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HL7 EMR Integration: Interoperability That Goes Hand in Hand

Paul Kovalenko Paul Kovalenko | September 27, 2023 | 7 min

Electronic health records were created to make information travel between hospitals, doctors, and patients easier and more reliable. The idea was great and would have been revolutionary, but there was an obvious flaw. Different hospitals use different EHR systems and types of EMR systems and data formats, so what will be displayed perfectly well in one institution will not work in the other. Because of this data jumble, the US spends $30 billion a year alone to deal with the consequences of the lack of orderly data flow.

The difficult task of interoperability was accepted by Health Level Seven. In this blog post, we are going to give you a glimpse into the standards developed by this organization and HL7’s impact on healthcare interoperability.

Interested in using of EMR in hospital management? Learn more from our article about how EMR systems can improve hospital management.

Why is HL7 Important for the EHR/EMR?

Health Level Seven International, founded in 1987, fosters global collaboration for health system standardization, notably in HL7 and EMR interoperability. It sets standards for messaging in healthcare administration, logistics, finance, and clinical processes, enabling seamless communication among various systems. Additionally, HL7 defines XML-based clinical document standards and supports Arden Syntax for healthcare knowledge representation. Visit their website for valuable resources on interoperability and development. Headquarters in Michigan, HL7 engages in rigorous standardization processes, recognized by ANSI and ISO.

Need help establishing HL7 interoperability?
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Key Benefits of HL7 EMR Interoperability

HL7 standards were developed to help healthcare institutions get helpful digitalization. Their guidelines helped laboratories, registries, pharmacies, payors, local and state departments of health, healthcare institutions, and developers create solutions that matter, and stay for a long time to support the huge diversity of healthcare systems. Thus, HL7 EMR interoperability offers numerous benefits.

Establishing Smooth Data Exchange Between Different Parties

Before health records moved to electronic form, the process of exchanging information between hospitals or doctors had lots of obstacles. Doctors had to send photos of records via email or fax, or patients had to take physical records from one place or specialist to another. Even after EHR/EMR was introduced, there was still the problem of different systems not being able to read the same data, so email and fax were still widely used.

Using HL7 to achieve interoperability in health IT made it possible to view a patient’s history, test results, or examination notes from anywhere. Moreover, there was no delay, as the information gets updated in real time!

Eliminating Any Errors

When data goes through different systems, it is likely to arrive with mistakes. It is also common in healthcare when medical staff cannot find a health record because of system differences and they create a new one, resulting in a significant number of duplicate records and lost background that can be essential to the patient’s treatment. HL7 EHR interoperability eliminates these issues and allows for error-free transfer of information.

Now, physicians can also integrate lab test results and make examination notes on any device, straight from the patient’s room. This practically eliminates the possibility of human error that existed before because of the manual transfer of data from paper to the computer.

Saving Time Needed to Retrieve Data or Develop New Tools

Doctors no longer need to figure out how to share information; no need to choose the right format or sending method. With interoperability, they can just go to the database and find the right patient from any device or system.

It is also time-effective when it comes to developing new healthcare software and integrating it with the existing EHR/EMR systems. HL7 already has a set of instructions with must-have features and their FHIR standard makes integration as simple as it can get.

Promoting Innovation by Simplifying EHR/EMR Integration Processes

One of the reasons why healthcare software was not the fastest to progress was interoperability issues. When creating a new practice management software or telehealth app, you have to integrate an EHR/EMR system to deliver the full experience. Otherwise, the app will not function properly and be pretty much useless. It was very difficult to integrate the system before but with Health Level 7 interoperability and FHIR API, it is as simple as in any other digitally developed industry. It will definitely contribute to the rise of health tech and new types of software which will truly embrace every single aspect of managing healthcare institutions.

Interested in EMR/EHR integration? Learn more from our article about the process and cost of EMR integration.

How HL7 Standards Impact EHR/EMR Systems

Standardization for Seamless Integration

HL7 standards play a pivotal role in EHR/EMR systems by enabling seamless integration.

Interoperability Enhancement

HL7 standards enhance interoperability among healthcare systems, ensuring efficient data exchange.

Streamlined Data Management

Through HL7 standards, EHR/EMR systems streamline data management processes for improved healthcare delivery.

Enhanced Patient Care

The impact of HL7 standards on EHR/EMR systems translates to enhanced patient care, with timely and accurate information at the forefront.

