To control rising healthcare costs, standardize infrastructure, and streamline IT operations, the freiburger spital—a consortium of the six public hospitals in the territorial subdivision of Fribourg, Switzerland—deployed a systems integration solution based on Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009. Now the hospital network has access to consolidated, synchronized, and automated systems, which enables better patient care and reduced support costs.
Fribourg, Switzerland, is a canton—or territorial subdivision—that includes the cities of Billens, Châtel-St-Denis, Fribourg/ Freiburg, Meyriez-Murten, Riaz, and Tafers. In 2007, the six public hospitals for somatic care in the canton joined forces to form a consortium called the freiburger spital. The hospital’s 3,000 employees provide high-quality medical care and support to 22,000 citizens of Fribourg each year.
||Using Microsoft BizTalk Server has enabled us to reduce IT support costs by 50 percent.
Head of Projects and Development, freiburger spital
The aim of the partnership was to control rising healthcare costs by reducing duplication of effort. Prior to the partnership, the hospitals maintained their own IT infrastructures. Various modules of the Opale hospital ERP system were in use, as well as the NEXUS.MedFolio clinical information system, the PACS digital X-ray administration system, and a variety of laboratory solutions.
With disparate systems located in geographically dispersed locations, IT support was cumbersome and difficult. In order to reduce IT costs, the freiburger spital decided to replace its old integration product and consolidate the various applications into one IT system that could be accessed by all hospitals.
“We wanted a powerful, future-proof integration solution with clearly defined manufacturer support,” explains Marc Devaud, Head of Projects and Development of the freiburger spital. “One thing that was important to us was the ability to make configuration adjustments ourselves.”Solution
The freiburger spital reached out to Lambert Consulting, a Microsoft Gold Certified and Microsoft Certified Business Solutions Partner. Lambert Consulting recommended an integration solution based on Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 data management software, and the Windows Server 2008 operating system.
According to Devaud, the publish/subscribe architecture of BizTalk Server 2009 simplifies the integration of the consortium’s heterogeneous systems. These are linked to the BizTalk Server using an adapter or standardized interfaces such as Web services. The BizTalk Accelerator for HL7 is a special adapter for the healthcare sector that supports the HL7 international healthcare communication standard and thus enables the simple integration of all common medical IT systems.
The use of other standard adapters for communication between the individual systems meant that a lot of time was saved during development and deployment. As a result, the solution was up and running in only three months.
As a result of the solution, innumerable point-to-point connections have been replaced by a central hub, through which the data from a wide variety of systems is consolidated, synchronized, and forwarded. The freiburger spital also expects to use the solution to enable new forms of business intelligence.Benefits
Using Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009, all hospitals within the network have real-time access to accurate, up-to-date data. The consortium also benefits from:
Fully automated data synchronization between different systems and locations. Now, if a surgeon arranges an appointment for an operation with a patient and reserves an operating room in the system, a bed in a ward will automatically be reserved and a message sent to the hospital kitchen.
Simple configuration and fast adjustments in line with customer requirements. “The results have already proven that our strategic decision to implement Microsoft BizTalk Server was the right one,” says Devaud. “The system is extremely flexible and can easily handle up to 25,000 transactions a day. What’s more, our IT staff can make configuration adjustments themselves.”
Devaud concludes, “Thanks to this integration solution, we have increased our flexibility, reduced costs, and connected all hospital locations to a common IT infrastructure. This, in turn, enables us to provide our patients with a better level of care and support.”For More Information
Lambert Consulting is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Microsoft Certified Business Solutions Partner with offices in Fribourg and St. Prex (VD). The company specializes in providing infrastructure and business solutions based on Microsoft technologies. Lambert Consulting has completed numerous demanding projects in the financial sector and for public authorities, hospitals, service providers, and industrial companies—in Switzerland and abroad—since 1995.
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