Top 6 Secret Ways To Simplify Your HL7 Integration

HL7 Integrations steps been accessed by doctor

In today’s healthcare industry, HL7 standards are the most
widely deployed standards. Why because these standards minimize the workload of
the vendors and they no longer have the headache of custom designing and
programming each system for applications. And the healthcare organization has
access to best practices for processes such as the collection of patient

What makes HL7 special?

While looking around the other standards, there will be
strict guidelines for processing and working on it. But, the HL7 standards are
a set of loosely defined standards. These standards are specially designed in a
way to find a quick solution to healthcare integration problems. As a result,
there are numerous versions and aspects of HL7 floating around, and interfacing
between disparate systems can be quite difficult.

Furthermore, different parts of the standard are and
ambiguous at best and incorporate noteworthy alternatives. This prompts various
vendors to make their interpretations.

Keep your translation Simple

If you keep your translation in the same language when
integrating two systems, the risk of lost or mistranslated data will be
ultimately reduced. More than 90 % of interfaces require transforming or
translating one version of HL7 v2.x into a different version of HL7 v2.x. HL7
v3 is XML-based and a complete rewrite of the standard. It adds huge levels of
risk and time to attempt to integrate systems by translating from HL7 v2.x into
XML and then back into a different dialect of HL7 v2.x.

Take Away:

Keep the language simple and consistent to avoid
mistranslated information during the process of integration

Make use of the best tools with clear visibility

As vendors will keep on updating their products/software
according to the latest technological updates, integration is always a moving
target with them. These technological changes or updates often alter their
interfaces. For instance, what data they send or receive or how the data is
formatted. So when searching for the best integration solution, check and make
sure there is good and clear visibility around the transactions. Because, at
the time when you go live with your interface, the support team must be able to
quickly view and identify all the transactions in to and out of a system. This
will ultimately help you to reduce the time and implementation cost.


Choosing the right integration solution with good visibility
will help your team to quickly lookup all the transactions in a short period
and thereby reducing the implementation cost.

Say No to standard Data & Always Use Real-world data

Integration is one of the real-world issues. In today’s
healthcare marketplace almost many of the top healthcare systems were built
more than a decade ago. These systems are still in existence they work hard to
do their best, not because they strictly adhere to the standards. So in the
real world interfacing, the shortest and most accurate path to interoperability
is the best. It is important to have the flexibility to work with the real data
coming from a system or required by a system.

Some of the catchy descriptions for HL7 include “HL7 is a
non-standard, standard” or “HL7 is a great standard, everyone has one.” As
discussed earlier, the leniency associated with the standards means they should
work with the organization’s existing data and interfaces, rather than forcing
organizations to build something from scratch that can work with the standard.

Plan Your Data Model

The goal of interfacing should always be to keep your work,
and your interfaces, as simple as possible. By planning your data model, or
building a more efficient data model on top of a sub-optimal legacy one, you
can avoid the need for multiple redundant mappings within your interfaces. When
you standardize and normalize the data, both within your internal data
structure and your interfaces, you can easily maintain existing code and bring
new interfaces online. For example, if you store a patient’s first and last
name in both your lab result and pharmacy database tables, then you’ve doubled
the number of mappings required for each interface. This type of redundancy can
quickly balloon, leaving your integration engineers with massive amounts of
glue code to maintain at each site. A well-planned data model will pay huge
dividends as the number of interfaces you maintain grows.

Consider Your Monitoring Strategy

Half of the work of integration is keeping your interfaces
up and running. Make sure the solutions you adopt have support for monitoring
your interfaces and notifying your technical staff when problems occur.
Ensuring your staff has all the tools and training required to not only create
interfaces but also monitor and maintain them, is the key to the success of
your overall integration goals.

Final Thoughts

Most healthcare organizations can overcome the emerging challenges of HL7 integration by adopting these best practices. Hospitals and healthcare networks can minimize the time and cost of integration, ensure real-time access to the information they need and thereby help increase efficiency and improve overall patient care.

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About The Author

Author: Pandi Paramasivan

Pandi is the founder and CEO of CapMinds, a cutting-edge healthtech company dedicated to empowering individuals to take control of their well-being. Under his 13 years of leadership, CapMinds has completed more than 100 healthcare projects that include customization and integration for OpenEMR, HL7 FHIR, Mirth Connect, Telehealth, Remote Patient Monitoring, Connected Health, and more.

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