fun to develop interfaces.” - Wyoming Medical Center

Excel in a hybrid integration environment

Increased cloud and API adoption has encouraged the development of standards such as FHIR. Healthcare is expanding the use of service-based architecture, specifically SOAP and RESTful web services, through a variety of use cases. Mixing on-premise systems with cloud solutions is part of a modern workflow, however many legacy integration engines struggle to process these service-based workflows effectively.

Corepoint Integration Engine facilitates a hybrid integration environment, where data from any source can be exchanged. With full support of JSON, XML, SOAP, REST, and FHIR, developers can weave together the benefits of the cloud with on-premise systems.

Summary

An integration engine is not just an interface engine any longer—it is a healthcare integration platform that supports the operations of a care delivery organization. From interfaces to workflow to operational decisions, integration engines assist in modernizing the healthcare system.

Key points:

  • Resource utilization is a key consideration in determining the value of your interface engine and future healthcare integration initiatives.
  • It needs to be both faster and higher quality. Cycle times coupled with quality are key attributes for an interface engine. If you are evaluating new integration platforms, use a stop watch test for an interface and then test the quality of what was built. Using a stopwatch provides an interesting, useful wrinkle in evaluating a proof of concept.
  • It’s the community of care. Integration requirements have expanded outside the four walls of a healthcare organization. The interface engine needs to support a larger initiative and extend into the community in a productive, secure manner.
  • The process matters. Facilitating workflow is a critical role for interface engines today. Think logic, think alerts. Support processes and act on process flow information.
  • Better access to critical data will set you free to make more informed, timely decisions. Capturing data, storing it, and presenting it is a new role for interface engines – one that enables key healthcare decision makers to make complex decisions faster and better. It’s not only IT anymore; it is IT enabling the operations with insights.

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