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7/22/2011
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Two Leading Interface Engine Vendors Emerge

As information exchange between applications becomes even more important to healthcare IT, interface engines play a key role.

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In a time when information exchange between applications has become the Holy Grail of healthcare IT, interface engines are more important than ever. As such, a new KLAS report looks at these important technologies, and finds two vendors rising to the top.

Corepoint Health and InterSystems topped the report, "Interface Engines: Beyond Interoperability", scoring 96.3 and 96 respectively (out of a possible 100 points).

Corepoint is experiencing "tremendous growth" in its client base, according to KLAS. The company had the largest presence of any vendor in smaller healthcare facilities (fewer than 200 beds), but very few clients in facilities with more than 500 beds. According to Lorin Bird, KLAS research director and a contributor on the report, that's not because of any inherent weakness in the vendor's software.

"Corepoint can scale--the larger customers they do have are scoring them just as highly. The feedback we received is that customers haven't found any limitations, and are not concerned with their ability to scale. They say that it's done what they've needed it to do," he said.

The company received the highest scores for product development and new technology, and its customers raved about the "extra-mile efforts" of Corepoint's support staff and liked the robust and flexible technology of the interface engine, KLAS stated. Most customers felt the system met all of their expectations, the organization added.

Running a very close second to Corepoint (in a "virtual tie") with 96 points is InterSystems, but the two are rarely found in the same arena, KLAS stated, with almost all of InterSystems Ensemble (one of the company's flagship products) customers being 500+ bed facilities. Ensemble achieved the highest increase in satisfaction score of any vendor product over the past year.

Other vendors and products that showed up in the rankings were Lawson/Cloverleaf Integration Suite, Orion Health/Rhapsody, and Siemens/OPENLink, among others. Findings about Mirth/Connect were also included in the report, but did not meet KLAS Konfidence levels to be ranked in the report.

Bird said the interface engine market is booming, in part, because even small community hospitals now need, can afford, and can manage the technology. They can do so because vendors are "providing robustness in a simpler package. The top systems have the horsepower to handle multiple, complex interfaces and still make things simple and intuitive for the interface analyst. When that's the case, you get a win/win," he explained.

On the vendor side, many interface engine providers have seen another robust business open on the horizon. "Those vendors that are well entrenched with interface engines as their core competency have found a natural path to move into health information exchange and use their engine as the backbone for the HIE technology," said Paul Pitcher, director of financial systems with KLAS and author of the report. Such an offering might also comprise an enterprise master patient index and physician portal.

Added Pitcher, "There really now is a solution for every customer out there to address scalability and volume--whether the organization is larger or small there is something out there. We anticipate we'll continue seeing products evolving, getting simpler and better."

Anthony Guerra is the founder and editor of healthsystemCIO.com, a site dedicated to serving the strategic information needs of healthcare CIOs. He can be reached at aguerra@healthsystemCIO.com.

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