4 Questions You Must Ask Before Your Next EMR Integration
We’ve been told that we cannot have real-time EMR integration in healthcare. And to sit tight and wait for FHIR or the promise of future technology to mature. We are here to tell you that you can have access to all of your data and you can have it now.
Ask your integration partner these four questions and then call us to learn how we are doing it today.
1. How do you secure our data? A well-designed architecture should leverage the EMR’s security model, credentials, authentication and authorization. Are they adding security layers? Are they creating and maintaining translation tables? Or populating new databases via HL7 transactions and then layering web-services on top? These legacy models are limited and require a copy of your EMR database. Creating another database only gives hackers more opportunity to steal your data. APIs and RESTful web services do not persist or store any data. Once the API ‘call’ is complete, the data is gone. That is data security.
2. Does your solution require significant care and feeding? If you use HL7 interfaces as your integration solution, how much time do you spend maintaining these interfaces? Custom HL7 interfaces require constant attention to stay current with EMR database changes resulting from development, patches and upgrades. A middleware solution that can read and write EMR data by leveraging vendor-provided modules is relatively immune to these challenges. An integration model based on APIs delivers the ability to “set it and forget it”.
3. How do I get information in real-time and can you implement this quickly? Will you be able to manage, retrieve and use clinical data on demand for analysis, measurement and to improve care delivery? If the answer is yes, be sure to verify that they can do this now and it is not something they hope to do in the future. By using a middleware solution, you can unlock your EMR data today and allow different applications to communicate with each other using a standardized format. This makes it possible, regardless of where the data is located, for healthcare providers to have access to the exact clinical data they need, where they need it and whenever they need it. Oh, and the right middleware solution (such as Emissary) can be implemented in days, not months, because the installation has already been scripted with the complex data connections.
4. How will you help me save money? What resources are required for implementation? By significantly eliminating complex interfaces you reduce the resource and time commitments by internal IT resources and external consultants. Connectivity no longer requires custom HL7 development and maintenance. We’ve seen some digital health companies eliminate their entire integration teams. With a universal set of APIs, the time spent performing long, labor intensive installations and integrated testing can be reduced by as much as 80%! Now that’s saving money!
The bottom line is that everyone needs to prepare for doing more with less as you carve a path to value based care. Middleware is making ‘best of breed’ not only cool again, but it’s a must have when planning for value-based care and Triple Aim. API’s deliver a solution, today, for EMR integration and a path to interoperability. Based on our consumer experience, it’s an easy decision. Today’s EMRs are powerful platforms, however they don’t offer everything you need to be able to deliver effective patient care. Look at Apple and Google; they realized their mobile platforms were essentially operating systems and they could not offer the very best app in every category. Middleware allows innovative companies to easily integrate with the EMR. Developers no longer need to be EMR experts; they can focus on building world class apps. Health systems can quickly make buying decisions based on features and functionality, not customized integrations. Now, doesn’t that sounds like a better use of your time and money?