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The Top 3 Reasons Your Health IT Systems Take So Long To Integrate – Optimize Healthcare Integration Series

Posted on July 1, 2015 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Stephane Vigot, President of Caristix, a leading provider of healthcare integration products and services. This post is part of the Optimize Healthcare Integration series.
Stephane Vigot - Caristix
The push for interoperability is on. What’s at the core of interoperability that truly supports next generation analytics, real patient engagement, true care coordination, and high value population health? Data exchange through interfacing. And that means HL7.

HL7 represents 95% of interfacing in hospital environments for clinical systems and many other information systems in healthcare.  Many people make the error of thinking HL7 is just simple strings, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s a system of data organization, a dynamic framework that establishes the base of data exchange through its specifics, syntax and structure. But, despite standards, if you take two identical systems, same vendor, deployed in two different environments, you’ll find discrepancies 100% of the time when it comes to data management.

What’s the result? It takes too long to take systems live. And that means time, money, resource drain, and headaches for integrators, maintenance and quality teams. The most critical impact is on essential clinical care. Beyond that, this negatively impacts your short and long term business goals over time. This impact will grow with the increasing demands of interoperability, particularly with the drive for automation and easy data access and analytics.

There are three primary challenges that feed into this problem of getting a system live. These are:

Aligning the integration goals for business and technology users – This step alone will differentiate success or failure. Without a clear picture of your goals and environment from day one, you can’t measure the required investment and resources. Project planning becomes a wild guess. How do you get everyone involved on deck with a common understanding of the overall project?  Is it crystal clear how your new system fits into your existing ecosystem in the context of your data flow and structure? Do you know what information you need from whom, when? Is all documentation readily available? Are the business impacts of the interface understood?

Complete and clear data transformation requirements – It’s common to manually compare outdated specs, list the differences and jump into the code. This makes it virtually impossible to quickly come up with a complete list. Complete requirements are not identified until too late in the project, sometimes not until it’s in production. Are all data flows and system workflows identified? Are the system’s data semantics clear? Are documented system specs accurate? Has customized data been included?  Are all the transformations and mappings defined?  Have you automated the processes that define requirements?

Testing/Verification – Your QA team knows this is about a lot more than making sure all the dots are connected. You want to get this right before your go live and avoid handling data related emergencies in production with constant break-fix repairs. Are you doing enough testing before go live so your caregivers can count on applications being completely functional for their critical patient care? Are your test cases based on your requirements? Are you testing against your clinical workflows? Do you include edge cases and performance in your testing? Are you testing with de-identified production data that accurately represents your system’s data flow and needs? Is your testing HIPAA compliant? Are you prepared for ongoing maintenance and updating with reusable test cases backed by reliable and repeatable quality measures? Is your testing automated?

What’s the most efficient solution to these three challenges?  Productivity software that supports your integration and workflow process from start to finish. With the right solution, you understand the big picture before you start with complete requirements built upon your specifications that set you up for robust system testing and maintenance. The right solution will cut your project timelines in half, reduce your resource drain and costs, and guarantee predictable results while streamlining the repetitive tasks of your teams. In addition, gap analysis, automatic specification management, HL7 message comparison and editing, debugging tools, PHI de-identification, documentation building, and team collaborative depositories should be included. As seen in the charts below, savings of up to 52% can be realized through optimization with productivity software.
Healthcare Integration Project Time Chart
Do these healthcare integration challenges resonate with you? What is your organization experiencing? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Caristix, a leading healthcare integration company, is the sponsor of the Optimize Healthcare Integration blog post series.  If you’d like to learn more about how you can simplify your healthcare integration process, download this Free Whitepaper.

About Stéphane Vigot
Stéphane Vigot, President of Caristix, has over 20 years of experience in product management and business development leadership roles in technology and healthcare IT. Formerly with CareFusion and Cardinal Health, his experience spans from major enterprises to startups. Caristix is one of the few companies in the health IT ecosystem that is uniquely focused on integrating, connecting, and exchanging data between systems. He can be reached at

Hospital EMR and EHR Stats

Posted on July 3, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today I wanted to take a minute to spotlight the advertisers that support the work we do here at Hospital EMR and EHR. This site has grown much faster than I could have imagined. Considering the shift from ambulatory to hospital environments, this probably should be a surpise. Regardless, thanks so much for reading, sharing and commenting.

