Adopting EMRs in most mid-sized and large healthcare organizations has increased the demand for interoperability and integration solutions. However, creating useful connections between different information systems usually requires spending a significant amount of time and money on developing one-off solutions. The high cost of creating integration solutions between laboratory information systems and EMRs has also led to the search for low cost HL7 interface solutions.
While the point-to-point interfaces developed in the early days for one to two interfaces were sufficient, as the volume of interfaces increased, the development and management costs continued to rise. The slow development time and the high costs have created inefficiencies that make it difficult for laboratories to meet high test ordering and reporting demands.
Presently, many laboratories now turn to interface engines to speed up the development of HL7 enabled interfaces. Interface engines are changing the way labs develop and deploy new HL7 application interfaces. The results are quicker and more economical development.
Here are some ways that interface engines are improving interface development and reducing costs for laboratory owners and providers.
Building an interface engine reduces the major component costs of interface development.
1. Interface Development Fees
Development costs are high for developing point-to-point HL7 interfaces. A laboratory can incur up to $8,000 or more for a single custom interface, and the small lab facilities may use up to 25 of these interfaces. These costs can quickly go out of control, and when there’s a need to change the EMR or LIMS, the old interfaces may become useless.
Using an interface engine for development reduces the time, effort, cost, and skill required for interface development. Little or no programming skills are needed, and interfaces can be created within a few hours. While there are licensing fees for using an interface engine, your organization no longer needs to pay for individual interfaces. Also, the licensing costs can be spread across the interfaces you create and use.
2. Port Fees
Export and import points must be created for every HL7 interface. The export point sends out data while the import point receives data. This means that, for two-way communication between two systems, at least four ports must be created (two export and two import). The port fees for each interface could be up to $5,000 per port on average. That means that for each interface, with four endpoints, there will be a port fee of $20,000.
However, instead of using multiple points, an interface engine utilizes a single export and single import point for all your interfaces. This leads to a savings of tens of thousands of dollars for each interface you create.
3. Data Transfer Fees
After sorting out the development and port fees, the lab needs to find a way to securely transfer data from the LIS to the EMR and vice versa. Traditionally, labs have used virtual private networks (VPNs). While most VPNs are promoted as reliable, they still experience connection drops during peak periods. This will cause errors in the HL7 message being transferred.
That’s why it is better to use an interface engine that has the mechanism to create a secure sockets layer (SSL) connection for the data transfer. The secure connection replaces the costly VPN with a connection that is HIPAA-compliant.
Discover More About Our Low Cost HL7 Interface Engines
At Lifepoint Informatics, we provide interface engines that can meet the needs of virtually all laboratory, radiology, and clinical departments of providers with both single and multiple locations.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and see a demo of our interface engine that simplifies and drastically reduces the cost of creating custom, low cost HL7 interface solutions.