Virtually all healthcare organizations have multiple technologies in use. Administrators, clinicians, billing offices, labs, and radiology departments use different information systems for their work. Most of the time, these information systems are built on disparate platforms and coded by various developers in diverse programming languages. From lab systems to EHRs to pharmacy automation and a host of others, there’s a need for a data standard that will allow seamless communication between these systems. That’s where HL7 comes in. It’s the most widely used standard for creating interfaces between different health IT systems for effective data exchange. Below, we will give a brief explanation of HL7 bidirectional interface solutions.
What Is an HL7 Bidirectional Interface?
In information technology, an interface is a system or device that enables two different entities to interact. Basically, a bi-directional interface is an interface that allows the transfer of messages in two directions.
A good example is an interface between a healthcare facility and a state immunization registry. If the interface allows clinicians to send immunization reports to the registry and receive information about specific patient immunization records, the interface is bi-directional.
Another common example in healthcare is the interface between a lab or radiology center and a hospital’s EHR. A physician can order lab tests from an EHR through an HL7 interface. After completing the tests, the lab technicians send the results back to the physician’s EHR through the same interface.
When Should You Use an HL7 Bidirectional Interface?
When you want your systems to communicate seamlessly with appropriate feedback in real-time, use a bi-directional interface. Not all interfaces created by vendors are bi-directional. Some may even look like they are bi-directional, but they are actually using two separate interfaces to send and receive data.
Here are some reasons why you need a bi-directional interface:
- To share information: Clinicians, laboratory technicians, and administrators can share information within and outside an organization to improve patient care outcomes.
- To provide better community health: A bi-directional interface enhances smooth transfer of patient data from clinics, labs, hospitals, and state registries.
- Minimize errors: Having bi-directional functionality reduces the number of manual data transfers and cuts down the number of errors resulting from out-of-date information.
- Better mobility of patient data: Using a bi-directional interface can reduce data entry work volume for physicians. Ordering for a test will lead to a return of the results from the lab.
- Reduce lab orders: Strategic use of bidirectional can cut down unnecessary test orders.
How to Develop Your Bi-directional Interface
The best way to develop a robust and functional HL7 bidirectional interface is to work with a healthcare interface expert. Creating an interface from scratch without the prerequisite knowledge, tools and experience can easily lead to a failed project.
Need Help With Your HL7 Bidirectional Interface?
Contact Lifepoint Informatics today to get expert help for your interface development project. We have created an EMR integration hub project that can be customized easily to meet the needs of hospitals, labs, pharmacies, and other departments that need integration for effective two-communication and better quality of care. Call us now at 877.522.8378 for a demo or visit our contact page to tell us more about your integration needs.