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B2B Integration of Hospitals and Suppliers

B2B Integration of Hospitals and Suppliers


s a leading supplier of integration solutions to the health care industry, Quality Excellence has an unparalleled pedigree in helping, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, regional health care providers, and national programs deliver the next generation of health care systems.

Supply Chain Efficiencies in Health Care

A planned and integrated delivery of skills, infrastructure, medication, supplies, and medical devices to the point of care is essential if we are to control costs and track the effectiveness of different clinical and management practices. Equally important is the determination of common standards for health (or diagnostic) resource groups (HRGs), which can be embedded into care pricing systems for governments or health insurance companies. And just as RFID and bar code technologies are revolutionizing supply chains in other industries, they are already being piloted and implemented for health supplies, such as blood product storage and drug dispensing.

IT product and services suppliers have already been shaken up by the U.K.'s NPfIT, but the real changes and repercussions on software providers have only just begun. This market is now in the process of readjusting to the new world that is to come, where many island technology suppliers will adapt or go out of business. The most important aspect of this adaptation is developing the capability to support common data and communication standards as defined through national programs.

Coping with Change

The move from local to centralized systems, as is currently happening in the U.K. NHS, has a profound effect at both the individual hospital and at the regional level. Migration to some new systems will proceed quickly, while others will happen over several years. Some local systems will remain in place for the long term. As many of these systems are interfaced with each other today, it is important to maintain interface integrity throughout the migration process.

In health care, interfaces from internal to external systems have historically been supported through business-to-business (B2B) techniques using commonly agreed message formats. But even here, we see a move to more standard industry message types, such as Health Level 7 (HL7 v3) or Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) protocols. At all levels, it will become increasingly important to support a range of message formats, and rapidly introduce additional support as these message formats change.

Going forward, multistep clinical and administrative processes will depend on a combination of local, regional, and national systems. The introduction of business process management and composite application technology can provide needed control of these end-to-end processes. A single view of patient capability is at the center of many new regional and national initiatives, whether to support integration of clinical processes across departments, integration of clinical processes at a national level, or emerging initiatives such as customer self service across multiple channels. A key premise of many national initiatives is that patient information, once captured, should be available for use across all potential care processes. This can prove to be very challenging, as patient information is stored differently in each IT system, and the patient identifier conventions used are often not the same.

Enabling Health Care Change

Quality Excellence delivers integration solutions that make a difference. Our solutions have become the standard for health care infrastructures worldwide. In the U.S., Quality Excellence's integration solutions are used in more than 800 hospitals and regional Enterprise Master Patient Indexes (EMPIs). In Europe, Quality Excellence's integration solutions are used by more than 450 hospital sites and trusts.

As part of the U.K. NHS NPfIT described earlier, Quality Excellence products support the integration and single patient view solution at the national level (National Application Service Provider or NASP), and to provide the integration solution for three of the five regional local service providers (LSPs).

Quality Excellence's integration solutions help health care organizations to:

Decrease costs - through earlier invoicing where relevant, reduced administrative and clinical process time, elimination of errors in process and paperwork, and improved planning, scheduling, and process control.
Eliminate waste - by reducing unnecessary transport and bed occupancy times. Better control expenditure - through automating procurement transactions and enabling a single view of provider to reduce erroneous payments.
Provide better service - through "joined-up" health care.

Quality Excellence offers an integrated package of application-to-application integration, organization-to-organization integration, master patient indexing, business process management, human workflow management, and an integrated patient access and update portal (single patient view). Our solutions provide a flexible infrastructure for hospitals, trusts, and national projects. Quality Excellence offers a comprehensive framework for the collection, management, and exchange of public health data, and enables the creation of new business processes leveraging existing infrastructures. This is achieved through service-based Packaged Composite Applications (PCAs) based on a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and powered by the Quality Excellence JavaT Integration Suite.