Good Prognosis On BizTalk Server

Two health-care companies serving as early adopters of Microsoft's BizTalk software cite faster processing speed and improved data integration
Using Microsoft's upcoming BizTalk Server 2004 and industry-specific middleware, two health-care companies are bringing new capabilities to the way they handle electronic transactions.

Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, Wash., and Scripps Health in San Diego are early adopters of BizTalk Server 2004 data-integration software and BizTalk Accelerator for HL7, which supports the health-care industry's HL7 messaging standard.

"We're looking for at least a 25% increase in processing speed" using the Microsoft products, says Jean Balgrosky, CIO and senior VP at Scripps Health, which manages hospitals, clinics and in-home health-care services. Scripps Health sees BizTalk Accelerator as a "great capability to help use data that will naturally flow through interfaces and as [a way] of enhancing the usefulness of our data to end users," Balgrosky says.

BizTalk Server 2004, due for general availability April 1, features new capabilities for business-process management and business-activity monitoring. Scripps intends to use the platform to replace its existing data-integration engine, Sybase Inc.'s Transaction Distribution Manager 4.0. The company processes some 2 million transactions each week internally among its clinical, billing, laboratory, and other systems.

Balgrosky expects the BizTalk products to provide greater flexibility in handling transactions of various formats and says the monitoring tools will help Scripps share data with employees and doctors.

BizTalk Server 2004's click-and-drop features are leading to faster software development at Overlake Hospital, CIO Kent Hargrave says. And BizTalk Accelerator for HL7 makes it possible to page people or departments based on HL7 records.

When a patient is discharged, for example, the system automatically notifies the hospital's housekeeping staff. Says Hargrave: "It allows us to have beds available sooner than they would have been."

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