Have you ever wondered what it would be like if your Epic system and your other external systems could be integrated without any additional stress or headaches?
Cue Epic Bridges.
The Epic Bridges interface solution allows for more seamless integrations by offering increased functionality for the creation, maintenance and installation of interfaces between systems.
Let’s dive in.
What is Epic Bridges?
Epic Bridges is Epic’s module for configuring, installing, and maintaining interfaces between the Epic system and other external systems.
The module supports interfaces and integrations between Epic and many different external systems. And, the tools included in the Bridges module offer additional support in setting up interfaces to connect systems properly and monitoring the interface messages after the systems are connected.
Bridges Enterprise Interfaces is an all-encompassing tool that facilitates interfacing and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) processes to and from the Epic system. The Bridges toolkit is used in building and monitoring interfaces and system connections, mapping data to and from Epic master files through interfaces, managing system errors, and supporting business integration applications.
How Does the Epic Bridges Module Work?
The Epic Bridges module focuses on two main processes to build and maintain efficient interfaces between the Epic system and other non-Epic systems:
- Setting up proper connections for EDI
- Configuring message structure for better flow of information
Let’s say ABC Inc. has specific business goals that require both an Epic system and an another external system. But, in order for these systems to communicate and function properly, interfaces and their synchronized message structures need to be built and maintained between each system. ABC Inc. would need to set up interfaces and outline the specific roles individuals serve in the process and plans for the future maintenance of each interface.
Key Aspects of Epic Interfaces
Here are a few of the main aspects of Epic Bridges interfaces to consider, as well as how they help to ensure proper connection between systems:
Clearly-defined action that initiates the creation and distribution of an interface message and serves as the integration point between Bridges and external system workflows
Contains segments, fields, and sub-components that define data about a specific event in the system (e.g., patient admittance to a hospital)
Three-character codes that identify the type of data contained in the message segment to better organize patient information (i.e., MSH, EVN, PID)
Group of system values that contain information needed to build a complete message (patient ID, contact information, type of message, etc) and direct the interface to the proper source in the database
Stores the full message text and other important data to facilitate message processing
List of messages to be processed by the Communications Daemon with instructions to send or file away certain messages in the Data Queue
“Waiting room” for messages that don’t have access to system locks to allow for secure information storage in the database
Epic’s real-time, non-relational database that contains all necessary information for patients in a unified record
Key Interface Configuration
Epic Bridges supports multiple different interfaces and communications protocols. Here are a few of the main configurations supported by the Epic integration engine:
Health Level 7 (HL7) is a set of standards built to outline the process for exchanging information between medical information systems and is crucial to the interoperability of different systems within a single organization.
The Epic Bridges module outlines MSH-11 and MSH-12 as the HL7 processing ID and version identifiers, and the Epic system checks these values on incoming messages to ensure they match the expected values. If the values are empty or don’t match, the Epic system will reject the message, causing a negative acknowledgement (NAK) error for the interface.
American National Standards Institute X12 (ANSI X12) contains the EDI standard format developed to build and maintain uniform standards for the inter-industry transfer of business documents and other important information between systems.
ANSI X12 acts as one of the main interface types maintained within Epic and other external systems, sending and receiving requests and responses between systems while maintaining the standard data format for medical information exchange.
The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) is an ANSI-accredited organization responsible for creating new standards and maintaining previous ones throughout pharmacy messaging systems.
NCPDP standards help structure and maintain real-time pharmaceutical information, and its Epic system interfaces helps organize pharmacy services within each system, including the Incoming External Paid Pharmacy Claims Interface and the Outgoing Provider Updates to E-Prescribing System Interface.
Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) is a standard built to transmit, store, process, retrieve, and display medical imaging information across systems.
The Epic system has APIs available for Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) integration, and the Bridges interfacing functions allow for better system and context synchronization and measurement exchange between systems.
The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) provides an additional level of support for standard HL7 data models through REST-based access.
FHIR interfaces with the Epic system for multiple different functions that assist in configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting interfaces such as, Document Reference, Observations, and Bulk Data Access.
Getting Started with Epic
Implementing a new system or trying integrate different systems with complex interfaces can seem overwhelming if you don’t have the right team (like a certified IT Epic Analyst on staff) or the right resources (time, money, executive support, etc) to get the job done.
Luckily for you, our team of senior-level Epic-certified consultants is here to help.
Need additional support implementing Epic in your organization or directing your Epic implementation staff through the process? They’ve got you covered. Just need an extra hand carrying out each step of your new Epic interface project? They’ve been there and can help with that too.
How Can We Help?
Whether you need help building interfaces in Epic, navigating a new Epic Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, providing interface project support, or anything in between, our consultants have the right skills and experience to help you.
And, to give you a better idea of what to expect when partnering with us, we’ve included a snapshot of one of our Epic consultants:
Surety Senior Epic Bridges Consultant
- 10 years of Epic experience, 14+ years in the healthcare space
- Epic (Bridges, Cadence) Meditech, and HL7 expertise
- Training development and presenting experience as a Trainer
- Build, Testing, and Troubleshooting experience as an Analyst
- 3M 360, Precyse Transcription, ED, Home Health and Hospice, GI, and AgileMD workflow experience
Contact us today to learn more or get started with one of our consultants.