How to be smart with integrations

Brad Storm By Brad Storm, VP Technologies & Integrations
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January 11, 2022

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Integrations are the best way to maximize the value of interactive systems.

Many hospitals have grown leery of integrations having experienced budgets or timelines being eaten away in projects gone awry.

But integrating your hospital systems doesn’t have to be a negative experience.

A good interactive patient systems (IPS) provider should shoulder most of the integration burden, and a well-built platform makes it easy to expand system functionality by adding more integrations over time.

By partnering and planning with the right technology provider, a few key integrations can create more efficiencies and a better use experience — likely leading to higher adoption rates.

Here are some ways to keep integrations under control.

Plan to expand.

Embrace a strategy of ever-increasing interoperability by growing systems, not silos. These systems can provide more value collectively than individually.

Plan for integrations by budgeting early for key use integrations, including a HL7 ADT feed for systems that leverage patient info, as well as an HL7 or XML interface back into the EHR. Other options include FHIR and XML/Web API integrations, file transfers and database reads/writes.

Building a few broad use integrations early makes it easy to add on functionality over time.

Don’t reinvent the wheel.

As customized integrations can be very expensive to build or purchase, consider interface messages that are already designed to pass the data to and from the EHR.

Many common integrations are based on HL7 standards like ADT, orders, results, schedule, procedure info, discharge info, progress notes and CCD.

HL7 messaging requires little to no customizations to move data between clinical systems.

Don’t DIY.

IPS vendors have experience integrating with EHRs and third-party systems. They know your systems and their systems.

As you’re evaluating IPS vendors, ask for integration references to determine their true integration abilities.

Learn what third-party integrators charge for similar integrations so you aren’t overpaying your vendors for interface work.

Test. Then test some more.

Instead of spending your time writing integrations, spend it testing integrations.

Test as many different interface messages as reasonably allowed, and always watch for proper processing of special characters.

Issues found in testing will save you time in production.

Rely on SONIFI.

Seamless, connected technology gets used and leveraged. It isn’t hard to achieve with a little planning.

While integrations choices are not a now-or-never, all-or-nothing decision, there is a lot to gain from planning in the beginning to build a highly functional future-proof system.

SONIFI Health has built dozens of integrations, including interfaces to EHRs, dietary systems, building automation systems, voice assistants and more.

We’d love to talk about how we can help you.


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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2018. It has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.

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