Interface Standards

Overview

Interfaces developed and operated using the eGate enterprise interface engine provide data integration services between official patient care and business applications both within the Medical Center as well as between Medical Center applications and affiliated organizations.

Purpose

To provide information about Interface Standards, Environment, Development and Support.

Scope

The scope of this document is to describe standards applicable to interfaces developed and operated using the eGate enterprise interface engine.

Description

HL7 Standards

The current standard supported is HL7 version 2.3 unless otherwise noted.

Interface Environment

Oracle's eGate Integrator product is used for enterprise interfacing. It supports real time TCPIP and batch interfacing. Interfaces to hosts outside of the secure clinical subnet are supported via VPN, SSL/HTTPS or batch processing using PGP. There are approximately 175 interfaces in production. We operate separate Production and Test systems.

Interface Development

New Interfaces - Requests for new interfaces should be sent to the Manager of Integration, Waddill Stewart, for review. Every effort is made to support new interface requests within our existing standards.

  • Vendors are expected to implement custom logic or filtering within their interface processes in an effort to maintain consistency and standards across all applications.
  • It is the standard of the UVa Health System to first implement an ADT interface to a new system before implementing outbound orders, results, documents or charges to other Health System applications. The goal of this is to minimize errors by using electronic synchronization of patient data via ADT.
  • Department users are requested to thoroughly test how interfaced data is working within their system prior to implementing a production interface. It is expected that Unit, Functional and Scenario/Scripted testing efforts are employed and documented.
  • Established test systems and test interfaces are needed to support testing and future changes.

Changes to Existing Interfaces - Requests for interface customizations should be sent to the Manager of Integration, Waddill Stewart, for review. Every effort is made to support changes within our existing standards.

  • Changes require testing prior to be implementing in production. The requesting department should drive the testing, including coordinating the data entry activities required of others and validating the desired results within their application.
  • A formal Change Control procedure is used by the interface engine support staff. All changes are to be documented including notations about the type of testing that took place and electronic acceptance by the requesting department. Usually an email saying the testing has satisfactorily completed and they request the production change is adequate.

Interface Operational Support

Engine Support - Technology Services provides the application and infrastructure support of the interface engine. This includes UNIX server support, system patches, upgrades, data analysis, and other maintenance required of a high volume interface engine. Planned maintenance activities will be communicated to interface contacts so departments can employ downtime or other procedures as needed.

Interface Monitoring - Technology Services Operations Team (OPS) monitors the status of all interface engine connections to other systems on a 24x7 basis. OPS will notify the eGate team if a problem is noticed with the interface engine processes.

Designated Support Contacts - OPS requires a central contact for each interface so interface issues with departmental systems can be reported for resolution. This must be a Health System staff member capable of understanding the impact of the interface problem and able to coordinate a resolution. They should have a cell phone or pager if the interface requires support beyond normal business hours or weekends. The designated contact can not be a vendor, although the UVa designated contact may contact the vendor as needed to resolve the problem. These UVa contacts are kept in a logbook for OPS to look up as needed.

Reconnection Configuration - Interfaces on vendor systems should be configured to automatically attempt to reconnect to the interface engine should they become disconnected for any reason. This can happen for any number of reasons including server reboot, network issue and planned/unplanned maintenance. Configuring to reconnect reduces the need for technical support staff to become involve and makes the overall environment more robust.

Vendor Requirements

  • New systems requesting interfaces must have the capability to apply filtering rules to HL7 messages
  • New systems requesting interfaces must have the capability to edit fields or change format in accordance with system data requirements
  • Must support both batch and real time message processing

Document Supporting Resources