Like many Acute Hospitals, Luton & Dunstable NHS Trust relied on a plethora of disparate systems to support its clinical, business and administrative processes. This has resulted in a lot of complexity in the point-to-point interfaces between applications. With no overarching integration strategy, managing the point-to-point interfaces was creating a financial and administrative burden on the Trust and making it difficult to plan the introduction of new business-critical systems.
According to the Head of Information Management at the Trust: “Some of our systems had been in place for over ten years and were no longer meeting business requirements. We had many disparate interfaces, with no coherent strategy connecting them together and this made it difficult and expensive to manage and change the architecture.”
They decided to embark on an interface rationalisation project that would provide a robust infrastructure and deliver a roadmap and methodology that could grow with the Trust. After a competitive tender, Luton & Dunstable selected Integrella to deliver the project.
There were three stages to the implementation:
- Install and set-up a robust test and live environment
- Refine architecture and build interfaces between PAS and one initial application (VitalPack vital statistic monitoring system)
- Deliver target architecture roadmap and skills transfer programme to enable Trust to roll-out architecture to 50+ Trust applications.
Integrella selected InterSystem’s Ensemble as the best fit to be Trust Interface Engine (TIE), and customised it to deliver an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) called HealthBus. The ESB approach adopted has enabled the Trust to realise a true Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), with loose coupling or easy connection between applications via the Bus replacing traditional point-to-point interfaces.
Although Luton & Dunstable NHS Trust had two members of staff and a manager looking after integration, they included TIE integration support as part of the tender process. Integrella was selected to provide implementation and support.This meant that the integration staff were able to be deployed into other areas which complemented the integration project work.
The Integrella support portal provided 24/7 service to meet required SLAs, and we acted as a direct liaison with system vendors. The relationship with the Trust was managed through regular update meetings, and any issues raised through the support portal were monitored and discussed in detail.
LTS support allows the integration team to be able to concentrate on their project responsibilities rather than support issues. The interface rationalisation project has been a key enabler of the Trust’s IT strategy. A benefit of the ESB architecture is that applications can be introduced or replaced with minimal impact on other Trust applications.
A Trust representative explained: “Integrating data in an Acute hospital setting is always risky. Inaccuracies or delays can have a direct impact on patient care and safety. Traditional point-to-point interfaces are inflexible, expensive and risky to change. But an ESB architecture provides greater control, clearer traceability of data and the ability to flexibly change applications with less risk and cost.”
“Integrella has harnessed its expertise in complex ESB projects to provide us with a scalable, manageable and flexible blueprint that will deliver measurable benefits to the Trust. This has been collaboration and partnership working at its best. They provided a roadmap and methodology to push forward the interface rationalisation project across all Trust systems. Inherently flexible, this approach will enable us to strategically support the future however NPfIT and the healthcare economy evolve.”
Integrella is a specialist IT services company with extensive experience across UK sectors. Our services include consulting, development, delivery, support and resourcing. We deliver our solutions by partnering with top vendors in the industry.
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