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SIMULATING INTEROPERABILITY WITH HL7 PROTOCOL AND MESSAGE STRUCTURE

XMLHL7Healthcare

By Deepak Borole

LABTHRUPUT: ROBUST MIDDLEWARE SOLUTIONS

Within the healthcare IT landscape, increasing the interoperability between disparate software systems remains a primary focus. We attribute the fragmentation to intentional limitations on the software provider's end; a system that favors profits over interoperability and cross-platform debilitation over unified patient databases. The void leaves middleware providers poised to reap tremendous market opportunities where major players fall short.

One middleware entity fulfilling this exact role is LabThruPut, a software solutions provider that improves the accuracy and efficiency of reporting clinical laboratory results in the veterinary space.

Extending beyond traditional "middleware," the company offers an end-to-end lab results automation and management software product that streamline the overall testing process. LabThruPut achieved success through easy installation, training, and the robust set of features inherent to their product line.

These features include sample tracking mechanisms, status monitoring, and productivity statistics, in addition to results review and follow up. It provided a more efficient solution than conventional methods, which led it to work with many veterinary clients throughout the U.S.

Custom HL7 Interoperability
Custom HL7 Interoperability

EXPANDING INTO HUMAN HEALTHCARE WITH EHRS

To expand into the human healthcare space, it was recognized that although their software was fully functional for veterinary use, it needed to meet the necessary interoperability standards to communicate with EHRs.

Within the veterinary industry there are no regulations on the communication protocols used for software applications that interact with each other. Hence, a secure data exchange interface to receive orders from and return results to major hospital EHR platforms is vital.

With their technology sitting between labs and Hospital Information Systems (HIS), it needed an update to allow EHRs to seamlessly communicate with lab instruments through a proprietary interface.

CHETU FACILITATES HL7 TO XML BI-DIRECTIONAL COMMUNCATION

To accommodate the need to meet HL7 standards, Chetu provided custom development within a communications platform to create secure messaging channels for bi-directional communication between laboratory information systems and hospital EHRs.

The platform is used to transform messages from HL7 to XML, and vice versa. Since the proprietary system needs to interface with various lab instruments using a XML protocol, HL7 order message (ORM) and observation result (ORU) functions and segments needed to be converted for interoperability between the two systems.

Chetu engineered custom channels to simulate real-life scenarios based on project requirements to pull HL7 ORMs from host EMRs such as EPIC and Athena, transform them to XML, and push them into lab instruments from manufacturers such as Siemens, Beckman and Horiba in order to obtain results and send back HL7 ORUs to the hosts.

These channels included the following:

  • Orders From Host – LTP receives orders from host (EHRs)
  • Orders From LTP – LTP adds information to the orders received from EHR
  • Orders To Instruments – LTP sends orders to instrumentsg
  • Results From Instrument – LTP Receives results from instruments
  • Results To LTP – Insert lab results into LTP DBs
  • Results To Host – Prepare the lab results to send to host.
  • Results From LTP – Send the results to host (HL7)
  • Host Orders – Athena
  • Host Orders – EPIC
  • Orders From Host – Athena
  • Orders From Host – EPIC

To emulate the SQL job functionality, Chetu also created several channels to generate the XML schema, which is used to communicate with instrument systems.

Custom HL7 Interoperability

Chetu has provided skilled and useful programming services to our company with very little learning curve. The delivered code is clean and on-time. The daily reports and weekly team meeting keep the projects on track. The developers are accessible and responsive."

David Zelmanovic,
President of LabThruPut

Supplier Compliance technology used

THE IMPACT

Chetu's deliverable proved wildly successful, confirming that the simulation was an accurate display of operability. With the implementation of the communications platform and HL7, the client was able to enhance their products to meet current healthcare industry standards. This allowed them to gain opportunities it sought in order to assure future company growth without abandoning the veterinary space.

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