Mirth Connect – Tips and Tricks

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Two weeks ago, I introduced the Mirth Connect interface engine and shared its impact on one of my client engagements at Galen Healthcare Solutions. Through that experience I was constantly learning new ways to make Mirth safer, faster, and easier to use. After almost six months of development work, I wanted to share some tips on how you can optimize Mirth Connect.

  • Add channel metadata to troubleshoot faster: You may already be storing useful information about incoming messages in channel variables, such as the MRN of a patient, an identifier for a hospital, or the HTTP response code of a message you are POSTing via Mirth™. By adding these channel variables to the metadata of a channel, you can view the values for these variables on the message log screen and also speed up your searches when using the Advanced search filter and specifying the metadata you have defined.

    In the message log screen for your channel you can see your new metadata, adding important information to your message log. Use the Advanced search option with metadata specified to experience faster search results.
    In the message log screen for your channel you can see your new metadata, adding important information to your message log. Use the Advanced search option with metadata specified to experience faster search results.

  • Don’t catch errors gracefully: You don’t often hear this, but in your Mirth™ JavaScript code, you may not want to catch errors gracefully. If you wrap your code in try/catch blocks but do not throw the error, Mirth™ will let the message continue processing and anything could happen with a broken message downstream. Throw your errors to let the message fail.

    Wrap your JavaScript code in try/catch blocks to capture errors and make sure to throw the error so that the message gets set to ERROR and does not continue being processed.
    Wrap your JavaScript code in try/catch blocks to capture errors and make sure to throw the error so that the message gets set to ERROR and does not continue being processed.

  • View the rest of my tips and tricks on Galen Healthcare Solution’s blog

Connecting Healthcare Systems Securely and Efficiently

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How would you securely and efficiently transport millions of records of patient health information between two disparate systems? How would you manage such an automated process that could transform the data to fit into each system’s database architecture, all the while being alerted to any errors as they occur in real-time?

In one of my largest client engagements as a technical consultant since joining Galen Healthcare Solutions last summer, I’ve been tasked with building a solution to these questions. The goal was to achieve interoperability between a patient portal and a popular electronic medical record system and the key was to find the right kind of interface engine. We ultimately decided to put to use Mirth Connect.

On Galen’s blog, I’ve written about my initial thoughts on Mirth Connect:

One year ago an organization approached us with the need to integrate their patient portal solution into a popular EMR. Connecting hundreds of practices and millions of patients through their portal required a special kind of interface engine. At the core, we needed something that could transport data quickly, reliably, and securely, but we also needed one at an attractive price point that offered a variety of data transformation features.

With dozens of interface engines available on the market, we ultimately chose one out of Costa Mesa, California: Mirth™ Connect. A year later, they have hundreds of thousands of secure patient-provider messages, CCDs, and lab results flowing through this interface engine on a monthly basis. You may never have heard of it before, but after our experience with Mirth™ Connect, we think you should. Read more…

2014 Northeastern University Compass Awards

Attend.com CEO Greg Skloot presenting me with the Northeastern Compass Award

Attend.com CEO Greg Skloot presenting me with the Northeastern Compass Award

On March 25, 2014 I was honored to receive the Northeastern Compass Award, presented by the Office of Alumni Relations. This award is given to one senior from each of Northeastern’s eight colleges that has demonstrated leadership, volunteerism, academic integrity, and a commitment to Northeastern. The values that this award represent are ones that I hope to continue to uphold, in particular my dedication to my alma mater. Attending Northeastern has had a profound impact on my life and I plan to stay involved as an alumnus in order to help the growth and development of the University and its students.

I’d like to thank Attend.com CEO and NU-grad Greg Skloot for presenting me with the award and College of Computer and Information Science co-op advisor Aileen for nominating me.

Joining Galen Healthcare Solutions

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Following graduation from Northeastern University this May, I will be joining Galen Healthcare Solutions as an Associate Technical Consultant. Galen is a healthcare IT company dedicated to finding and building technology solutions for physician groups nationwide. Their services include implementing electronic health records (EHR) and patient monitoring. The team at Galen has been involved in hundreds of successful EHR implementations and is the only Allscripts Platinum Plus partner for Enterprise EHR.

At Galen, I will be pursuing my passion for healthcare technology. I will be working with different healthcare providers across the country, developing custom software applications or implementing effective existing options. By utilizing new and innovative technologies through my work at Galen I hope to improve the state of healthcare in the United States. This is a goal that is at the heart of what motivates Galen Healthcare Solutions.

Galen Healthcare Solutions was named as one of Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in 2013.

If you work in a healthcare setting and are interested in exploring what services we can offer you, please send me an email at natebessa[@]gmail[.]com.

Project Plus One’s New Years Letter

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As we begin this new year, we at Project Plus One look back over the last three years since our founding and know that we could not have reached this point today without you. We want to take this opportunity today to thank you for your continual support of our organization and the Bairo Pite Hospital in Timor-Leste. Together, we are all dedicated to strengthening a healthcare system that cares for hundreds of patients a day who face extreme hardship and social inequality.

We here at Project Plus One know that such a mission requires the kind of commitment that is both long lasting and unwavering. Equally as important, it requires a strong community. Thank you for joining with us these past years. Together we look forward to the next chapter of our work this year as we begin the implementation of our tuberculosis treatment initiative. We are calling this the Doorstep Treatment Support program and together with our partners, the Millennium Campus Network, the British Medical Society, and the Bairo Pite Hospital, we are aiming to bring tuberculosis medication and disease education to over 125 patient households across Timor-Leste a month for several years to come. You can learn more about this program through our web site here.

