Future-Proofing Your Healthcare Integration Strategy on a Budget

Future-Proofing Your Healthcare Integration Strategy on a Budget


All healthcare delivery providers, especially those whose organizations are small to medium-sized, are facing difficult decisions about their IT applications. Budgets have been shrinking, pressure to innovate never abates, and we’re in the midst of a pandemic. Should healthcare delivery organizations stand pat with their legacy systems or update them? Can the choice they make now safeguard them from having to adopt or accept more disruptive upgrades later?

To future-proof any integration strategy contemplated, IT decision-makers should take into account three issues:

  1. How much control they have
  2. Whether skilled resources are available
  3. Future costs to scale and innovate

NextGen Connect, formerly known as Mirth, is an open source interface engine that facilitates healthcare interoperability. Galen has found it to be invaluable in overcoming a variety of integration challenges.

The level of control: Having an agnostic engine in place as opposed to one that is tied directly to your EMR vendor provides substantial benefits when switching to a new EMR. Such transitions are massive in scope, requiring the evaluation, purchase, and implementation of a new integration engine, thus raising new demands on organizational resources and budgets. Having “control” means applying foresight to separate your ancillary connections from your EMR vendor. “Control” means being able to make strategic decisions about the future without having to return to square one with your technology partners.

Skilled resources:  Finding capable staff is challenging whether you intend to rely on your trusted partners or are looking to hire full-time employees. This is especially difficult if your current integration engine is based on antiquated technology or customized programming languages. NextGen Connect mitigates the resources issue. It is a combination of GUI-based interactions blended with the object-oriented language of JavaScript, consistently ranked one of the most popular web development programming languages in the world. NextGen Connect’s open sourcing has already resulted in more than 100k downloads building an ever-increasing library and collaborative community that currently includes 30k members.

Costs: Nextgen Connect’s Open-Source Project supports the most commonly used communication protocols and message formats in the healthcare industry.  Given the flexibility of JavaScript, most organizations can run effectively on the open source version.  However, if your initiatives call for specific use cases only found in the commercial version of NextGen Connect (e.g., C-CDA message formats or connections over HTTPS), flat fee licensing allows for an unlimited number of interfaces and messaging throughput so your engine can scale without continually increasing in cost.

To learn about how Galen can assist in future proofing your integration strategy by using NextGen Connect, please contact us at sales@galenhealthcare.com

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