Ensemble Integration During an Epic Upgrade
10 MAY, 2017
One of the leading health care systems in the United States decided it was time for an Epic upgrade so they could take advantage of the new enhancements in the latest version. They had enough internal IT staff and determined they could tackle the upgrade in-house.
However, upgrading Epic meant they would also need to update Ensemble, their integration engine. They reached out to Core Health Technologies for our expertise working with both systems to help with rapid development to and from Epic using Ensemble.
Once they had decided to move forward with an Epic upgrade, the healthcare system wanted to implement the new features as quickly as possible. During development, their team would need to simultaneously maintain and support their production environment while working on both the upgrade and the Ensemble integration.
The organization decided to split responsibilities for the full project between two teams—one that would focus on the Epic upgrade and another dedicated to Ensemble integration development. Because of the project’s complexity, they opted to bring in Core Health Technologies to help. They felt a consultant who understood both systems would help ensure the process went as smoothly as possible and could help them hit the ground running.
Core Health Technologies delivered a consultant with significant Ensemble and Epic experience. He had over 20 years’ experience in health care interfaces, with many of his most recent projects in Epic or Ensemble or both. That meant he understood how the two systems integrated together and had developed transformations for many of the different HL7 transaction sets.
He also had a strong understanding of best practices for Ensemble and Epic to address common hospital business processes—things like admissions and scheduling, as well as for common interfaces such as those for lab radiology imaging and patching systems.
That turned out to be a good thing, because—in addition to the accelerated timeline and the divided workforce—this client had one additional challenge: several different sites which had all joined the larger organization at different times. The client wanted those sites to interface seamlessly, but because they’d been added at different times and had different internal systems, different sites used different code values for the same fields. That meant field mapping would also play an important part in the integration project.
“They reached out to Core for our expertise working with both systems to help with rapid development to and from Epic using Ensemble.”
Working alongside the internal team dedicated to Ensemble, Core Health Technologies was able to help the healthcare system create a flexible but robust system interface. We helped to standardize fields where it made sense to do so. However, in other use cases standardization would have meant retraining end-users or added to an already complex project. In those instances, Core simply mapped each of the various systems with Epic accordingly.
Core Health Technologies also helped develop the specifications showing what data was passed, what segments were passed, who the contacts were, the connection information, how the systems connected in the test environment and production environment, and documented every step of the process. By the end of the 10-month project, the team was standing up their main hospital site on the new version of Epic with Ensemble interfaces in place, and planning on a staged approach to bring their remaining sites live.