Last updated: 3/20/18
This blog series features leading health IT organizations and their innovative solutions designed to transform health care. By leveraging application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate with electronic health records (EHRs), these organizations and health systems are solving critical clinical and business challenges in real-time. APIs are widely used in many other industries and health care is increasingly relying on them to achieve interoperability.
Adam Klass, Chief Technology Officer of VigiLanz, an industry-leading digital health care intelligence firm uses application programming interfaces (APIs) to improve clinical surveillance in real-time.
Founded in 2001, VigiLanz is a clinical surveillance platform providing health care intelligence to more than 400 hospitals in the United States. The VigiLanz platform collects disparate electronic health records (EHRs) data and transforms it into meaningful and actionable insights for clients to use. Through real-time data aggregation, VigiLanz identifies and alerts clinicians of issues that need immediate attention and ultimately, improving patient care, optimizing clinical outcomes and supporting preventive care along the entire health system continuum.
VigiLanz supports a large and growing community of hospital CMOs, CMIOs, CIOs, quality teams, infectious disease and control specialists, pharmacists and other clinicians dedicated to real-time care.
Seamless Data Integration: Essential to Improving Patient Outcomes
When implementing a surveillance platform like VigiLanz, reducing the burden of complex integration is essential to accelerating patient care. VigiLanz partners closely with the hospital’s IT department to capture data from the EHR so clinicians can ultimately receive the data, alerts and analytics needed to perform their jobs. Adam Klass, CTO of VigiLanz, places seamless integration as a top requirement among users who are primarily hospital-based clinicians.
“In any given hospital, a clinician wears multiple hats in order to perform day-to-day operations,” said Klass. “An important part of a clinician’s responsibility is to review patient data and determine who needs immediate attention. This presents a challenge at hospitals that serve hundreds of patients, each of whom may be taking multiple medications, undergoing numerous lab tests and having surgery that requires close monitoring. VigiLanz makes it very easy for clinicians to quickly login to the platform, look at specific patient data and prioritize patient care.”
VigiLanz’s Success: Using APIs for Seamless EHR Integration
VigiLanz has partnered with Sansoro Health to help hospitals eliminate and simplify traditional HL7 integration to capture patient data. “HL7 is still a common way to implement, but it can be time-consuming for the hospital’s IT department and challenging to receive all of the relevant data,” said Klass.
Through the VigiLanz platform, any clinical use case can be tracked in real-time as long as that data flows into the platform. For some of VigiLanz’s customers, they were able to capture a large data footprint. For others, however, it proved challenging to get all of the necessary data, which kept these health systems from benefiting from the full depth and breadth the platform could deliver.
Another challenge is accessing legacy data from EHRs through HL7, noted Klass. Integrating legacy patient data typically adds costs and time required by the hospital IT department where the data is stored. Maintenance time and fees are an additional factor that must be considered in this process.
“All EHRs have the ability to provide the data, but there is always time associated with this process. This time requirement leads to longer implementations or results in a lack of data access in some cases,” he said.
Using Sansoro Health’s Emissary® software platform, VigiLanz achieves a more rapid and robust integration between its platform and the hospital’s EHR. Sansoro Health’s API endpoints allow VigiLanz to access the full data footprint in real-time. VigiLanz’s sophisticated rules engine runs every few minutes to pull the essential data clinicians need. As clinicians work in the VigiLanz platform, Sansoro Health’s API endpoints pass the information back into the EHR, eliminating the need for clinicians to document patient data twice.
From the back-end data collection, Sansoro Health’s API endpoints pull essential patient data in real-time – whether for labs, test results, microbiology, medication orders or drug administrations.
“We’re able to get the patient information every few minutes and then have it presented to clients as a unified data model,” said Klass. This integration reduces the workload for VigiLanz by eliminating time previously spent on implementation and importing data into the platform.
In addition, VigiLanz uses Emissary API endpoints to capture per patient calls including pulling data for procedures, allergy information, documentation and problem lists, creating an even more robust data footprint for each client. This process alleviates the need for clinicians to ask their IT departments to pull reports, which can take weeks or even up to months to do.
Emissary API endpoints also allow for bi-directional data flow from VigiLanz back into the EHR, which alleviates the need for the clinicians to double document and allows them to focus on patient care.
Why Sansoro Health?
For VigiLanz, Sansoro Health provides the expertise and technology to meet a specific set of needs.
“We wanted to work with a company that would be nimble and flexible, and actually look at what we needed and build it into their product,” said Klass. “It’s pretty unique to find a partner with the expertise and technology to meet each of your requirements. And at the end of the day, we’re helping both clinicians and their patients.”
Learn how health IT innovators use APIs to provide best-in-class applications with unmatched integration.