Top 10 reasons for EHRs to use middleware for connectivity

Feb. 1, 2017
Thanh Tran, CEO,

Middleware is software that is used to connect one or more different software applications. It has been simplified as glue or plumbing to pass data between applications. Middleware is being used to connect completely unrelated software into a single, user-friendly interface and to connect legacy and emerging technologies that have been developed using different designs, data models, or architectures. Much of the Internet has been connected using a middleware framework; however, as a software concept, it has existed for some time, especially in large, complex enterprise software applications such as those used in the financial and retail industries.

The other side of middleware is the development of mainframe systems where data and integration come from importing and exporting data in some standardized way. Distributed computing, supported by changes in data centers, information, and communication technologies, has lead to new platforms and the need for integration.

Middleware solves the problem of interoperability by building a platform to connect current EHR systems while allowing for a single path to add additional emerging healthcare technologies. It also supports development to access and display information in a unified manner so healthcare providers can obtain health data that is supportive of their workflow and without the need to switch between applications or understand how the data is brought together.

Middleware architecture has been shown to be the best technological solution for addressing the problem of EHR interoperability. The middleware platform facilitates the transparent, yet secure, access of patient health data directly from the various databases where it is stored. A server-based middleware framework supporting access to the various patient health data stores allows for a scalable, unified, and stand­ardized platform for applications to be developed upon. The middleware architectural design has been successfully used to link data from multiple databases, irrespective to the data-base platform or where the database
is located.

Here are 10 good reasons to consider middleware:

  1. Application developers can focus on healthcare apps
    Enables medical record app developers to focus on their healthcare solution by freeing them from dealing with a diverse, complex EHR infrastructure.
  2. Inspires the next generation of healthcare innovative solutions
    These solutions are inspired by expanding the market for the next generation of healthcare applications rather than being tied down to a stack approach, depending on the particular EHR vendor.
  3. Improves patient care outcomes
    Patients will receive better healthcare outcomes when application developers can inspire more applications. Patients also will benefit from the next generation of applications as they will address providers’ specific needs in diverse operational care environments.
  4. Saves healthcare IT dollars
    Focuses the healthcare IT budget on addressing providers’ needs instead of building and rebuilding the patient record infrastructure.
  5. Proven technology
    A proven technology used for decades in many industries such as financial, retail, manufacturing, and other markets.
  6. Easy integration
    Enables healthcare integration with diverse, deployed legacy systems, including EHR systems. It addresses EHR interoperability as part of overall integration challenges.
  7. Passive to active healthcare IT environment
    Turns passive healthcare IT environments into active ones to enhance communication and collaboration among care providers.
  8. Avoids data duplication
    Cost-efficient, simplified administration. It offers a better privacy protection solution than HIEs by addressing EHR interoperability while fulfilling the demand to support the patient care continuum in an operational care environment.
  9. Eliminates wastefulness
    Addressing healthcare IT integration is much more cost efficient than the “rip-and-replace” approach.
  10. Extends EHR usefulness
    Protects and extends healthcare IT investments in EHR and EMR systems.