How does Mirth Connect stack up as an HIT Interface Engine?


An introduction to the Mirth™ Connect Application.

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One year ago an organization approached us with the need to integrate their patient portal solution into a popular EMR. Connecting hundreds of practices and millions of patients through their portal required a special kind of interface engine. At the core, we needed something that could transport data quickly, reliably, and securely, but we also needed one at an attractive price point that offered a variety of data transformation features.

With dozens of interface engines available on the market, we ultimately chose one out of Costa Mesa, California: Mirth™ Connect. A year later, they have hundreds of thousands of secure patient-provider messages, CCDs, and lab results flowing through this interface engine on a monthly basis. You may never have heard of it before, but after our experience with Mirth™ Connect, we think you should.

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Like most of the popular interface engines, Mirth™ Connect can transfer data in a variety of formats and standards including HL7, XML, and CCD through protocols like HTTP(S), (S)FTP, or database interaction. In this series of blog posts on Mirth™ Connect, we’ll discuss how the application sets itself apart from the rest of the pack based on our experience developing in Mirth™.

We want to start off by introducing the user interface. The Dashboard is the primary location for monitoring each of your interfaces, which Mirth™ refers to as channels. In just this one screen, users can view the status of all of their channels along with information regarding the quantity of traffic flowing through them. Clicking on any channel in the Dashboard will take you to a Message Log screen where you can view each individual message that has been processed by your channel. A variety of filtering options are presented to help you to search for any specific message or group of messages.

Unlike many other interface engines, Mirth™ Connect allows you to build as many interfaces in the Channels screen as you want at no additional cost. What we love most about it is the powerful scripting options available in channel development. Mirth™ enables its users to write Java or JavaScript code in their channels to allow for creative and flexible message transformations. Scripting can be applied against the source (the input data) and to each of its destinations (channels can send data to multiple locations in your preferred order).

For administration and maintenance, the Mirth™ Connect application also offers screens for Users, Settings, Alerts, Events, and Extensions. Between these different pages, you can set up alerts to notify you when channels experience errors, install extensions increasing the capabilities of the interface engine, and create server processes that will automatically prune old messages from your database to free up disk space.

In the coming weeks we will dive deeper into Mirth™ Connect to highlight its advantages and disadvantages, tips and tricks, and how to maximize the security of your interfaces. To learn about how Galen can assist your organization with using Mirth™, please contact us at sales@galenhealthcare.com.

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