Happy New Year,
Paul, Nate & the rest of the Project Plus One team

Broad Institute Launches Next Decade With New $100M gift

Broad Institute President Eric Lander, Eli and Edythe Broad of the Broad Foundations, Broad Institute Board of Directors Vice-Chair Diana Walsh, Harvard University President Drew Faust, MIT President Rafael Reif, and Caltech President emeritus David Baltimore celebrating the Broad Family's latest 100 million dollar donation.

Broad Institute President Eric Lander, Eli and Edythe Broad of the Broad Foundations, Broad Institute Board of Directors Vice-Chair Diana Walsh, Harvard University President Drew Faust, MIT President Rafael Reif, and Caltech President emeritus David Baltimore celebrating the Broad Family’s latest 100 million dollar donation.

At the forefront of biomedical research and carrying the momentum onward from the Human Genome Project is the Broad Institute. It’s been a true honor working here for my final co-op alongside over two thousand brilliant researchers. We are all relentlessly searching for the truths and cures to the world’s most devastating diseases and biological problems. Today, following another incredibly generous gift from Eli and Edythe Broad, the Institute cements itself for another decade of discovery.

Read more about Eli and Edythe Broad’s gift here: http://www.broadinstitute.org/news/5346

An Important Lesson Learned Through Timor-Leste

Everyday Ambassador

Being a part of Project Plus One has had an impact on my life like almost nothing else. Our work supporting health care systems in Timor-Leste has brought together incredible people across Timor-Leste and the United States to take on some really challenging work. Since 2011, we’ve worked on various efforts, had our ups and downs as an organization, and will soon be announcing our largest, most important project yet (stay tuned).

As we approach three years since our founding, I was invited back in August by EverydayAmbassador.org to share the most valuable lesson I’ve learned through Project Plus One. With the Millennium Campus Conference happening this weekend at Northeastern University, I’d like to reshare that story now. This is a story about the how we’ve learned just how important the human connection is in our sector.

Project Plus One's Paul Sukijthamapan

To the young and inspired activist, ready to start a non-profit, build a hospital, or save a life, I want to ask you to pause for a minute. This is a critical pause that most of us in the social sector at first overlook, myself included.

For two years, I have helped run a 501(c)(3) organization called Project Plus One (PP1). I was aware of unreasonable hardship around the world and had always wanted to dedicate my time to reducing burdens of disease and poverty in the world. In 2011, together with a great team of friends, I learned about the Southeast Asian nation Timor-Leste, and the challenges their healthcare system faces.

Timor-Leste is a small island country off the coast of the Australia that gained its independence from Indonesia in 1999. The nation’s young healthcare infrastructure often lacks the structure and resources to fully care for the sick. Oftentimes prematurely born babies do not have incubators to protect them or children lack access to vital vaccines easily available here in the U.S. Despite these difficulties, local nurses and international doctors still treat patients for a variety of diseases, conditions, and traumas – up to 500 per day at some hospitals.

You can imagine how much my team and I wanted to make a difference. In the summer of 2011, two of our members touched down in Timor-Leste, fully energized, with the rest of us back in the United States feeling gung-ho and ready to gather for them whatever money or tools they needed to start making an impact.

Paul and Donny began working at the Bairo Pite Hospital with great enthusiasm, but their energies dampened as they grew overwhelmed by the nature of the cases, their lack of formal education to administer advanced care, and the general unknown. “I have no clue about the people, the language, the culture, or the system of the Hospital” Paul told me via e-mail. “How am I supposed to do this?”

Read the conclusion at Everyday Ambassador.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Hackathon

I was lucky to join a distinguished team of physicians, nurses, engineers, behavioral scientists, and businesswomen

I was lucky to join a distinguished team of physicians, nurses, engineers, behavioral scientists, and businesswomen

Last weekend I participated in the first ever Brigham and Women’s Hospital/MIT H@cking Medicine Hackathon. Alongside an incredible team, most of whom I had just met, I helped design a mobile application that one day could allow hospital patients to submit safety concerns to hopsital staff in real-time. Supported by powerful back-end analytics and a well-thought-out deployment plan, this tool could improve in-patient safety and help hospitals prevent future problems from reoccurring. The hospital system has always been lacking a tool that gives patients a voice and we believe that our solution could fill that gap. We presented our ideas to an esteemed panel of venture capitalists, physicians, business CEOs, and hospital administrators and our team was given the Best Teamwork award. I look forward to participating in future hackathons like these where so many people put all their energy into designing solutions to critical problems.

Cool News: NASA’s Voyager Exits the Solar System

The New York Times has posted a new article about one of the greatest objects man has ever built: the Voyager 1.

Launched in 1977 with far less computing power than a modern iPhone, the NASA spacecraft has traveled billions of miles across space, showing us how immense the universe is and putting our small Earth into perspective. Recently, Voyager 1 has exited the solar system and entered into new, barely-understood interstellar space. Reading Carl Sagan’s book, The Pale Blue Dot, I’ve learned a lot about the trusted Voyager and am inspired by its impact on humanity.

The same month (August 2012) that happened, NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on the surface Mars, taking full-HD, color images of the planet’s craters, mountains, and other surroundings.

NASA inspires.