Interoperability has long been the focus of attention in the healthcare industry. The need for improved interoperability has been further highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. Multiple regulations aimed at increasing data sharing & patient access have been passed by the current administration. Integration engines play a center stage role in the interoperability roadmap of any healthcare organization. Given the central nature of the integration engine, any downtime or error in interface configuration can lead to disruptions in the healthcare workflows. Monitoring and maintenance of integration engines while reducing costs and improving efficiency is the need of the hour.
NextGen Connect (previously known as Mirth Connect) is an open-source integration engine widely used by healthcare organizations. Its community version lacks features such as version control, SSL support and has limited monitoring and alerting capabilities. Although Mirth Connect efficiently integrates multiple healthcare IT systems, the lack of version control capabilities make it difficult for users to track changes made to the interfaces. It also lacks the ability to integrate with popular version control tools in the market.
Organizations need to consider custom Mirth Connect extensions to implement version control for interfaces / channels. A good solution should have the following capabilities:
- Interface / channel level version history
- Reversion to historic versions
- Integration with leading version control software
Another challenge users face with Mirth Connect is maintaining and monitoring of interfaces across multiple Mirth instances. For instance, a medium sized healthcare organization could have over twenty Mirth instances in their system, and the number increases significantly for larger organizations. Troubleshooting interface issues across Mirth instances requires support engineers to view multiple dashboards for every Mirth instance.
To manage these issues, a consolidated dashboard with customized KPIs will help users effectively prioritize issues. The dashboard should have reports on queues / errored channels, including threshold levels using data from multiple Mirth instances. A consolidated dashboard will help users with:
- Early identification of issues
- Effective issue triaging
- Efficient issue resolution
- Reduced logins to multiple servers
- Accurate identification of impacted channels
Mirth offers paid / commercial plugins to address these challenges. However, these standard plugins still lack a consolidated monitoring or integration with version control software. Organizations must look for custom Mirth solutions that can address these challenges, while ensuring data security and privacy.
Solutions with scalable underlying architecture and customization to address client needs will help ensure a seamless and user-friendly experience for support users. Organizations must also consider solutions built using open source tools and technologies to minimize effort, cost and increase operational efficiency.