Affordable interface solutions are needed because interoperability in healthcare IT is vital for fostering an efficient healthcare system with fewer deaths and improved quality of care. When EHRs, lab and radiology software platforms, practice management, and billing software can send and receive data, it leads to better diagnosis and treatment. It also improves the speed of bill collection and allows patients to enjoy telemedicine services through a patient portal.
However, the challenges to full interoperability are still here with us. One major challenge is the use of EHRs and software systems developed by vendors who don’t adhere to a single interface standard. This results in costly interface development projects.
Few health care organizations starting an interface development project to connect two or more EHRs know the possible costs they will face. The main costs of such projects include:
- License fees to permit certain interfacing capabilities
- Software maintenance fees that are linked with these modules
- Professional service fees for the vendor to create the interfaces
- Per transaction fees
Unfortunately, these fees may be doubled if you have to pay more than one vendor for each software platform you have to connect together. This makes providers spend a substantial amount of money to create and maintain interfaces for interoperability. However, by following these guidelines, you can develop affordable interface solutions for your organization.
1. Choose Vendors That Are Committed to Interoperability
When choosing an EHR vendor, ensure that you discuss interoperability from the onset. Make sure you understand their policy on interoperability and the type of interface standards they support. You should also discuss their fees and determine if you’ll be able to use interface tools like Mirth Connect.
Vendors such as NextGen Healthcare have announced that they will waive interface license fees for providers who want to connect to health information exchanges (HIE) powered by Mirth. This can reduce costs significantly for small medical practices that can’t afford to connect to local HIEs.
2. Understand and Negotiate All Applicable Fees
You must understand that you will incur EHR vendor fees. But you must know that most of these fees can be negotiated. So, don’t settle for the price in the initial quote. Ensure that you have all the costs related to the project. This prevents you from paying for the same interfaces more than once.
3. Work With a Third-Party Developer That Has Full Database Access
When an EHR vendor charges high fees for interoperability, you should look for third-party interface developers that can offer the same service. Many of these developers are partners with big-name vendors. They can deliver the same service at a fraction of the original vendor’s cost.
So, when you’re choosing your EHR vendor, look for one with a functional API that has clearly documented pricing schedules. Your vendor should also have a relationship with third-party interface developers like Lifepoint Informatics to facilitate integration.
We Can Help You Develop Affordable Interface Solutions
Contact Lifepoint Informatics for a free consultation on interface solutions that your organization can afford.