Healthcare Integration Stategies

The three most commonly used integration strategies include:

  • Point to Point (P2P)
  • Deployment (onsite) of a middleware integration engine
  • Cloud-based integration, or software as a service (SaaS)

P2P integration is quick to implement, but is very expensive to support as the number of points and complexity of the integration environment scales.  Integration middleware is designed to simplify the complexity of P2P, but it is very expensive to acquire and maintain.  With cloud-based integration strategies, projects are outsourced to a third party vendor that uses a secure data center to host its integration platform, and provides its in-house expertise to manage the client’s current and future integration needs.

P2P Approach

Benefits

  • Integration is fast to implement
  • Good Performance
  • Does not require a lot of preparation
  • Initial cost is low

Drawbacks

  • Increased complexity for each new EMR added – the n2 problem
  • Each Upgrade requires expensive modifications
  • Very high support costs
  • Creates “Islands of Information”

Interface Engine Hub Approach

Benefits

  • Reduce the number of integration points
  • Centralize integration logic
  • Easy to scale up
  • Reduce some support costs

Drawbacks

  • High initial costs (Hardware, Software and Human Knowledge)
  • Technology “Lock-In”
  • No simplification of integration logic
  • Performance degradation
  • Support costs still high
  • Does not solve the “Islands of Information” problem

Cloud-based Integration – SaaS Model

Benefits

  • All the benefits associated with Interface Engine without the high initial costs
  • Low Support Costs (economy of scale)
  • Solution to “Islands of Information”
  • Scalable, customizable, data security, backup, disaster recovery, etc.
  • Ideal solution for EHR integration
  • Flexible, on-demand, subscription fee model that scales with an organization’s business
  • Integration with non-provider information (financial, insurance)
  • Easy to add new services as new needed

Drawbacks

  • Reliance on integrator expertise & resources – SaaS integration vendors own the integration technology, which is used by its staff to create and maintain the integration points and provide customization