Health Level 7 (HL7) was developed by Health Level Seven International. This organization develops standards for the exchange of healthcare data. HL7 is a term usually used to refer to the standards for transferring and sharing data among healthcare departments or providers. One of the main reasons for developing HL7 is data integration and interoperability. However, seamless HL7 integration is still a major challenge for most healthcare providers. That is what makes it imperative for providers to work with an HL7 company.
Software companies that are members of the HL7 organization have a thorough understanding of how HL7 standards work. Working with a certified HL7 developer can help your organization overcome challenges linked to HL7 integration. They can help you to:
1. Develop interfaces to eliminate duplicate data entry
Integration is a vital feature for an effective EHR platform. Most users would not like to hop from their EHR interface to another application just to send patient data. It is neither efficient nor practical with the volume of work most physicians have to do daily.
No matter how important the application is, if it requires physicians to duplicate data entry, it will be ignored. So, it’s important to work with an HL7 expert that can create apps that are easy to access and make work faster and more convenient. Such apps will have integration capabilities to pull data from the EHR or send data into it.
2. Handle variations in vendor implementation of HL7
Unfortunately, there is a variation in the way vendors implement their HL7 standards. This can make integration slow and difficult for most in-house developers. They have to maintain a separate code base and point of integration for every EHR. It is also necessary to spend a lot of time working on integration issues, leaving little time for the improvement of features that users need. Updating apps can also be a nightmare when there is a need to update all the applications that interface with it.
This can be overcome by using APIs which can be maintained by your HL7 development partner.
3. Avoid misinterpretation of HL7 interface standards
HL7 data semantics can leave room for misinterpretation of data. So, applications must understand data values and interpret them correctly. To prevent misinterpretation, HL7 interfaces must provide their interpretation of the interface standard used. For example, a value of “NA” could be interpreted as “Not applicable” or “No Allergies.” With the use of patient data in population studies and regional healthcare databases, it is vital to avoid misinterpretation. Working with a reputable HL7 company and interface developer will enable you to have well documented and standardized HL7 interfaces.
4. Provide seamless migration to new EHR systems
During the migration to a new EHR, it is possible for legacy data to be lost. This is a major issue for healthcare organizations. Some healthcare providers simply opt to keep their legacy and new EHR. However, this can be quite inefficient. Clinicians will have to log in to different platforms or use paper records to get their work done. Others will choose to move the existing data to the new platform.
If you choose to migrate data to your new HL7-based EHR, you have many decisions to make. You need to select the data that is important and the data that will be migrated first. In most cases, the data about diagnoses, treatment, medications, and allergies will be moved first. Other details, like lab results and pictures, may be left in your legacy EHR system. When you discuss with your HL7 company developer, you will receive guidance on the data to move or to leave in the legacy system.
Do You Need a Reliable HL7 Company to Solve Your Interoperability Issues?
Call Lifepoint Informatics at 877.522.8378 or contact us online today to book a free consultation. We will show you how you can enjoy the full benefits of HL7 standards in your organization.