For healthcare providers, Health Level-7 (HL-7) integration is an important prerequisite in any healthcare software or process. HL7 is an international standard framework that helps healthcare providers share and receive patient information. There are three main components of a successful HL7 data transfer:
1. Transmitting data from one application or provider to another
2. Receiving and interpreting the data
3. The mode of transferring data.
While on the surface the process looks simple enough, HL7 integration could actually throw up a number of challenges. Some of the most common problems that could arise out of incorrect implementation are the need for double entry of data, data duplication and incorrect patient records being shared and stored. How do healthcare providers avoid these issues when setting up an HL7 integration with new software applications? Here are some of the most common HL7 integration challenges you should know about and how you can avoid them.
1. HL-7 integration can be a complex and time-consuming process
HL-7 integration is hardly an overnight process. Pre-existing software is typically enmeshed in a number of applications. Health Level 7 integration can, therefore, interfere with the normal functioning of other integrated software. This is why centers should have a dedicated project team to oversee the successful completion of HL7 integration. The team should work with in-house or external HL7 integration specialists like iTech, to trace every application and HL-7 interface engine connected with the software to ensure that there are no unforeseen disruptions.
Interoperability is critical when it comes to HL7 integration, so the project team needs to ensure that every endpoint for the new software or application should be compatible with existing applications and interfaces. In some cases, new endpoints might need to be created or existing ones modified. In case external vendors manage certain HL7 interface engines, they will need to be notified so they can modify their endpoints too.