HIEs and Interface Testing

Interoperability barriers and HIE business models

HIEs and interface testingIn a previous post, we talked about the interoperability barriers facing HIEs (healthcare information exchanges). What are they? Primarily 1) cost and 2) complexity. That is, the cost of interface development, and the technical difficulty involved. These are especially in context of the business model switch, as HIEs move from startup grant-based funding to self-generated revenue based on membership fees and services.

The problem is, self-generated revenue is tricky to achieve at best. In some cases, the fees barely cover costs. So how do smart HIE leaders make it work? For one thing, they aren’t focused on cutting headcount (because in many cases, these are lean operations), but they are focused on speed and quality. They drive down cost by increasing speed to interface delivery without sacrificing quality.

Why requirements are critical

They increase speed and quality both by ensuring that their interfacing teams focus on requirements. Not just any requirements – the right requirements. The right interfacing requirements, gathered at the right time, set the stage for clearer communication and expectations.

Read more about HL7 requirements.

How to reduce costs while increasing speed and quality

Good requirements are one side of the interface delivery coin. The other side: testing. Once HIE leaders have put in place a strong requirements culture, they tackle interface testing and validation, which is the process of ensuring that the interface works per the requirements.

Read more about what can wrong with HL7 interface validation. It applies to HIEs and their interface testing.

HIE leaders focus on testing and validation because the interfaces they deliver must broker key workflows between partners: hospitals, physician practices, labs, immunization registries, cancer registries, and more. The good thing is that many workflows and requirements are standard (or near-standard) across sites. The bad thing is that data structure and data content will vary.
How do you know you’re hitting your requirements? Testing and validation. Most HIEs do this. The problem is, small changes to an interface can take a long time to test and validate. For instance, a 15-minute coding change can take 2 weeks to validate.

The best way to reduce time spent on testing and validation is to automate the process. So that 2-week test cycle can be reduced to 1 hour.

And that’s exactly what smart HIE leaders are doing: they are finding ways to automate testing. This ensures that interfaces are delivered faster – and with more quality and confidence.

Caristix and HIE interface testing

The Caristix platform automates testing and validation for interfaces. Check out our tutorials for common validation scenarios.

Watch the on-demand demo of the Caristix Workgroup platform. You won’t be disappointed.