Efficiency and Accuracy

HL7 standards promote efficiency and accuracy in data sharing and record-keeping, benefiting both healthcare providers and patients.

Want to reap all the business benefits of HL7 Standard?
Langate can help

Seamless HL7 EMR Integration: Empowering Healthcare Systems

Data Mapping Complexity

Navigating the intricacies of data mapping between HL7 and EMR systems poses a significant challenge. These systems often use different data structures, codes, and terminologies, making alignment and translation a complex endeavor.

Standard Variability

HL7 standards themselves can vary, such as HL7 v2 and HL7 FHIR, each with its own nuances. Integrating these standards with EMR systems that may also have custom data formats adds another layer of complexity.

Data Security and Compliance

Ensuring data security and compliance with regulations like HIPAA in the context of HL7 EMR integration is crucial. Protecting patient information during data exchange requires robust encryption and access control mechanisms.

Real-time Data Exchange

Achieving real-time data exchange between HL7 and EMR systems is a persistent challenge. Delays in data transmission can impact clinical decision-making and patient care.

System Scalability

As healthcare systems grow, scalability becomes a challenge in HL7 EMR integration. Ensuring that integration solutions can accommodate increasing data volumes and users is essential for long-term success.

Langate Provides Full HL7 and EMR Compliance Solutions

With over two decades of dedicated experience in healthcare software development, Langate is your trusted partner for achieving comprehensive interoperability. Our team, comprised of 100+ software experts, has a proven track record of crafting cutting-edge health tech solutions that drive efficiency and compliance.

At Langate, we take healthcare compliance seriously. Operating from our own HIPAA-compliant development center, we are at the forefront of embracing the latest interoperability standards, including HL7 and FHIR.

A Real Success Story: Our client, Approved Admissions, a leading provider of data validation, insurance eligibility, and revenue risk mitigation services in the healthcare industry, faced a data exchange challenge. They received data from diverse sources, including EMRs, practice management systems, billing platforms, and therapy services, but struggled with proper data transport.

We engineered data maps that revolutionized data transfer. Our solution ensures clean data exchange, instantly notifies employees of errors and typos, and guarantees full HL7 and EMR compliance. Today, our solution seamlessly serves over 700 healthcare facilities, facilitating a staggering 1 million transactions daily.

Join the ranks of satisfied clients who have harnessed Langate’s expertise for unparalleled HL7 and EMR compliance solutions. Contact us today to optimize your healthcare systems and unlock a new era of efficiency and compliance.

Conclusion

HL7 standards for interoperability are a necessary step in health tech development. Hospitals can finally get all the promised benefits out of EHR/EMR systems, embrace solutions that fully integrate all healthcare processes in one place, and avoid complicated data exchange with input and transfer. Patients can now easily transfer between doctors and hospitals all while being sure that all of their previous examinations and test results will get to a new place safe and sound.

Do you want to enjoy all the benefits of interoperability through the integration of EMRs and compliance with HL7? Do not hesitate to reach out to Langate, where we will figure out a custom solution to help you provide faster and more reliable care. Get to work with our passionate and amazing teams of developers, testers, and project managers who all have years of health tech development and will take care of all the processes while taking into account all of your unique preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does HL7 stand for?

HL7 stands for “Health Level Seven.” HL7 is essential to EHR (Electronic Health Record) systems because it provides standardized protocols and frameworks for HL7 EMR integration. This enables healthcare organizations to exchange critical patient data seamlessly, ensuring efficient and accurate information flow among different healthcare systems, ultimately improving patient care and data interoperability.

How does HL7 EMR integration benefit healthcare systems and patient care?

HL7 EMR integration enhances healthcare systems by enabling the seamless exchange of data from EHR systems. By adhering to the HL7 EHR interoperability model, it standardizes data formats and communication protocols. This, in turn, improves patient care through more efficient access to comprehensive and accurate health records, facilitating quicker and more informed clinical decisions.

What does HL7 EHR standardization contribute to healthcare data management?

HL7 EHR standardization significantly enhances healthcare data management by providing a common framework for data exchange. These standards streamline communication among various health IT systems, leading to improved interoperability. This simplifies data sharing, enhances accuracy, and ensures that patient information flows seamlessly across the health IT industry, ultimately promoting better patient care and more efficient healthcare operations.

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