The Importance of Interoperability and How Galen Can Help You


Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report called, “Use and Characteristics of Electronic Health Record Systems Among Office-based Physician Practices”.  This report detailed statistics and trends describing the rates of adoption of Electronic Health Records systems among practice-based physicians in 2013.  The report showed that over 78% of office-based physicians are now using some type of electronic health record system.  This is a dramatic increase over the 2001 figure of 18%.  In addition, over 69% of office-based physicians intended to participate for “meaningful use” incentives (cdc.gov).  It’s become very clear that EHRs are the primary method that healthcare will be practiced, administered, and recorded in the future.

interoperability

Now that practices and hospitals have largely adopted EHRs, there is a big push to connect them.  The ability for healthcare organizations to access data from disparate systems is more important than ever.  Access to a patient’s complete record at any location they are seen will enable healthcare providers to leverage their data in order to gather new insights.  These insights will lead to the development of new strategies for improving care.  Nearly all of CIOs, CTOs, and IT managers know that integration is a top priority.  When surveyed in 2012, 90% of respondents answered that integration is a main concern and is critical to success.  Healthcare integration is at an all-time high as government incentives have created a race towards meaningful use money. Over 40% of healthcare organizations responded that they achieved Meaningful Use stage 1 from this 2012 report. (corehealthtechnologies.com)

Core Health Technologies conducted an “HL7 Interface Technology” survey in 2012 in order to gather information on where we were as an industry with healthcare interface integration and where we are headed.  The survey asked CIOs, CTOs, IT Managers, and HL7 Professionals questions about interface technology.  The data was collected, “…during a 14 day period in August 2012 through their website…over 1,350 individuals participated in [the] survey.  All participants lived and worked in the United States and [were] employed by healthcare organizations, predominantly providers, using HL7 interfaces.” (corehealthtechnologies.com)

Corepoint Technologies drew some powerful insights from their 2012 survey.  While the report is a couple of years old, it still gives a high-level picture of the challenges that healthcare IT face in tackling interoperability.  The first thing to notice when reading the report is that there are a wide variety of interface engines being used throughout the healthcare IT market.  Having so many different solutions can be a positive in that it creates competition (competition means the consumer wins), but when every healthcare organization is using a different piece of software, it can be difficult to be on the same page.

Cloverleaf, as of 2012, was the market leader in interface engines controlling around 13% of the market.  Epic, Mirth, eGATE JCAPS, OPENLink, and Iguana came in with impressive market share numbers as well.

HL7 Technologies being used from respondents of Core Health’s survey (2012):

Cloverleaf [Lawson (Quovadx)] 13.10%
Point-to-Point 11.70%
Epic Bridges [Epic] 10.20%
Mirth Connect [Mirth Corporation] 7.60%
JCAPS/ICAN/e*Gate/DataGate… 6.60%
OPENLink [Siemens] 5.80%
Iguana™ [iNTERFACEWARE] 5.70%
Open Engine [Cerner] 5.50%
eLink [Allscripts (Eclipsys)] 5.30%
Rhapsody [Orion Health] 4.50%
Pathways [McKesson] 4.40%
Corepoint, NeoTool [Corepoint Health] 4.20%
BizTalk [Microsoft®] 4.10%
Ensemble [Intersystems] 3.50%
Fusion Middleware [Oracle] 2.30%
I don’t know 1.90%
EasyConnect [Iatric Systems] 1.80%
e-Biz Impact [Sybase] 1.40%
iWay [iWay Software] 0.40%

It’s also interesting to see where CIOs, CTOs, IT Managers, and HL7 Professions saw interface engines going 2-5 years in the future.  When asked which interface engines would be leading the market in 2-5 years, respondents answered with Cloverleaf, Microsoft BizTalk, Corepoint, Epic, and Orion Rhapsody in that order.  What interface engines will be used in the future is a valuable piece of information when considering where the industry is headed.

Some other important conclusions that came from Core Health Technology’s report is that high turnover is an issue in Healthcare IT and interfacing specifically.  Whether this is because of the difficulty of these implementations or just a lack of fit, it is a worthwhile investment to try and identify the source of this high turnover.  Having an experienced interface team who understands your system and individual characteristics and challenges is invaluable.  Creating a retention strategy for these employees and trying to identify the reasons they leave is crucial.  The tacit knowledge that these employees begin to possess is difficult to teach, and is very useful.

With all this being said, it’s important that a healthcare organization have a team of experienced, flexible, thoughtful, and prepared healthcare professionals who are ready to meet your healthcare needs.  Galen’s integration services team are a group of talented professions that are fluent in HL7, Orion Rhapsody, ConnectR, and SQL.  They have worked in small clinics and large hospital networks alike and always work with the organization to find a solution that works best for them.  Find out more about our suite of solutions below:

http://www.galenhealthcare.com/products-services/technical-services/integration-services/

Resources:

The 2012 Hl7 Interface Technology Survey Results. “The 2012 HL7 Interface Technology Survey Results.” 2012 HL7 Interface (n.d.): n. pag. Web. <http://corehealthtechnologies.com/main/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/2012-HL7-Interface-Technology-Survey-Results.pdf>.

“Use and Characteristics of Electronic Health Record Systems Among Office-based Physician Practices.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db143.htm>.

 

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