FAQ: What types of integrations do you see the most often at iNTERFACEWARE?
Here at iNTERFACEWARE, we often get asked about what specific types of integrations we typically work with. Here are the five most common interfaces that we help our customers with, the business impact of each interface, and how they are most commonly implemented.
This interface involves accessing patient registration records in order to initiate the flow of patient information into your workflow. This information can include names, birth dates, insurance information, hospital events (adminissions, discharges, transfers), etc.
Interfaces for patient demographics help to establish the identity of patients across health information systems, care providers, and service providers. Electronic sharing of this information reduces error from double input and reduces duplication by potentially merging existing records in separate systems.
Demographic information can play a key role in establishing optimal care or medications. For example, a clinical decision support service provider could use demographics to identify vulnerable populations for certain diseases.
Message Format: ADT messages (Admission, Discharge, Transfer).
How It’s Sent: Usually LLP, a protocol for sending point-to-point that can be protected by transmitting over a virtual private network.
Orders and Results
Order messages are one of the most common information exchanges in healthcare. For example, ambulatory end users, such as imaging centers and diagnostic laboratories use them to receive orders and send results. In addition, EMR vendors (typically generating the orders), hospitals, and primary care providers will be on the ordering side of the workflow.
Order and result messages can play a role in many workflows, however, at iNTERFACEWARE, we find that they are most commonly used to send Radiology Orders and Lab Orders, where the order and result messages are integrated into a RIS (Radiology Information System) or a LIS (Laboratory Information System).
Orders are a source of income and drive business growth. Competition is high in these industries so timely electronic results can add competitive advantage to end users.
The sharing of orders and results improves quality, efficiency, and coordination of care through:
- Providing fast communication between healthcare systems
- Improved use of tests and reduced test turnaround time
- Eliminating duplicate data entry, cutting down on staff time, and input errors
- Enhances transparency over the status of a service by sending back updates over the progress of an order (eg. order received, scheduled, scans completed, report complete etc.)
Message Format: ORM messages for orders and updates, ORU messages for results.
How It’s Sent: Usually LLP, though occasionally over web services or in batch files over FTP.
Patient Care Histories
This scenario primarily involves moving patient care histories between primary care physicians, acute care hospitals, long-term health facilities, and other care partners. Sometimes, these patient care summaries are submitted to a Health Information Exchange (HIE), which facilitates the sharing of these documents. These patient histories are also often used as the basis for sharing health information back to the patient through patient portals and other various methods.
New reimbursement models, primarily value-based reimbursements, make these types of interfaces necessary as payments are received based on quality of care. Transitions of care between facilities is improved through the sharing of patient information which ultimately, improves patient health. Patients are also better informed and engaged in their health plan through the use of patient portals.
Message Format: C-CDA, or Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture. These are XML documents.
How It’s Sent: Usually over web services to HIEs, particularly in a format called SOAP. Sometimes via another method like FTP, Direct email (or fax) to other recipients.
Public Health Reporting
As a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Meaningful Use (MU) initiative requires hospitals, laboratories, and physician offices to submit particular data and events to different registries to create an awareness for public health concerns. These registries are usually run by each state and sponsored by Public Health Agencies (PHAs), such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations, including national specialty societies, patient safety organizations or quality improvements organizations. Common types of public health reporting options include:
- Immunization registries: manage community health by collectively tracking immunizations and reports of adverse events
- Syndromic surveillance: monitoring for disease outbreaks
- Cancer registries
- Notifiable conditions (eg. birth defects, death certification)
- Electronic Lab Reporting (ELR)
- Prescription monitoring programs: preventing prescription abuse
Providers are able to comply with Meaningful Use legislation. This interface allows these providers to easily do so by eliminating the need for manual data entry.
Message Format: HL7 V2 messages are embedded in the web services request.
How It’s Sent: Most commonly over web services.
The purpose of these interfaces is to capture necessary billing such as Healthcare claims, Eligibility and Benefit inquiry, and can also include coverage, healthcare claims payment, and benefit information.
This interface helps organizations to reduce their costs, as they are able to streamline claim submissions to insurers. With regards to claims submissions, it is imperative to make sure that all information is complete and accurate otherwise claims will not be accepted, which delays reimbursements. A streamlined process using a billing interface ensures timely and complete submissions.
It also increases access to information:
- Providers are able to determine what services they can provide to patients
- Patients are able to see their eligibility status and what treatments they can receive without risking out-of-pocket payments
- Insurers reduce the risk of paying for duplicated claims
Message Format: HIPAA X12 messages sent to payers. HL7 v2 (ADT, DFT, ORU) messages sent to provider billing systems with procedure details.
How It’s Sent: It often varies, however FTP is common.
If you want to learn more about the types of interfaces we work with or have any questions, feel free to contact us.