BlogPosts/Health Care Integration using HL7 and a Swiss Army Knife

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Health Care Integration using HL7 and a Swiss Army Knife

A while back, I was working with a hospital customer, on a data integration project, to leverage existing health care message processing involving ADT messages.  The hospital needed to be able to have access to their messages as they passed from the source to their Hospital Information System (HIS).  They needed to be able to 1) modify the messages as they passed through, 2) generate additional messages from the original message and send the generated data to other operational systems and databases.  The hospital needed to accomplish this without affecting their existing data flow and processes.

Well I presented them with a pretty simple and straight forward approach using ConnectMate Interface Engine.  The design allow the hospital to intervene right between two systems that were already talking.  The goal was to keep everything flowing as normal, and to be able to use the same data that was already coming into the hospital system, for multiple purposes. 

In order to implement the solution in the most flexible way possible, I followed these simple steps:

  1. Installed ConnectMate Engine on a server, in their environment (On-Premises)
  2. I created a process flow with:
    1. A Listening connection that mimicked their hospital management system.
    2. A Client connection to the hospital system that I was mimicking
    3. A route to send all traffic from the new Listening Connection into the hospital system
    4. This created what we can call a pass-through or gateway interface.
  3. I then connected the original source of the information to the new listening connection.  At this point we could see and interact with all messages traveling through the new pass-through.
  4. I then created processing logic in the listening connection to read and make decisions based on what was in each incoming message.  This way I could send the messages to other processes without changing the original message flow.

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The customer then wanted to create new HL7 messages based on certain messages that came in, add additional segments to the message, and send those messages to different systems.  So, we simply:

  1. Added source code to find a specific value in a message.  If the value existed, we simply routed the message to a specific processing connection.
  2. On the processing connection, we added code to find a specific element in the message and based on the value of that element, we created new segments in the message, essentially creating a new message.
  3. We then sent the new message(s) to the new downstream systems.  This is something that the hospital could not do before.  This works equally well for clinics, insurance companies, ACOs and others.

We followed these last 3 steps for several other new internal processes and helped the customer improve their overall service delivery to patients.

 Once we had completed the project, while discussing the solution in a post implementation meeting, an architect with the Hospital Information System vendor stated that “Vince was able to come in with his ConnectMate Swiss Army Knife, and in record-time, solve every interface problem we ran into”.   During the project, Vince never had to say no, but instead, “We can do that and how soon do you need it”.

 ConnectMate is so powerful and flexible that I really haven’t found a health care data integration problem that we could not help a customer solve.  Now we have new capabilities like Micro Services and HL7 FHIR entering the scene, and we are already proving that we can solve problems with those practices as well.



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Vince Yoder

Mr Vince Yoder is the Director of Health Care Integration with the NexusHIE Team (Nexus Point Systems Integration, LLC Health Care Division).  He is a Certified ConnectMate Architect and Engineer with more than 10 years experience on the platform.  Vince is hands on daily with hospital integration projects involving HL7 based solutions.  Vince is responsible for architecture and engineering for client integration solutions.  He is also responsible for developer training for clients and independent integration contractors.  Vince served his country in the U.S. Army specializing in missle systems and mainframe computers. Vince has 11 years experience as a Hospital IT Department Manager responsible for network security and administration as well as systems integration.  He also periodically teaches IT courses in the area community college system.