What is Data Integration?

Healthcare data integration

Clinical Data integration collects information from different healthcare sources into a single format. It uses components such as healthcare data sources and a master server and avoids unstructured data. The healthcare sector struggles with health data integration platforms and maintaining structured data. Structured vs. unstructured data can be understood by considering the who, what, when, where, and how of the data. Integrated health provides the best quality care services to the patients.

Need for EHR Integration in Healthcare

EHR Integration in Healthcare

Healthcare professionals work under tremendous pressure and are pressed with time. They deal with maintaining healthcare organizations, staff, and improved patient care. Administrative tasks and advanced paperwork become cumbersome for healthcare providers. Healthcare professionals struggle with unstructured data. That is why a healthcare automation solution is needed to bring efficiency to the managed care continuum. An integrated healthcare information system assigns patients to different primary care physicians and uses software-based health informatics. EHR integration allows patients to receive care from multiple healthcare data sources. Integrated health mainly seeks to address a patient’s multiple health concerns at one point source and provide the best care plan. Besides, there are several benefits of data integration in healthcare:

  • Electronic health records lower healthcare workers’ load. They also provide integrated patient care.
  • EHR integrated data is accessible and inputs from healthcare provider solutions are recorded.
  • EHR integrated care streamlines the workflow, reduces errors, and improves medical records management.
  • It recommends medication by gathering data and insights from many sources.
  • Integrated healthcare systems promote fast communication and improve interactions via electronic data exchange.
  • Data integration enhances patient engagement systems by reducing waiting times. Also, it allows them to access integrated healthcare online.
  • Since healthcare integration gathers inputs from different healthcare professionals, it provides quality care.
  • Healthcare integration supports collaboration between healthcare centers and stakeholders.
  • Integrated care management increases your profit and helps you stand out among competitors.

Features of Healthcare Integration System

Features of Healthcare Integration System

Focus on Patient Care: Healthcare integration systems prioritize patient care and meet all patient needs, ensuring healthcare organizations succeed. To improve patient satisfaction, it’s crucial to have in-depth knowledge about patient movement throughout the health and social care systems. Healthcare institutions must be ready to rethink and redesign internal processes. Healthcare systems integration makes it easier for patients to navigate the system, ensuring they receive the right care at the right moment. 

Information System: To get the best results, a healthcare-integrated system requires access to a world-class information system for effective outcomes. This system enables data management, patient outcome tracking, communication capacity improvement, and information flow. Electronic health records connect patients and physicians, enabling remote patient monitoring, clinical data management, and scheduling. This system also enhances communication capacity.

Performance Management: Healthcare-integrated systems prioritize performance management, monitoring patient outcomes, analyzing performance issues, and resolving them to improve services and enhance the quality of care. Continuous monitoring is crucial for cost-effectiveness. Some systems also have reward-based systems that provide incentives for achieving organizational goals, enhancing efficiency, and promoting quality of care. These procedures ensure efficient processes and improved services.

Finance Management: Healthcare institutions mostly prefer integrated healthcare systems due to their ability to reduce costs and improve profits, leading to better revenue cycle management. Effective healthcare systems ensure the proper allocation of funds to each department, ensuring that all resources are used sustainably to achieve the best possible outcomes every time.

Integration of physicians: Physician integration is crucial for the success and improvement of healthcare systems. It ensures that providers are integrated at every step, ensuring the effectiveness of integrated systems. This integration is observed to be vital for the overall quality of life in healthcare systems.Geographical Coverage: Geographical coverage is an important aspect of health systems integration so as to ensure maximum patient access to services and minimize duplication. This allows clients to access services from other providers within a specific geographic area. However, achieving an efficient integrated delivery system requires a minimum of one million clients, which is challenging in less populated areas and rural areas. Therefore, innovative approaches are needed to extend the benefits of integrated delivery systems in healthcare to diverse settings.

Tools for Combating Healthcare Integration Challenges

Healthcare Integration Challenges

A data integration tool is utilized in the healthcare integration process on the data source that moves the data to the destination. These tools conduct mapping, transformation, and data cleansing. Choosing the tool that fits your medical service well might confuse you, but select what suits your needs best. Depending upon factors such as data sources, choose tools supporting better-integrated health care.

