Interfacing Capabilities and Costs

By | Published: October 8th, 2014

When you first start researching the interfacing capabilities of each engine vendor, you might be overwhelmed. If you’re in a startup, small company, or a hospital with fewer than 100 beds, get ready for sticker shock. Interfacing and integration don’t come cheap.

And if you’re in a bigger organization and you need a new engine, get ready for complexity and value propositions that may be overkill.

 This post will help you match your needs to the capabilities in the market. [...]

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Categories : HL7 Interfacing

What is De-identification?

By | Published: October 1st, 2014

De-identification is a technique to mask or remove protected health information (PHI) from sensitive patient data. If you need to use production HL7 data, you’ll need to find a way to protect PHI. De-identification is a good choice when you need to:

Troubleshoot an interface
Populate a test system
Gather data for analytics

Why de-identify?

There are a number of reasons you should consider de-identification.

1. Leverage the richness of production data

When you test a system or an interface, you’ll cover the most realistic test scenarios [...]

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Categories : De-identification

The HL7® Survival Guide – 2 Year Anniversary

By | Published: September 24th, 2014

It’s been 2 years this fall that we started publishing the HL7® Survival Guide chapter by chapter. It’s proven to be our most popular download and has been called “truly awesome reading for a true practitioner”.

The HL7® Survival Guide helps you get in control of the entire interface lifecycle. Move beyond the basics with a go-to guide full of real-world practice advice on effective interfacing. The HL7® Survival Guide helps you cut non-value-added tasks and focus on the essential.

Take this [...]

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Categories : HL7 Survival Guide

What are HL7 requirements?

By | Published: September 17th, 2014

Requirements Thinking

What are HL7 requirements? First, in the world of software engineering, requirements refer to documented needs that an application or system must perform. Requirements are critical for both designing the software and verifying that it works. In the world of HL7 interfacing, requirements thinking is the right way to build an interface. The problem is, traditional HL7 requirements-gathering leaves serious gaps.

Traditional HL7 Requirements Approach

Key technique: manual analysis and pipe counting in message samples
Small data samples
Incomplete and/or outdated documentation

The result is [...]

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Extracting Maximum Value from Your Artifacts

By | Published: September 9th, 2014

Tip 25 in the Interoperability Tip Series

This is our last tip in the Interoperability Tip Series. Read the entire series here.

The fact is that the value of your interface-related artifacts increases over time. While they’re useful for development and go-live, they are essential down the road, in a year or two or more. Follow the 4 best practices for extracting maximum value from your artifacts and get the most from them.

1. Work with real-world messages.

When you’re developing deliverables such [...]

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What is Reverse-Engineering?

By | Published: September 2nd, 2014

Why consider reverse-engineering? Lack of accurate specs

If you’ve worked on an interfacing team or for HIE, one of the issues you’ll hear about is a lack of accurate interface specifications. For instance, the vendor spec might be missing. Or the source or destination spec on hand might no longer match the production version.

So what do you do?

Lack of specs: what’s the impact on your ability to deliver?

Well, you might be facing weeks of digging and research. You’re missing a lot [...]

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Categories : HL7 Data HL7 Interfacing

Why Document HL7 Profiles (or Specs)? Part 2

By | Published: August 27th, 2014

Tip 24 in the Interoperability Tip Series

Read Part 1 here

In our previous tip we asked: why document HL7 profiles and specs. In beginning to answer that question, we explained that profile documentation is critical for troubleshooting and maintenance.

Another benefit to documenting profiles is that it streamlines processes when you are performing a system upgrade. Let’s say you’re changing or upgrading your pharmacy system – that change affects the interface of any other system that communicates with the pharmacy system. Imagine [...]

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Why Document Your HL7 Profiles and Specs? Part 1

By | Published: August 18th, 2014

Tip 23 in the Interoperability Tip Series

The last few tips have been about what to document and how to document. This one and the next explain why documenting your HL7 profiles and specs is so important.

When you document your HL7 profiles and specs, you can much more easily troubleshoot issues and tweak configuration once your interface is live. Plus, if you created electronic – i.e., machine readable – versions of your profiles, you can use them in your monitoring. For [...]

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Overcoming CDA and CCD Barriers

By | Published: August 13th, 2014


In the design of Meaningful use, C-CDA – especially CCD – was supposed to solve the pressing issues in healthcare concerning interoperability and data exchange problems. But it’s just not turning out that way.

Emerging Major Data Exchange Problems

One recent study found 11 interoperability barriers relative to C-CDA. This is of concern and it’s a concern that integration analysts and developers will have to address in their work.  How does an organization deal with the mismatch of specific patient information? What [...]

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Categories : CCD-CDA What's New

Managing Interoperability and Interfacing Assets

By | Published: August 7th, 2014

Tip 22 in the Interoperability Tip Series

In the previous tip, we talked about documenting your interfaces and workflows – especially important for HIE organizations. This tip is all about our recommendations for what to look for when you’re planning out how to organize your assets – documentation, requirements, test scenarios, and the rest.

4 Capabilities to Seek Out

Visualize all of your interoperability assets, from multiple interface engines to the interfaces themselves.
Cover the entire interface lifecycle.
Access a library of interfacing assets and [...]

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