On a visit to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Corepoint Health Founder and CTO, Dave Shaver sat down to interview Joe Hamilton, UnityPoint Health’s Technical Team Lead – Interoperability. Their conversation covered a variety of topics ranging from operating system performance, integration engine evolution, the growth and change of the healthcare industry, and ways in which engines and engine teams can impact patient care.
Topic: A more productive team
Topic: Building and supporting interfaces
Topic: Impact of an integration engine on patient care
Dave:There’s a CIO, there’s a Director of Clinical Applications, there’s an Interface Engine Manager and they say, “You know, we’ve had an engine for a long time. It’s working well enough. We don’t really have a motivation to change.” The similar category of new school flip phone versus smart phone. What would you tell them that would be a motivator to look at another engine given that what they have is working well enough?
Joe: I guess I would ask them, “Are you always satisfied with the way things are or are you constantly looking for ways to make things better?” I mean, an engine is a pretty significant investment, there’s no doubt about that. It’s fairly costly changing from one engine to another, but if you look at the big picture and all the things that we’ve talked about so far, I think that you would be crazy not to be thinking and looking for ways to do things better and faster. Just because you’ve been doing something the same way for the last five years doesn’t mean that’s what it needs to look like the next five years.
Challenge yourself to think, “What could we do better?” Don’t be satisfied until you feel that you’re perfect, and nobody’s perfect so you’re never going to get there, so keep pushing. Keep looking. Keep trying to find out what’s out there and just ask some questions. There’s no harm in asking questions. You might find something that you really like.
Dave: Somebody might say, “Come on, Joe. How could an engine make that much difference?” All engines push messages. How much impact is it really going to have on my world?
Joe: If you look at engines just generally speaking, what is an engine? It’s a transport method. We have great organizations, HL7.org, that said, “This is the standard for healthcare messaging and everybody has generally accepted it.” Well, guess what? The actual transport methodology for HL7 is the same regardless of the engine you use. They all connect the same. They’re all using the same protocols.
Ask yourself, where can we really get the benefits? Can we get the benefits from development? Can we get the benefits from toolsets that provide efficiencies in testing? Can we get the benefits from being able to push X number of messages a day?
Overall, you have to look at the engine as a whole and find where you can gain your efficiencies. Whether it’s freeware or a $5 million system. Nobody cares. The more interesting pieces are around development and how it works during testing and how do you move from test to production. What does that look like? There are some feature sets built into Corepoint that are much better than other systems that I’ve worked with that allow us to actually test the code as though it’s running on the production engine from our desk. We can test it against the test engine and the production engine without ever leaving the application we’re in. I don’t know of anybody else that does that.
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Additional UnityPoint Health Perspectives
Building and Programming Interfaces