Rhapsody Health Solutions Team

MEDITECH, MUSE and the Unique Challenges of Point-to-Point Interfaces

A recent look at HIMSS Analytics shows that approximately 30% of all hospitals and health systems in the U.S. are MEDITECH HIS customers. These 1,500 providers are likely anticipating next week’s 2012 International MUSE Conference in Orlando, Fla., where they will gather to learn best practices and to connect with similar users who can help them get the most out of their HIS.

As with each HIS, MEDITECH has unique challenges health IT departments must learn and overcome so they can effectively share medical records within the four walls of their organization and externally with affiliated providers and various forms of health information exchanges.

Meditech has always provided traditional point-to-point interfaces for the various other applications within the facility that require clinical information from Meditech. However, things can get somewhat cumbersome when the point-to-point connections require updating or when additional interfaces are needed to and from other applications or systems.

There are two options when trying to integrate data into or out of MEDITECH and disparate systems: purchase additional point-to-point interfaces from MEDITECH or leverage an existing point-to-point interface with an interface engine to route data to and from additional systems. Here are two common interfacing questions we have been asked by several of our Meditech customers:

What is the development time for interfaces in an engine compared to the point-to-point approach?

Deploying new interfaces in an interface engine can typically be completed in less than four hours, including building data mapping logic and testing to ensure the data is being delivered as planned. Building point-to-point interfaces can take several weeks because a new implementation must be scheduled with Meditech to complete the routing, parsing, and mapping of the new connection. An integration engine simply leverages a connection that already has the appropriate data, and transforms it for the new application.

If I have to purchase an interface from the vendor, what more can an interface engine do for me?

Monitoring, alerting, and data logging the status of interfaces are key features of an interface engine. Users can easily view the status of each interface, giving them the ability to troubleshoot prior to a bottleneck in the data flow. With point-to-point interfaces, health IT personnel have limited or no ability to monitor interfaces. Staff are typically alerted of problems only after being alerted by a clinician or the receiving organization.

Another benefit is that an interface engine offers the flexibility to work with healthcare standards other than HL7 v2, a key requirement of Meaningful Use and the future exchange of CCD and Consolidated CDA documents with external providers.

With a robust, extensive interface from a vendor, only one point-to-point interface is needed and then it can be leveraged when additional data exchanges with other applications are required.

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