eTransX Announces Free Whitepaper -- Executing the Case for Healthcare Interoperability

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The necessary trend toward Electronic Medical Record adoption is creating tremendous buzz surrounding the concept of "Healthcare Interoperability". This new white paper takes a not-so-technical approach to explaining what is meant by Healthcare Interoperability and provides a clear path on how to achieve it.

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Healthcare Interoperability -- What does this actually mean? The concept of interoperability in healthcare is driven by the need for dissimilar, but complementary departments, service lines, and the computer systems and applications that run them, to intercommunicate with the goal of reducing medical errors, eliminating time consuming and costly redundant processes, and ultimately increasing patient safety and the quality of patient care.

Those involved in administration of healthcare agencies are no-doubt familiar with the Institute of Medicine's much publicized report, To Err Is Human; Building a Safer Health System, which found that preventable medical errors account for at least 44,000 and possibly as high as 98,000 deaths each year. Additionally, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that over 770,000 people are injured or die each year from medication errors, costing providers millions of dollars in unrecoverable expenses. Research also shows that "the majority of medical errors do not result from individual recklessness, but rather by faulty systems, manual archaic processes, and the lack of congruent or compatible information systems."

The top Hospital Information System (HIS) vendors are pushing healthcare providers towards purchasing a single comprehensive HIS platform in which each component of the system, such as Radiology (RIS) and Laboratory (LIMS) systems, are seamlessly integrated with the primary management system. Of course this is good for the vendors, but what about a provider who wants "best of breed" solutions for each department, or a hospital with custom systems and homegrown applications? Simply bulldozing the entire legacy infrastructure is not an option for these organizations. Even in the case of a complete systems overhaul, the need to integrate with any number of ancillary service line and department-specific devices and systems remains unchanged. The good news for these organizations is a solution that allows technology reuse and promotes interoperability, while costing an order of magnitude less than "scrap and replace".

At the heart of the concept of interoperability is the requirement to integrate the massive amounts of data created each day by disparate applications and systems within the healthcare organization. Integration provides for the reuse of legacy applications and systems, building 'composite applications'--new applications or services comprised of functions of other applications, and eliminating error-prone redundant data entry. Integration of existing systems and the development of composite applications not only saves tremendous amounts of time and money, but also contributes the single largest advance in fighting these adverse outcomes that are largely known to be preventable.

This free white paper delves deeper into these issues and explains the practices, methodologies, and technologies required to effectively manage the four stages of an holistic approach to the management of the entire life cycle of healthcare data:

  • Data Capture--"smart pens" and other digital data technologies
  • Data Translation and Integration--the most critical step in the process
  • Data Access and Reporting--decision support and composite applications
  • Data Presentation and Analysis--executive dashboarding and real-time analytics

Founded in 1999, eTransX is a rapidly growing Nashville-based software development company that specializes in enabling and facilitating Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), Health Level Seven (HL7) messaging and Business Intelligence (BI) solutions to the healthcare industry. eTransX empowers its clients with simple-to-use, next-generation integration technologies that deliver guaranteed project success in record time at typically 50-80% less cost than competitors.

Jonathan Smith


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