Oracle’s decision to sunset the eGate HL7 integration engine has been a little bit of a headache for healthcare organizations. In reality, it has been an ongoing migraine for those who have not replaced it. eGate customer support is virtually unheard of, and if you are lucky enough to find skilled developers with specific Java and Monk experience you better have a big checkbook.
Additionally, depending on contractors to build, implement and maintain the multiple eGate interfaces results in increased costs, lack of control of interfacing projects and delayed access to important clinical data.
Making the decision to migrate from eGate is only the first step in the process, a process that can seem overwhelming when you consider the hundreds or thousands of application to application healthcare interfaces that need to be streamlined. There are many interface engines available today but when evaluating interface engines it is important to select one that is easy to use, robust, fits in the organizations work environment and aligns with the long-term IT goals.
Your vehicle. Many interface engines are very powerful and require individuals with specific programming skills to design and execute an efficient healthcare integration platform. Typically, these integration solutions are pricey and development time is lengthy. Other interface engines on the market are robust, designed with a simpler approach and require personnel to have basic programming or analyst-level skills. These solutions are usually competitive in price and development time is much shorter.
With many different integration solutions, it is essential for healthcare organizations to take the time to research and identify the one that best fits their environment. Organizations should consider many things including business model, location, size, areas of expertise, services offered and personnel needs. Failure to take these things into consideration can result in a solution that is very costly in time, price, personnel and productivity.
When determining the integration engine that will work best for your organization a thorough analysis should be completed. Below are some key attributes you may want your integration engine to include:
- Universal Connectivity
- Simplify application connectivity to provide a flexible and dynamic infrastructure
- Routes and transforms messages from anywhere, to anywhere
- Simple programming
- Transformation options include Graphical mapping,
- Operational Management and Performance
- Wide range of operating system and hardware platforms supported
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Now that you have identified where you want to go and the vehicle you are going to use, it is time to take a look at the map that will get you to your destination.
Your road map. Converting interfaces from eGate to your new integration engine may seem like an insurmountable task. However, the steps involved can actually be quite easy.
1. Review and Document the Existing Workflow
2. Gather Sample HL7 Messages
3. Gather Business Requirements
4. Convert Business Requirements to New Integration Engine
5. Test Interface(s)
6. Go Live
It is recommended to “Go Live” with only one or two interfaces in production at any given time which means the actual conversion process will vary depending on how many interfaces are involved and the rate at which each interface is moved into production.
Your destination. By selecting an integration engine that is easy-to-use, uses a simple and repeatable approach and is scalable, your healthcare organization can take control of their interfacing projects. You may want to consider Service-Oriented Architecture as the basic plumbing behind the integration platform to handle some of the simple HL7 message transformations to reduce the load on the integration engine. The combination of HL7 and SOA creates a flexible interoperability solution that can be phased into use within a healthcare organization to support both Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiatives. In addition to meeting regulations, you will be well on your way to lowered total cost of ownership, increased IT productivity, improved performance and real-time monitoring of your systems.