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Holland Hospital uses HealthShare Health Connect to connect internal systems with community physician EMRs

Holland Hospital is a 189-bed acute care hospital in Western Michigan, serving a population of about 250,000 through the care of 350 physicians and 600 nurses. Holland Hospital is nationally recognized for quality practices and exceptional patient care. Recent recognition includes being named one of the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics, listing as a Magnet designated hospital, and perennial listing as one of West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.

Holland Hospital aims to create a connected healthcare environment to achieve the highest levels of patient care and safety. But the hospital has found that as demand for integration between its IT systems grew, its legacy interface engine couldn’t deliver the functionality, development efficiency, reliability, or performance required to:

  • Improve care delivery by integrating community doctors’ offices and other external organizations with the hospital’s internal systems
  • Make it easier to share information electronically throughout the hospital

Holland Hospital realized that it needed a new, core integration platform that could serve the needs of the entire enterprise – inside as well as outside the hospital walls. “We wanted to add more interconnectivity internally as well as connect to multiple external organizations, including community physicians,” says Randy Paruch, Director of Information Systems at Holland Hospital. “But our interface engine didn’t offer a good upgrade path for achieving our objectives.” After an evaluation of several integration products from high profile vendors, Holland Hospital chose InterSystems Ensemble® as its enterprise integration platform. Holland Hospital subsequently migrated to Ensemble’s successor product, HealthShare Health Connect.

Developing new interfaces in half the time

Holland Hospital’s first project with Health Connect was to replace the legacy interfaces. Their next step was to create new connections between the hospital’s EMR and billing systems and its patient administration, laboratory, radiology, and other applications. “Our developers got up and running fast with Health Connect,” notes Paruch. “It’s easy to understand and to see how everything is connected together, and very straightforward to work with. Development time is extremely fast… maybe half the time needed with our previous interface engine.”

The new connections created with Health Connect have enabled smoother care delivery within the hospital, and a better patient experience.

Easier connectivity with community physician EMRs

In addition to improving internal operations, Holland Hospital views electronic sharing of information between the hospital and primary care physicians as a key part of its efforts to provide the best care and increased safety for its patients. Health Connect is central to the hospital’s plan to integrate its internal clinical and patient administration systems with EMR systems used externally by community physician groups.

“Making these connections with Health Connect enables the hospital and our community physicians to work much more closely together.” says Paruch. “A visit to any of our doctors is a seamless experience for everyone involved.”

It took Holland Hospital just 10 hours to develop its first interface to a community physician group’s EMR. “This was much faster than what we could have achieved with our old interface engine,” explains Paruch. “Now connecting to additional physicians using the same EMR only takes making a new physician ID entry into a Health Connect database table.”

Reliability, performance, and scalability to support the future of health information sharing

With integration handled by Health Connect, the issues Holland Hospital experienced with the previous system have disappeared, and the hospital is well positioned for future growth. “We don’t have to worry about problems caused by our interface engine any more,” Paruch says. “Health Connect is simply there and has never caused any unscheduled downtime. As we integrate more applications and more community physician practices, Health Connect is easily scaling to support the heavier loads.”

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