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First, We kill all the Interfaces!

September 9, 2009
by Pete Rivera
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We all know what we want:

-Eliminate silly and excessive patient forms

-We want to exchange demographics

-We want to participate in RHIO’s

-We just want all our applications to play nicely in the same san-box (pun intended).

So why are we not able to purchase a “Best of Breed” imaging solution and have a system prompt come up: “Epic has finished installing the software for this device.” It’s those darn interfaces! My friend George Gides (the OBE-WAN of interfaces) will kill me for this, but we need to think outside the interfaces.

HL7 was supposed to be the conduit for all integration across systems. The industry really thought that vendors would seamless adopt a clean way of talking to each other. We now have a cottage industry of interface engines and George Gides is busy untangling the spaghetti diagrams of organizational interfaces. There are some vendors that are trying to provide alternatives, such as InterSystems Ensemble. But at the end of the day, it’s just trying to patch information through.

Interfaces has become the hidden cost of doing business when you consider adding something new. I think most vendors consider it a penalty fee for purchasing outside their suite of products. They are quick to tell you that their price does not include the integration with “other” systems. Can you imagine the lawsuits if Microsoft charged a fee for every non-Microsoft product you installed on “its” system?

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