application integration

Businesses across the globe are waking up to a world that is recovering from the pandemic. As the enterprises reclaim their pace, they realize the importance of technology to make their operations uninterrupted and secure. Businesses are going through an operational paradigm shift and the healthcare industry is no exception. The healthcare industry is undergoing greater stress for two reasons. 

1. The volume of records to be maintained for a patient has substantially increased after the onset of the pandemic. 

2. Healthcare providers were stretched too thin given the surge in the volume of patients during the pandemic.

The Need for Enterprise Integration in Healthcare

Healthcare providers often use many applications to manage their business operations, such as maintaining in-patient and out-patient records, lab reports, procuring medical devices, managing human resources, etc. An enterprise integration platform connects these applications and ensures a seamless flow of data among them. Without integration, a healthcare provider can quickly experience chaotic and ineffective operations. 

Implementing a platform to integrate healthcare applications can be a daunting process, given the technical complications and the need to manage and maintain records securely.

The following are the top five challenges for healthcare application integration and their recommended solutions.

Applications Interoperability Challenges

Multiple applications are used in a healthcare business to gather data from different sources. When these applications operate as separate entities, it leads to data silos and a lack of data standardization. Processing these data and unifying them under a single console would help your business make informed, insight-driven decisions. For example, a doctor who is aware of the allergic conditions that you mentioned in your registration form would be able to prescribe the medicines accordingly. The absence of integration between the applications can easily result in departmental data silos, and data can either be repetitive or inaccurate or both.   

Solution: Businesses should have a process or a blueprint of the data flow across the departments and eliminate siloed business operations. This could be complemented by having a standardized data format compatible with integration to resolve the interoperability challenge.  

Health Information Privacy Challenges

Security risk is one of the major challenges encountered in the healthcare sector. A patient’s data is highly personal, and access to it should be restricted only to relevant users. Access from unwanted sources and data sharing would breach the protocol and negatively impact the organization. The mobile device is a singular example that can put patient data at risk.

Solution: A fool-proof integrated system powered by MuleSoft APIs helps you secure patient information by storing personal health records on internal systems. These internal systems are protected by firewalls and accessed only by authorized individuals. Not all of the many APIs that are available in the market are suitable or intrinsically secure. It is paramount to choose trusted APIs and implement proper authentication protocols to access the data. Also, having a dedicated compliance team to devise a privacy policy and conduct periodic internal audits would help.

HL7 Implementation Challenges

HL7 is a standard to exchange and develop electronic health records between software applications that healthcare providers commonly use. The HL7 implementation process poses a significant challenge when it comes to collaboration between healthcare people and software vendors. For example, because doctors have unpredictable schedules, they cannot easily collaborate with the software vendor for a mutually agreed upon time for HL7 implementation. This burdens the IT teams trying to pull together multiple users in the organization. Also, migrating to a new electronic health record system might pose adaptation challenges for the people and data loss if not backed up properly.

Solution: HL7 interface engines can be used with the application interface to solve the HL7 integration issues. A secondary database can store personal health information on the cloud or on-premise and provide warnings of serious security risks. Health care providers and also software vendors could opt for health APIs. All these enable seamless data interchange across integration platforms. The result is real-time access to patient records, streamlined billing, and leads to cost-effectiveness.

Data Inconsistency Challenges

Organizations face a significant challenge to ensure a seamless flow of data between the applications. The data must be consistent, structured, and meet the accepted organization standards. This can be tedious and complex. It is the duty of the management, the representatives of each department, and the software vendor to adopt the right technology for a seamless flow of data and adherence to the data standards.

Solution: Having a standardized MDM process would help here. The existence of raw data in the healthcare sector is inevitable, but it gets challenging to interpret if it is not processed. A master data management (MDM) enables the following: 

  1. To break data silos
  2. Gain access to comprehensive data
  3. Periodically update patients’ health information
  4. Avoid duplicate and erroneous data
  5. View visually appealing dashboards and data charts

MDM helps you determine whether your system can handle multiple data sources, streamline data management, and ensures security across businesses. 

User Adoption Challenges

Even the best-integrated systems can fall short of your operational goals if users feel it is too complicated to use.

Enterprise Applications Integration solutions streamline various business-critical processes and make it a convenient one-stop solution for the users. However, the breadth of application users—doctors, nurses, technicians, HR managers, receptionists, procurement and logistics managers, and pharmacists—need to understand the value of the system and receive the training necessary to operate it. Not being aware of the significance of the solution would defeat the purpose of having it in place.

Solution: Considering the above challenges, an integration partner should undertake the following:

1. Design the underlying infrastructure for integration 

2. Communicate with the stakeholders at frequent intervals 

3. Organize frequent training programs

4. Gather user feedback to assess the level of adoption

Conclusion

Enterprise application integration challenges in the healthcare industry potentially affect the quality of a patient’s experience in a hospital or other healthcare setting. A tightly integrated applications ecosystem will help the patients experience seamless communication and better care.

PreludeSys is an enterprise application integrated service provider that offers a range of proven solutions to implement, manage, and maintain a well-integrated system. Our team of healthcare technology experts understand your challenges and will help you streamline your workflows.  Book a consultation appointment today with our experts

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