On-premise: These tools are excellent for integrating data from various local or on-premise data sources. They are installed in a private cloud or local network. These tools comprise optimized native connectors for batch loading from many familiar data sources. But, they require large capital investment in hardware and infrastructure. On-premise data sources may include larger or legacy systems in healthcare. Some common examples of these tools are IBM InfoSphere, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle Data Service Integrator.

Cloud-based: Many cloud-based solutions are integration platforms as a service (iPaaS). They integrate data from various sources into healthcare integration platforms. These services are designed to handle recent, web-based streaming data sources and standard databases. Some commonly used cloud-based tools include Alooma, Jitterbit, and Oracle Integration Cloud Service.

Open-source: They can be your best option if you plan to avoid using proprietary and expensive enterprise-integrated healthcare solutions. It is also suitable if you would like to have complete control of your data in-house. CloverETL, Karma, Middleware, and Pimcore are some common open-source data integration tools.

Proprietary: The key thing that sets these apart from open-source data tools is pricing. They are also often developed for specific business purposes. This is one of the most stable and reliable tools.

Top 5 Healthcare Integration Challenges

Healthcare integration is developed for serving patients better and providing quality care services. However, there are healthcare integration challenges you may need to address, of which here are the top 5-

1. EHR Interoperability Challenges:

New healthcare integration technology for integrating data pulls structured data into a data lake. Data compilation and integration need to follow standards set by HIPAA Compliance. Several healthcare organizations have adopted healthcare integration. This implies a diversity of data and data sizes. While implementing healthcare integration,  remember that big data challenges in healthcare include healthcare interoperability issues. Interoperability can leave you with data silos, and you do not want that. Lack of data standardization can lead to healthcare interoperability challenges. That is why it is essential to agree on a single format and convert data accordingly.

2. Health Data Privacy:

Health Data privacy

Privacy and compliance can become major concerns in healthcare integration. Some healthcare institutions understand that data should be protected. Data sharing can breach the security, and allow access from unwanted sources. Cloud computing in healthcare has been on the rise to avoid data silos and chaos. So, it requires strict governance to ensure security. Data governance provides a permit to database administrators. It gives access to specific data at particular durations. In doing so, you are also being HIPAA Compliant and allowing people to view and analyze the data.

3. HL7 Integration

HL7 interface is used to process the data in a format that can be interpreted. This integration procedure may create challenges for healthcare professionals and software vendors. Due to their schedules, doctors cannot work in collaboration with a software vendor. As a result, IT groups face healthcare integration challenges of overabundances. This implies that their associations with healthcare organizations may be held up for long periods. IT team may find it difficult to assemble the critical interfaces as per the HL7 standards. Moreover, if the HL7 integration semantics are poor, it can be distorted. Moving to a new EHR may cause you to lose some previous data, such as patient’s medical history.

4. Data Inconsistency

integrated healthcare system

While implanting an integrated healthcare software development system, data must be consistent. But, healthcare organizations may differ while choosing user applications. This can create inconsistency in the data, thereby affecting the data quality and integrated care delivery model.

 5. End-users

Patients, doctors, and nurses gain by using integrated data. It delivers integrated patient care and improves patient experience. Healthcare data is a significant resource, but raw data is difficult to interpret.

How to overcome EHR Integration Problems

You may be concerned about the data integration challenges associated with healthcare data integration companies. Let us tell you that there are ways to overcome these challenges.

EHR Integration Problems

Eliminate data silos: Silos can create complications, and it is best to avoid them. Siloed data cannot be easily integrated, and the issue may worsen if you have different types of data. One of the easiest ways is to agree on standardized data. This will make data compatible for integration and assist you in resolving healthcare integration challenges.

Solve HL7 healthcare integration challenges: You can use HL7 interface engines to solve HL7 integration issues with the application interface. PHI should be stored in a second database that will warn you of security risks. Software vendors and healthcare providers can also opt for health APIs. These allow data interchange across separate healthcare system integration platforms. It would also give you real-time access to patient records across providers and streamlined billing, thus being cost-effective.

New generation models: Design your integrated strategy with modern technologies such as cloud, and mobile integrated healthcare like mHealth and telehealth. It will improve the integrated care delivered. New-generation technologies and healthcare analytics solutions allow users to incorporate valuable data.

