Interoperability Project Planning?

Tip 4 in the Interoperability Tip Series

5 Questions for HIT Vendors and Internal Interfacing Teams

Like last week’s healthcare data interoperability tip, this week’s tip is geared to hospital teams asking their vendors the right questions.

Why Should Health System Leadership Care About This?


These are the basic mapping and workflow questions that kick off the planning for an interoperability project. Your teams will work with your vendors to answer these questions for every system they work with, and for most of the interfaces they build. Your managers will be tracking answers, and the quality of the information they get will impact risk, timelines, and costs.

The questions:

1. Map out the message process or workflow. For instance, if your interface transfers data from a remote application via FTP, what is the flow? Do messages start in one application, get routed to an engine, then another engine, and then finally reach the destination system?

2. Map out the business impacts of the interface. If you make changes to a patient charge interface, what is the business impact? What if you choose not to implement the interface? For example, will it result in more manual data entry for a clinician?

3. What information does the destination system need? Where in the message structure is the information found?

4. Is the vocabulary used in the destination system different from that used in the source system? Either the vendor or an internal team member will need to track vocabulary and mapping.

5. Is all of this information documented? If not, how will the vendor keep you updated on changes after your interoperability project planning phase is over ? This is an especially important question to ask vendors, since they simply won’t be as responsive two years down the road as they were during implementation and go-live.

Caristix Software

These are the questions that Caristix Workgroup software asks and helps analysts answer automatically.

Download the HL7 Survival Guide

Download the HL7 Survival Guide