Meriter Health Services Case Study
www.meriter.com Madison, Wisconsin
“I do have to say, from the leadership team to the support team, Corepoint Health is a great partner.”
Meriter Health Services has provided the highest quality of care to residents in Madison, Dane County and the surrounding communities for more than 110 years. With a combined staff of 3,300 Meriter Health Services operations include Meriter Hospital, a nonprofit 448 bed community hospital, Meriter Medical Group and Meriter Laboratories.
Healthcare Interfacing Challenges
Meriter Health Services was undergoing a massive technology upgrade and overhaul that included a new data center filled with new servers and upgrades to latest releases of their Epic® clinical systems. A significant aspect of their IT workflow included their legacy interface engine which resided on an older UNIX-based server. As part of their technology upgrade initiatives, the team at Meriter Health Services decided to evaluate more modern integration engine solutions capable of supporting both existing and future projects as well as impending Meaningful Use requirements.
The Meriter team required an interface engine that was reliable, efficient, could provide failover capability, and was able to offer remote monitoring and alerting.
In 2010, the IT team at Meriter upgraded their entire Epic HIS system, migrated to a new operational data center, and converted approximately 70 interfaces from their legacy to engine to Corepoint Integration Engine. According to Kim Knorr, senior programmer analyst, regarding migrating to a new interface engine, “The GUI development within Corepoint Integration Engine certainly caught our eye. It looked like we could develop interfaces more quickly than what we were doing.
Also, we were moving to an unmanned IT operations center, so the ability to work remotely and have paging and alerting capabilities were primary concerns for us,” added Denise Gomez, director of applications. To support their technology initiatives and improve their integrated clinical application environment, Meriter Health Services also implemented the native failover solution for Corepoint Integration Engine, Assured Availability (A2).
For the IT team at Meriter, it was critical to have a failover solution and integration platform with proactive alerts and robust monitoring features. Said Knorr, “With one of our new network servers, A2 jumped in when it was unable to ping its backup server and that was great. What I like about A2 is that with my UNIX background I am still learning Window servers, but the F1 Help on Corepoint Integration Engine is phenomenal in telling me exactly what needs to be done to sync the servers. It’s been great.”
The Meriter team also used A2 to help move servers to their new data center. “We migrated to newer technology using VMfarm. It was great to use A2 as a part of that upgrade process, so we weren’t shutting down our interfaces for a significant length of time,” stated Knorr.
Meriter Health Services Insights
Additional insights from Denise Gomez, director of applications, and Kim Knorr, senior programmer analyst:
Kim Knorr on Customer Support
With the number of initiatives being undertaken simultaneously by Meriter Health Services, the Corepoint Health implementation team was utilized to begin the interface conversions.
“We started out with a ‘big bang approach’ with multiple people from Corepoint Health looking at our existing interface code, and it was great that they could read and understand it. It was also very helpful retaining a Corepoint Health implementation specialist as a developer. He got to know our organization quite well and could work independently and then review the work with me. He did a really nice job of queuing up work, and I’d let him know when I was ready for more. It was a really nice partnership.”
Denise Gomez on Complex Interfaces
Meriter is a local reference lab for a number of clients within the area, and lab results can often have a unique twist on how they present their orders and need the results presented back to them. For example, micro results for laboratory interfaces have very particular requirements. Corepoint Integration Engine is both intuitive to use and able to handle complex interfaces simply and efficiently. This was especially important for Meriter Health Services.
“The integration engine provides us with a way to communicate with our downstream lab customers. It is not simply Epic talking to a lab; it’s our labs talking to a whole bunch of other labs in the precise way those labs require, and Corepoint Integration Engine makes that possible.”
Gomez on Partners in Integration
“I do have to say, from the leadership team to the support team, Corepoint Health is a great partner. Their flexibility enabled us to focus on other organizational priorities while keeping us within our original time frame. Corepoint Health understood our needs and delivered; that is a true partnership.”