One of the most fundamental challenges that healthcare systems face today is system integration. With EHR, EMR, CPOE and other systems often speaking different languages, sharing important data and information can become incredibly difficult, and custom integrations between specific systems is labour-intensive, costly and only provides a temporary solution to a deeper, underlying problem.
We recently sat down with Alfred Wong, Vice-President of Engineering here at Think Research, to discuss a vision for connecting the various players in our healthcare system. The vision’s name? Hubly.
Functioning as the ‘router’ or ‘connective hub’ for healthcare systems, with Hubly, referral provider systems no longer need to integrate directly with referral provider receivers. Each system needs only to integrate with Hubly, which takes a system’s unique, proprietary messages and translates those into languages understood across an infinite number of systems:
The preferred language spoken through that integration is FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), but as a translation engine, anything is possible, which means that Hubly can translate to any other standard or proprietary language. The end result in a network of systems connected and communicating via Hubly.
We were curious about some of Hubly’s key features, and Alfred was happy to explain:
- The platform includes a healthcare service provider directory, including allied professionals such as Registered Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, etc
- As the network grows, different services and pathways can also be added on
- The team is currently working on FHIR 4.0, to be released in December
Ultimately, what makes Hubly most exciting is the potential it holds in solving a lingering, deep-rooted industry issue. While the Hubly concept isn’t necessarily unique, the application of it to healthcare certainly is, and especially at this scale.
When we asked Alfred about what has made this project especially rewarding, he shared how meaningful it has been to watch the solution (and his team) grow and evolve. In a short period of time, his team has quickly become ‘experts’, and it’s been very satisfying to prove that this solution can be scaled across jurisdictions and that it can integrate with more and more systems.
In terms of next steps, once the tool has moved into our production environment, the Think Research team will be exploring other pathways and systems (hip & knee as well as mental health are two examples). One upcoming feature is a ‘mapping tool’ service which will allow for fast integrations at a very large scale.
What arguably makes Hubly most exciting is that it truly brings to life Think Research’s mission and raison d’etre: organizing the world’s health knowledge so that everyone gets the best care. That systemic data organization is not possible if healthcare systems cannot ‘speak’ to each other, so Hubly is, in essence, a tool to enable deep and profound change in our healthcare system.