How to Develop an Interface Gap Analysis Document

Tip 10 in the Interoperability Tip Series

In the previous tip, we covered specifications. Another key requirements or scoping document you’ll need is a gap analysis. In this tip, we discuss how to develop an interface gap analysis document.

Many analysts develop their own gap analysis templates in Microsoft Word or Excel. To fill in templates, they look at messages, run queries when they can, and manually document their findings. This can be a fairly onerous process if they’re basing the analysis on real-world messages (as opposed to doing a simple vendor spec walk-through). Another option is to take advantage of software that automates the gap analysis process.

Whatever your approach, you want answers to the following questions so you can identify gaps related to messages:

  1. Does the destination system handle all of the message types from the sending system?
  2. Are there any differences between the message structures in each system?  If so, what are they?
  3. Are there any mandatory data elements on one side that are optional on the other?  If so, what are they?
  4. Do both systems use the same code sets? Are they the same values?  Which values do I need to map?
  5. Do both systems specify the same maximum length of characters for data fields?
  6. What z-segments are in use?
  7. Is the data semantically consistent? In other words, does the meaning or significance of an element always match across both systems?
  8. What are the requirements for encryption or de-identification, usage restrictions, and HIPAA compliance related to confidential information?

In the next tip, we’ll explain why you need a gap analysis.

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