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Enterprise Integration Kicks Off with Financial System Interfaces, Operational Monitoring Running on Ensemble Platform

Rush University Medical Center has completed phase one of an organization-wide move to the InterSystems Ensemble® rapid integration and development platform. The announcement, which spotlights a growing trend among healthcare providers to leverage integration software on an enterprise scale, was made at the HIMSS10 conference.

stock-p20Chicago-based Rush is nationally ranked in nine of 16 specialty areas in U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Hospitals”. Rush is also included in the 2009 100 Most Wired in Healthcare annual survey conducted by Hospitals & Health Networks. The choice of Ensemble for enterprise integration is the latest example of the medical center’s focus on utilizing top-tier technology to enable quality care delivery.

Breaking Through the Limits of Legacy Integration Products

Limitations of its legacy eGate integration platform drove the transition to a new environment, according to Scott Finkle, Director of Development, Architecture and Integration at Rush. “We were using an outdated version of eGate that didn’t provide adapters for technologies such as SOAP and XML. With our existing vendor, the update path would have required a total rewrite of all interfaces,” he continued. “And, it would have been extremely complicated and expensive to create a high-availability environment and to support our disaster recovery data center if we stayed with the legacy software.”

Based on benchmarking the development process, Ensemble clearly enables higher productivity than the other products we evaluated.

Scott Finkle, Director of Development, Architecture and Integration
Rush University Medical Center

Evaluation of integration alternatives involved running proofs of concept designed to test product functionality and operational stability when building HL7 interfaces. Ensemble was selected based on increased developer productivity, superior operational monitoring and architectural flexibility that are critical in the medical center’s high-availability environment. “Based on benchmarking the development process, Ensemble clearly enables higher productivity than the other products we evaluated,” said Finkle. “Ensemble also provides the ability to track transactions at a level of detail that we view as extremely important,” he continued. Because Ensemble tracks every message that flows through an integrated system and supports real-time access to message data, IT staff can respond quickly to events throughout the organization. “And, Ensemble’s flexible architecture allows for both clustered and shadowed support, which enables us to scale on multiple platforms as well as to test on Windows, for example, while running production systems on Sun MicroSystems. With Ensemble, we’re positioned for fast disaster recovery as well as the high availability that’s a critical requirement in the medical center.”

Delivering Developer Productivity, Operational Stability

Rush selected Ensemble and rolled out phase one of its enterprise integration plan at the end of January with financial interfaces, operational monitoring and the high-availability architectural infrastructure implementation first to run in production mode. More than 100 real-time HL7 interfaces and over 500 batch interfaces will be moved to Ensemble by mid-2011. “Keep in mind that we will be developing other critical solutions as they are needed throughout the transition to Ensemble. In addition, we’re in the midst of a multi-year rollout of clinical systems from Epic. Deployment of the Ensemble HL7 interfaces will be coordinated with the Epic application deployment throughout the rollout.

“We operate in a fast-changing environment and Ensemble makes it possible to focus on development rather than middleware issues and to utilize technologies such as XML and SOAP. The bottom line is that Ensemble enables our team to deliver projects at a quicker, more consistent pace and, ultimately, reduce our project backlog,” Finkle said.

The bottom line is that Ensemble enables our team to deliver projects at a quicker, more consistent pace and, ultimately, reduce our project backlog.

Scott Finkle, Director of Development, Architecture and Integration
Rush University Medical Center

Looking to the future, Finkle foresees the possibility of using Ensemble for device integration as well as for optimizing business processes that will be automated by an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. “We’ll examine multiple opportunities for leveraging Ensemble in ways that extend beyond application and data integration.”

“In addition to integrating mission-critical applications, healthcare organizations are using Ensemble in a variety of ways to create new enterprise solutions,” said Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems Vice President of Strategic Planning. “Examples include building composite applications, establishing an enterprise service bus or SOA infrastructure and implementing BPM supported by a rules-based engine. We’re pleased to work with Rush as they identify the multiple ways that Ensemble can be leveraged to increase productivity and optimize business and technical processes.”

About Rush University Medical Center

Rush University Medical Center is an academic medical center that includes a 671-bed hospital serving adults and children, the 61-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University. Today, Rush is a thriving center for basic and clinical research, with physicians and scientists involved in hundreds of research projects developing and testing the effectiveness and safety of new therapies and medical devices.

For more information, go to visit the Rush University Medical Center website.