Healthcare organizations use a large number of discretely-developed IT applications. The exchange of healthcare related data among these systems is required both for administrative and for medical reasons. In an attempt to resolve challenges faced during system integration of healthcare applications, there has been an evolution of messaging standards such as HL7. Many healthcare industries are looking to build solutions by re-using their existing infrastructure. The existing applications need to communicate with each other and share data through a centralized processing unit. HL7 standard is widely used by different healthcare applications to process healthcare data in a standard format.
Message-oriented middleware (message broker or communication server) is being used to deal with some of the integration issues, for example, application integration, translation of code, mapping of events and message routing.
This article aims to describe how to integrate HL7 applications with Websphere Message Broker.
IBM Websphere Message Broker
IBM Websphere Message Broker (WMB) is a business integration product. Business integration is the coordination and co-existence of all the business processes and applications. It involves bringing together the data and process intelligence in the enterprise, and harnessing them so that users can achieve their business goals through their applications.
The use of Message Broker offers a scalable platform that has access to data sent by various applications in the organization. It improves the dependability and ease of access of data and concentrates all available message flows to a single point. Creating a central point for data improves the quality of healthcare service, the integration of data, and the central management of the links.
HL7 application integration into WMB V6.0 - Sample
WMB is used to integrate healthcare applications built on HL7 standard by performing message transformation, enrichment and routing. Even if the existing healthcare applications are based on other languages like .NET languages, C or Java, they can be integrated using WMB.
WMB provides HL7 message set to parse HL7 healthcare messages coming from different healthcare segments. It integrates healthcare applications built on various HL7 segments. One of the segments is Patient information (PID) segment.
Description of the Sample
The HL7 sample demonstrates how users can use the MRM parser to model the PID segment of an HL7 message in XML and TDS formats. It will demonstrate how the PID segment of HL7 message can be translated from TDS to XML message format and vice-versa.
The HL7 sample contains two message flows. The first message flow converts HL7 messages to XML messages (refer Figure 1), and the second message flow converts XML messages to HL7 messages (refer Figure 2). The message set has been created to parse the HL7 messages containing "MSH (message header) and PID (patient information) segment of HL7 Standard" present in TDS format and in XML format (refer Figure 3.).
Figure 1: Message flow which converts HL7 message to XML message
Figure 2: Message flow which converts XML message to HL7 message
Figure 3: Message set to parse HL7 messages (PID segment messages)
HL7 sample artifacts can be downloaded from:
Download the HL7.zip file. Please follow the installation instructions as per ia9n.pdf. The HL7 message flow and message set details can be found under the samples gallery.
Benefits of using WMB as middleware
- Integration of healthcare applications helps to reduce the cost of application upgrades and modifications.
- Any healthcare application developed using ERP, SAP, Siebel, etc can be integrated using WMB.
- Cost and problems associated with point-to-point connection can be reduced as it is easy to maintain the connections, migration of systems is easy and also cost involved in creating new connection is less.
By,Sowmya H Dayananda and Abhinav Priyadarshi