Healthcare Interoperability Build vs. Buy: Maintaining Costs, Scalability, and Launch Time

The healthcare industry is one of the most advanced, dynamic industries in the contemporary professional landscape. With new medical advancements and emerging research in addition to technologies that make providing care a more seamless experience for practitioners and patients alike, there’s no limit to where the healthcare industry can go in terms of advancing technology. However, many Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendors are struggling to exchange data due to technology trends like cloud computing, Software as a Service (SaaS), and Application Programming Interfaces (API).  These trends are changing healthcare technology delivery and protected health data exchange.  

Traditionally, healthcare entities like hospitals, health systems, and healthcare technology vendors have built and managed interoperability capabilities in house. However, these technology trends are forcing the healthcare industry to add new interoperability functionality quickly while maintaining the old as well. Now, these entities must decide if they should continue to build their healthcare integration platform or buy these services. At Iron Bridge, we know what it takes to integrate and align with the latest technology trends, which is why we’re here to break down the benefits of build vs. buy models.

What is Healthcare Integration and Interoperability?

How Healthcare Integration Works and Improves Workflow

Healthcare Integration Doctor Patient

Healthcare integration and interoperability are changing the way patient care is delivered on a number of levels within the healthcare industry. Healthcare interoperability can increase productivity and reduce costs and errors by sharing critical health data between hospitals, payers, labs, vendors, and public health registries. Not only does this enhance the lives of medical professionals and employees within a healthcare system greatly, but it helps improve the patient experience. Healthcare interoperability is crucial to enabling smooth communication between providers, patients, and families. Leading to effective diagnosis, faster patient throughput, and an enhanced in-office visit, healthcare interoperability is improving the service aspect of the healthcare industry, allowing hospitals to become more competitive in providing a positive patient experience.

Is Building a Healthcare Interoperability System Worth It?

Medical digital records

While it’s clear that healthcare integration and interoperability can significantly improve the lives of nearly everyone in the healthcare industry, health systems, hospitals, EHR vendors, and laboratories large and small struggle to keep up with the increasing demand to integrate and exchange data. Healthcare entities must decide if they can continue to build integration capabilities in house or buy these capabilities from a managed service provider. There are a number of considerations that are made within the ‘build it yourself’ model, including the following four main factors:

  • Cost: Time and expertise are money. The costs associated with building the software and infrastructure to enable healthcare interoperability internally can be more than  $60,000 in the first year (and $54,000 each subsequent year), not including employee HL7 and FHIR training.
  • Expertise: The minds that are capable of implementing such a system don’t come cheap. Labor in this field is in low supply and high demand, and integration costs are nothing short of pricey. From a human resources standpoint, this is looking like a $155,000 yearly cost across all the required human resources.
  • Scalability: Once one hospital within your network uses healthcare integration to exchange data, you’ll indefinitely want to scale. Vendors change from site to site which requires redesigning, more resources, and commercial monitoring to ensure a 24/7 uptime across your network.

Time to Market: Building healthcare integrations can be time-consuming and can shift your organization’s focus from innovating to integrating.

IronBridge Build V Buy by Ironbridge
The figures used in this chart are for demonstration purposes only. Please contact Iron Bridge for your healthcare solution.

Choosing Iron Bridge for Transparency and Cost Efficiency

You Want Healthcare Integration Without the Sticker Shock? Look No Further.

Medical Professionals

While many healthcare entities aren’t sure that building healthcare integration and interoperability is worth the price, there is another option. Iron Bridge - a leading healthcare interoperability company - serves more than 6,000 providers across the United States and is integrated with more than 250 EHRs, presenting you with an additional option: buying your healthcare integration capabilities.

Iron Bridge’s Nuvola Hub - the healthcare integration platform as a service (HiPaaS) with the industry’s first transparent pricing model - takes the innovation and implementation costs out of the equation. Rather than paying nearly $300,000 for your first year and $200,000 afterward, Nuvola Hub provides you with a reliable interoperability platform at a fraction of the cost. With a first-year cost less than 3% of the build-your-own model, Iron Bridge makes healthcare interoperability accessible for every hospital system in the United States.

Additionally, Nuvola Hub offers ongoing 24/7 support and monitoring, auto-scaling capabilities, and seamless integration for a low monthly payment, making it the perfect alternative to building a costly infrastructure and paying the ongoing costs of maintaining it.

Nuvola Hub’s transparent, affordable pricing for healthcare integration platforms are available for hospital systems across the United States. Is it time you explore your interoperability options? Get in touch with the team at Iron Bridge today to get started and begin providing better care today.

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