Since Hospital EMR and EHR started, we’ve had 264,953 pageviews to the site. Not too bad for this being the 399th post and we’ve had 689 comments. As an interesting side note we’ve had 48,091 spam comments. Thank goodness for spam filters. Here are the top 5 blog posts based on number of views:
Why Is It So Hard to Become a Certified Epic consultant?
Could Epic End Up The Victim Of Its Own EMR Success?
Soarian: Does Siemens Finally Have an Epic-Killer?
Why Do People Dislike Epic So Much? Let Me Count The Ways
Did Epic Kiss Off A California Customer (And Try to Get Its CIO Fired)?

All of the posts are from the middle of 2011. So, maybe the top posts idea isn’t fair to those posts that were recently posted. Plus, from this list we can garner that our readers are very interested in Epic. In fact, the top post about becoming a Certified Epic consultant has had 3 times as much traffic as the other posts. Whether you like how Epic handles their certification, a lot of people seem interested in obtaining the Epic certification.

I also want to take a moment to recognize the advertisers who support all the work we do at Hospital EMR and EHR. The content here wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for their support. If you enjoy what we do, check out their products and see what they have to offer your hospital.

Canon – This company really needs no introduction. They have some great scanner products. I have one on my desk and I love it. Heavy duty scanners are a must in the hospital EHR environment. Paper is still coming into your office, and with an EHR you usually want that paper stored electronically instead of in the now extinct paper chart. Just make sure you get a quality scanner so you don’t burn through a cheap one like I did when I first implemented an EHR many years ago.

Caristix – Need an HL7 interface? Check out Caristix to get it done faster. It’s always great for a hospital to have someone to look to when they need an HL7 interface done quickly. HL7 is going to be the dominate interface standard for the forseeable future. If you don’t have a good strategy for managing all the HL7 interfaces you have and the ones you’ll have in the future, then talk to Caristix.

GE Centricity Business – With Healthcare Reform circling over head and PPACA (Patient Protection an Affordable Care Act) upon us, we’re getting ready for a sea of changes when it comes to managing your revenue. The future of healthcare revenue is going to require a revenue management software like the one that GE business offers. Plus, the beauty of revenue cycle management software is that the purchase can be directly tied to profitability of your organization.

Thanks to those advertisers. If you’re interested in supporting the work we do, check out more details on our Hospital EMR and EHR advertising page. We’ve also recently started some email blasts, content marketing, and whitepaper lead generation.

Hospital EMR and EHR Advertisers

Posted on February 25, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

It’s been a really exciting period for Hospital EMR and EHR. I’ve been really proud of what we’ve built. Anne Zieger has been writing some really great content and I try to supplement it where I can. Thanks to that, the site has had a steady stream of traffic and we’ll soon have over 1000 email subscribers from most major hospital institutions. Not too bad for a relatively new blog that’s focused on such a tight niche.

Plus, we’ve recently gotten the support of a number of really amazing advertising partners. Without them, the work we do covering the hospital EMR and EHR world wouldn’t be possible. So, if you enjoy reading this site, then please take a moment to check out the following new advertisers.

Canon – I think we’re all quite familiar with Canon. They’re a great company that creates a lot of great products. The best product they make for healthcare is their high volume scanners (Although, I bet their printer division might argue this). I personally have a Canon high volume scanner by my work desk and I love it. While we’d love to get rid of paper in this new EHR world, it’s just not possible. So, a high volume scanner is a must. The Canon scanners are well worth checking out.

iChartsMD – iChartsMD recently launched their new Emergency Deparatment EHR software. They’ve been working hard in the EHR space to offer an affordable EHR that still can handle a fast moving workflow environment like in the ED. If you’re looking for an ED EHR solution, take a moment and check out what iChartsMD has created.

Caristix – When I first met Caristix, I could immediately tell that they were HL7 Interface experts. Everything about them, their website, and even their detailed HL7 Survival guide is focused on making HL7 easy for healthcare. Kind of reminds me of my post about the need for Interoperability Action, Not Talk. In order to make this a reality, we need more companies like Caristix that make HL7 interoperability easy.

A big thanks to all of these advertisers for their support. Also, thanks for reading the site. None of these advertisers would support us if you didn’t read. Hopefully we can continue to bring you great content about the crazy, fun, and exciting hospital health IT space.