Data enrichment: Clinical data analytics involving custom healthcare solutions like semantics enrich data. This would help you deal with healthcare integration challenges. Such an approach will support population health management and healthcare providers. If an image in EMR systems represents a broken arm, but it is stated differently in claims, semantics can help users identify the difference. Data enrichment stimulates data fluidity and merging and combats healthcare integration challenges.

Develop an integrated strategy: The integrated healthcare information system handles various types and sources of data. There is also high competition among healthcare organizations. Creating an agile infrastructure and clinical informatics solutions would address challenges. It will assist you in staying ahead of any competition. You can also adopt vertical integration in healthcare. It is a process where organizations at different levels of the supply chain work together. This differs from horizontal integration that occurs when entities in the same market combine. Vertical integration in healthcare will help you save healthcare costs. You should design an effective integrated strategy for overcoming healthcare integration challenges.

Best Practices for Healthcare Integration

Best Practices for Healthcare Integration

1. Technological Integration

Technological advancements such as EHR, telemedicine, mHealth, sensors, wearable technology, wireless communication, and real-time location services have significantly impacted the healthcare industry, with future-oriented innovations like drone delivery and pocket ultrasound devices emerging, which too cannot be ignored. 

2. Operational Model

Operational integration is the process of creating a standardized and organized approach to managing healthcare organizations. It involves reducing silos across departments, establishing operational and clinical standards across sites, fostering a collaborative culture, and balancing customer requirements, among other aspects. This approach helps in achieving a more efficient and effective healthcare integrated software.

3. Horizontal and Vertical Integration

Horizontal integration in healthcare involves multidisciplinary collaboration between health services, welfare services, and other providers, focusing on social sciences and cross-organizational planning. This fosters favorable health outcomes and improves care quality by ensuring all providers have access to the latest patient information. Vertical integration combines primary, community, and hospital care, connecting generalists and specialists while focusing on patient pathways to address medical conditions.

Selecting The Right Healthcare Data Integration Software

Selecting The Right Healthcare Data Integration Software

1. Scalability

When choosing healthcare integration software, it is very important to consider scalability. As a company expands, the volume of data and integrations will increase. It’s crucial to find a vendor that can expand your platform at a reasonable cost. Ideally, you want a collaborator who will help you succeed in the long run while not overspending on current healthcare application integrations.

2. Security  

When choosing healthcare integration services, consider factors such as security standards, industry certifications, comprehensive security policies, a track record of successful data protection, security features like access controls, encryption, and authentication, and the availability of support staff. Companies with a strong track record in these areas are more likely to provide reliable and efficient services. It’s also crucial to ensure the service provider has dedicated support staff to address any security-related issues. 

3. Flexibility 

When choosing healthcare integration services, ensure they offer a flexible interoperability option that meets your specific requirements. Avoid companies with tiered pricing or fixed API connections, as they may force you to buy more than you need. Additionally, ensure the connections are built around a fixed API to avoid delays in implementing crucial new healthcare interface use cases. 

4. Expertise  

Look for providers with successful projects, industry-specific strategies, and industry best practices. Ask about their patient care coordination, technology leveraging, and operational integration strategies. Additionally, check if the provider provides support and training resources to help clients implement and manage their integration projects. Ultimately, the right provider will have the necessary expertise to effectively manage and integrate healthcare data.

How Data Integration is Transforming Healthcare

Data integration is revolutionizing patient care by providing real-time access to patient information, enabling timely interventions in critical scenarios like the Covid-19 pandemic. This data is crucial for identifying at-risk populations, tracking virus spread, and planning effective vaccine distribution. It also provides a holistic understanding of a patient, including medical history, EHR records, lab results, and more, enabling practitioners to identify patterns, plan better diagnostic and preventative strategies, and deliver personalized care. It is now a necessity to focus on enhancing the patient experience, increasing engagement, and providing preventative care. This transformative phase of data integration is transforming the healthcare sector and transforming patient care.


Integrated healthcare systems aim at catering to the various needs of patients. Healthcare integration challenges may hamper the quality of your medical services. Although these may seem complicated, you can overcome the healthcare challenges you face. We will help you lower the costs, reduce errors, and give more time to your patients. Patients will experience enhanced engagement and communication with their healthcare providers. Before planning, strategies for healthcare integration challenges, identify your problems. Also, have a skilled IT team at hand to help you with any software complications that may arise. Healthcare integration challenges can be resolved with adequate strategy and resources.














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