3DHISTECH's integration services are mainly concerned with the integration of CaseCenter with existing hospital information systems (HIS), laboratory information systems (LIS) and pathology information systems (PIS).
Types of Integration
1. CaseCenter System Integration Support: The development is made by the vendor of the HIS/LIS based on our specification, using the existing interface with the IHE PaLM and HL7 standards. 3DHISTECH sends documentation and gives support (no development on 3DHISTECH's side). For further information about the IHE PaLM TF please visit the following website:
2. CaseCenter Basic XML/HL7 Integration: The development and the documentation is done by 3DHISTECH, the vendor of the HIS/LIS gives support and/or makes development on their own side. 3DHISTECH develops only the basic integration functions (slide identification and folder structure creation based on barcodes and information from HIS/LIS, sending image links to HIS/LIS).
3. CaseCenter Custom XML/HL7 Integration: The development and the documentation is made by 3DHISTECH, the vendor of the HIS/LIS gives support and/or makes development on their own side. Besides the basic integration functions, 3DHISTECH develops custom integration functions as well (for example: opening the digital slides with CaseViewer directly from the HIS/LIS or uploading XML files to an FTP server, etc...).
The following documents will be created during the integration project:
1. Requirements specification:
With the help of the distributor and an online questionnaire we assess the needs of the customer, then we determine what the system already can do and what we need to develop. After this we can tell the distributor or the customer which Integration bundle they have to order and we prepare the project documents based on this information.
1.a Project definition:
In this document we collect all the information about the necessary development: Workflow, Communication method and everything else we have to do to achieve the goals of the project.
2. Collaboration Agreement:
This document has to be accepted and signed by the vendor of the HIS/LIS. It grants the legal background of the collaboration.
3. Testing documentation:
We collect the details and the steps of the testing process into this document. We specify the testing environment and we put a checklist of the tested functions and their results in it.
When the development and the testing is done, the final version is shaped, we discuss the handover process and write its details into this document.
1. XML based communication:
XML is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format which is both human-readable and machine-readable. The design goals of XML are emphasize simplicity, generality, and usability across the network. It is a textual data format with strong support by Unicode for different human languages. Although the design of XML focuses on documents, the language is widely used for the representation of arbitrary data structures such as those used in web services. It's a self-documenting code, so it can be used without prior specific knowledge and it’s a free and open standard.
2. HL7 + IHE based communication:
The communication protocol is HL7-based and follows the suggestions of IHE Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Technical Framework.
HL7 (Health Level Seven) is the first standard protocol for communication between Electronic Health Record components. It is supported by more than 1600 members from over 50 countries. It is vendor independent, thereby a system which is using HL7 can connect to any system that supports this particular part of the standard, both now and in the future. But HL7 implementations differ between vendors as well. The reasons why it’s not a plug-and-play solution is due to missing fields and values, duplication of data in fields and formats and different versions, therefore it becomes very important to cross-check these before developing an HL7 interface to avoid communication issues. Besides case information HL7 messages contain patient data as well, but CaseCenter was neither designed nor qualified to store this kind of information, so these are dropped after the exchange. For further information about HL7 please visit www.hl7.org.
IHE (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise) is an initiative by healthcare professionals and industry to improve the way computer systems in healthcare share information. IHE promotes the coordinated use of established standards (both healthcare and general IT) such as DICOM and HL7 to address specific clinical needs in support of optimal patient care. Systems developed in accordance with IHE communicate with one another better, are easier to implement, and enable care providers to use information more effectively. For further information about IHE Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Technical Framework please visit www.ihe.net.
It is possible to order an HL7 integration without following the IHE suggestions, but it's not recommended.
Simplified HL7 communication example
- The Scanner Software sends the barcode from the slide to CaseCenter on a secure channel.
- CaseCenter sends an URL of the slide to the HIS/LIS using HL7.
- The HIS/LIS sends an answer with the case information using HL7. CaseCenter moves the digital slide to the desired folder based on the information, then drops the patient data.
- The user wants to open the slide from the HIS/LIS Client application. After clicking on the link it starts searching for the location of the digital slide.
- The HIS/LIS Client receives the path of the digital slide.
- CaseViewer opens the requested digital slide from CaseCenter using internal protocols.
The system sends HL7 messages over TCP/IP socket adapter that uses the Minimal Lower Layer Protocol (MLLP).