While dance shoes are not required, implementing a health care interface, especially one that can smoothly share data between two systems, can be as intricate as a three-way tango. The partners you choose to dance with can make all the difference. Who will lead? What special talents does each dancer have? How do we put together a winning routine?
Here at pMD, we have worked with every imaginable type of system vendor from small mom-and-pop shops to huge national organizations. There is no hard and fast rule, but in many cases, the benefit of working with small and mid-sized organizations is that more often than not, they’re more responsive and eager to satisfy the customer. While it seems like everyone may get overloaded, in my experience, working with a smaller vendor actually often means you have access to the people who can make decisions and get them implemented. Want to add a more complicated dance move to your routine? With a small-to-midsize dance partner, often you can just easily ask for help with that and it gets done. With a larger one, a request for a new feature may get taken by your account manager, then relayed to a technical analyst who in turn has to get approval from a committee. Then, if it gets approved, you may find out that the dance partner does not even know how to carry out that complicated dance move. Too many dancers on the dance floor can lead to a spotty routine!
pMD has a long-established, reliable interface with a very large and major vendor, making it easy to implement for new practices joining pMD. Groups that are new to pMD and that request this interface can often get it implemented in a matter of days. Which is great, right? Recently, a few practices with this interface asked about leveraging a new feature in their practice management system. The other vendor was unwilling to enhance the existing interface and insisted on making it a brand new project. On our end, we were able to make the requested enhancements in just a few days but somehow ended up spending months trying to get a new connection up and running in order for us to send that additional data over to the vendor's system correctly. While this isn’t always the case for all large vendors we work with, this tango, unfortunately, fell short.
In working with many small and mid-sized vendors, we’ve found that the person we are dealing with is the actual interface designer and developer. Projects like these can often go very smoothly due to that close proximity. In a recent project with a mid-sized systems vendor, the interface engineer was reliably on every status call, creative about addressing special requests from the practice, and prompt in following up. The customer was able to go live in about a month with a customized interface that addressed their needs. Here, the tango routine wowed.
If you’re unfamiliar with interfaces, just know that different types of interface projects have different degrees of difficulty. For example, there is very little variation in setting up patient demographics interfaces from one vendor to the next. However, when it comes to charge interfaces, or sending charges from one system to another, they prove to be a little more challenging, take more time, and require more testing. In other words, the dance routine takes more practice and finesse.
While we at pMD and your practice management system vendor or hospital IT department are the dancers that have to agree on the moves, the dance routine cannot go anywhere without that third partner, the customer. The customer helps keep the tempo and encourages us vendors onto our feet, pushing us to dance through the routine without stopping. Keep us on-beat and you’ll find the dance slowly unfolding as a thing of beauty - an interface that will wow the crowd.
To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.