Interoperability, a value-added service for doctors

Thierry Müller, Unilabs IT Director

What is the driver to enhance the interoperability capability of Unilabs?

T.M: We wanted to overhaul the way we organise data transfer at Unilabs. We used several tools (EAIs or integration engines) to automate data exchange between our labs and doctors. Trying to achieve this made things difficult on a daily basis: monitoring everything was impossible due to how many tools we used. What made things worse was the inefficient complex technical architecture of new information flow developments.

We chose to audit our IT system which showed us how mismatched everything was. This led us to question the tools we had been using up until that point.

Why did you choose Enovacom?

T.M : Our main needs were quickly identified: we were looking for an easy-to-use interoperability plat­form with powerful monitoring functionality. As with every pro­ject, we turned to a list of software developers.

Enovacom very quickly came to our attention for two reasons: first, the feedback we’d had from Unilabs France – particularly something the IT director told us: “The Enovacom solution works so well that we have forgotten it exists”, if I remember correctly.

Secondly, another important aspect for us was that the solution had to be a finalised interoperability platform, not a toolbox that requires us to have a team of experienced developers on-hand. In this case, the Enovacom EAI lets us create new interfaces in plug & play mode, certain scenarios exist already, there is a library of integrated and managed standards and formats, etc.

How was the project organised?

T.M : We organised the project in stages to allow for real-time interface production. Altogether, over 150 flows were created in 8 separate stages. We started with ‘less critical’ flows to get to grips with the software and test our processes with each of the stakeholders. This gave the teams a better understanding of how it worked and enabled them to specify procedures between Enovacom and Unilabs. What really impressed us was how swiftly the project went and we were able to deal with certain emergencies ourselves depending on how serious they were.

How long did the project last?

T.M : Despite the scale of the project, it lasted only 6 months. We’ve been continuing to create new stages to meet new needs ever since; the team has now fully grasped the process.

What feedback did you get from the field teams once the project was finalised? How has the project benefited Unilabs?

T.M : The interoperability platform has now become more of a business tool for the team than a technical one. For instance, we are now able to look for specific information flow on an individual patient or doctor.

Aside from using it every day, what remains fundamental is the solutions simple infrastructure and very efficient automatic data exchange monitoring. We are able to detect if someone has not received a lab report before even they can. From now on, interoperability is central to the service offered by Unilabs to its 4,000 doctors. We are able to get them the results they need on time every time and ensure the information is transferred securely.

More generally, how does interoperability fit into the eHealth sector these days?

T.M : It has a strategic role in developing the health sector. To me it’s clear that the future will be much more based on automatically, securely and reliably exchanging sensitive data, ranging from prescribing analyses to transferring results to doctors and patients. Having an eHealth exchange platform is vital when handling over 25,000 laboratory results every week.

What is your impression of the support from the Enovacom team?

T.M : The team was there with us throughout the whole project. They clearly set out their commitments and made sure to uphold them with its rigorous level of professionalism, all the while remaining flexible enough to incorporate any new needs.

What’s next for the project?

T.M : The main migration project is completed. However, the need for new data flow is still there. Having a platform that allows us to integrate this new flow in a simple, fast and secure way is an asset to our internal systems integration strategy, as well as our external partners.

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