Mirth Connect: Future-Proofing Your Healthcare Integration Strategy on Budget

All healthcare delivery providers, particularly those with small to medium-sized businesses, are faced with difficult IT application options. Budgets are being cut, the demand to innovate is increasing, and we're in the midst of a pandemic. Should healthcare delivery firms keep their legacy systems in place or upgrade them? Is the decision they make now going to protect them from later needing to adopt or accept more disruptive upgrades?

IT decision-makers should consider three factors to future-proof any integration approach they are considering:

  • How much control do they possess?
  • Whether or not qualified resources are available
  • Costs of scaling and innovating in the future

NextGen Connect, originally Mirth, is an open-source interface engine that makes healthcare interoperability possible.

KPi-Tech has found it to be really helpful in dealing with a number of integration issues.

The degree of Control: When migrating to a new EMR, having an agnostic engine in place rather than one that is tied directly to your EMR vendor gives significant benefits. Transitions of this magnitude necessitate the evaluation, purchase, and installation of a new integration engine, putting additional strain on organizational resources and budgets. Having "control" implies planning ahead of time to keep your ancillary connections distinct from your EMR provider. "Control" refers to the ability to make future strategic decisions without having to start over with your technological partners.

Skilled resources: Whether you plan to rely on your trusted partners or hire full-time employees, finding skilled people is difficult. This is particularly challenging if your present integration engine is built on outdated technologies or specialized programming languages. NextGen Connect solves the resource problem. It's a mix of graphical user interfaces and JavaScript, an object-oriented programming language that's constantly recognized as one of the most popular web development languages in the world. The open-source of NextGen Connect has already resulted in over 100k downloads, resulting in an ever-growing library and collaborative community with over 30k members.

Costs: The Nextgen Connect Open-Source Project offers the most widely used healthcare communication protocols and message formats. Most businesses can run on the open-source version of JavaScript because of its flexibility. Flat fee licensing, on the other hand, allows for an unlimited number of interfaces and messaging throughput, allowing your engine to scale without continually increasing in cost if your initiatives call for specific use cases only found in the commercial version of NextGen Connect (e.g., C-CDA message formats or connections over HTTPS).

Advantages of using Mirth

  • Mirth Connect, like most common interface engines, can transport data in a variety of formats and standards, such as HL7, XML, and CCD, using HTTP(S), (S)FTP, or database interaction. Based on our experience building in Mirth, we'll highlight how the application sets itself apart from the competition in this series of blog postings on Mirth Connect.
  • Mirth Connect, unlike many other interface engines, allows you to create as many interfaces as you wish in the Channels panel at no additional cost. The rich scripting tools offered in channel building are what we enjoy the most about it. Mirth gives users the ability to write Java or JavaScript code in their channels, allowing for more creative and versatile message changes. Scripting can be used on both the source (the data) and the destinations (the output data) (channels can send data to multiple locations in your preferred order).
  • The Mirth Connect application also has screens for Users, Settings, Alerts, Events, and Extensions for administration and maintenance. You can create server processes that will automatically prune old messages from your database to free up disc space, set up alerts to notify you when channels experience errors, install extensions to increase the capabilities of the interface engine, and set up alerts to notify you when channels experience errors.

Download our "14 Best Mirth Practices" PDF to help future-proof your integration strategy using NextGen Connect.

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