Previously, Allscripts supported healthcare transactions with many point-to-point interfaces and older transaction hubs. The company is moving to a single hub based on Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009, which will process 6 million daily transactions
by 2013. Allscripts benefits from faster time-to-market; reduced technical effort; full visibility into transaction flow and system health; and improved performance, scalability, and availability.
Allscripts provides an open, integrated portfolio of solutions that are used by more than 50,000 physician practices, 1,500 hospitals, and 10,000 post-acute care organizations. The company’s solutions connect providers across the healthcare continuum—for
example, a practice can electronically submit a prescription to Surescripts, send lab orders to LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics and view the results, and submit meaningful use (MU) information to state and local registries. Altogether, Allscripts facilitates
millions of such transactions each day.
||There are numerous interface engines used in healthcare and our customers are using all of them. With our new hub, customers will have a single point of connectivity that will rely on Microsoft BizTalk Server.
| Mike Hosmer
Director of Development, Allscripts
In the past, Allscripts supported this flow of information primarily through thousands of dedicated, point-to-point interfaces. Typically written in older technologies, those interfaces were expensive to create and maintain, requiring Allscripts to push any
updates out to all customers running that software. “Every practice had one interface for LabCorp, another for Surescripts, and so on,” says Mike Hosmer, Director of Development at Allscripts. “We were building hundreds of new interfaces each year, which was
Allscripts also had six centralized transaction hubs. Because the hubs were based on multiple technologies, they required a broad mix of skills to support. In addition, Allscripts knew that upcoming reporting requirements associated with Meaningful Use Stage
2 rules from the Department of Health and Human Services would drive even greater transaction volume as physicians would be required to share more information electronically.
In late 2009, Allscripts decided to build a single, scalable hub that would support all transactions. The company enlisted Microsoft Partner Network member Evolute to assist with platform selection, solution design, and development. After considering
several technology solutions, Allscripts chose Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009 as its transaction processing engine, along with the Windows Server 2008 operating system and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 data management software.
“We chose Microsoft software because of lower costs, ease of development, and ease of administration,” says Hosmer. “As we evaluated technology platforms for the transaction hub, we relied on the collaboration and integration experts from Evolute, whose
assistance was key to helping us select Microsoft BizTalk Server. With their knowledge and experience, we knew we were going to be successful from the initial platform decision to final completion of the project.”
Allscripts began building the new Allscripts Hub in January 2010. Developers used the BizTalk Server Accelerator for HL7 and the BizTalk Server Accelerator for HIPAA to accelerate delivery, enabling the company to design, build, and test the solution in
only eight months. In August 2010, Allscripts began using its new hub to support lab transactions. It added eligibility, medication history, and MU transactions in 2011, and will add electronic prescriptions in 2012. “We’re currently supporting 2.75 million
daily transactions, which we expect to grow to 6 million per day when all prescriptions are flowing through the hub later this year,” says Hosmer.
Allscripts is taking advantage of its existing systems management environment based on Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 to monitor the hub. Given the success of the initial deployment, plans are to upgrade to BizTalk Server 2010, SQL Server
2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, and System Center 2012 by the end of 2013.
By replacing thousands of point-to-point interfaces and several older hubs with a single, centralized solution, Allscripts is benefiting in several ways:
One hub capable of supporting all transactions. Allscripts now has a single transaction hub that can easily support any type of transaction. “There are numerous interface engines used in healthcare and our customers are using all of them,”
says Hosmer. “With our new hub, customers will have a single point of connectivity that will rely on Microsoft BizTalk Server.”
30 percent faster time-to-market. Allscripts can bring new services to market faster because it only needs to build a single interface for each service. “We can write and test a new interface to the hub once versus writing and testing many
point-to-point interfaces,” says Hosmer.
20 percent reduction in technical effort. By consolidating all point-to-point interfaces and older hubs onto a single new hub, Allscripts will significantly reduce the range of technology skill-sets that it must maintain.
60 percent faster performance and increased scalability. The new hub delivers a 50 to 60 percent increase in performance and greater scalability. “We’re supporting more transactions than we anticipated,
and that number will continue to grow,” says Hosmer. “Fortunately, we can easily scale to support that growth.”
100 percent visibility into transaction flow and system health. Allscripts now can easily monitor transaction flow, which will help spot trends and improve customer satisfaction. Similarly, Allscripts can use System Center Configuration
Manager to monitor the health and performance of its new hub and proactively address issues that could affect service levels.
Platform for growth. Allscripts can easily support new types of transactions, which will help fuel new revenues for healthcare providers. “As we approach the release of Meaningful Use Stage 2 rules, the demand for easy, efficient, and cost-effective
methods of sharing data and true interoperability will dramatically increase,” says Steve Schwartz, Senior Vice President for Corporate Business Development at Allscripts. “This is especially important with respect to providing additional e-prescribing, lab,
and radiology data, so that doctors can meet the requirements for additional stimulus payments. Our new Allscripts Hub is helping us meet those goals.”
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