Interoperability has become a buzzword within hospital facilities. But what does it mean for EVS Teams? Below, we discuss how interoperability between software applications can streamline bed turnover communications between clinical and EVS teams, and reduce the amount of time they spend relaying information.

The Problem

You’ve prob­a­bly expe­ri­enced this as a patient at some point: you go to the doc­tor and fill out sev­er­al pages of forms with your per­son­al infor­ma­tion and med­ical his­to­ry. And then on the next vis­it, you have to fill out the same infor­ma­tion all over again…and again…and again.

Hos­pi­tal employ­ees can often face the same frus­tra­tion every day when shar­ing infor­ma­tion between depart­ments. Hos­pi­tal facil­i­ties often use one soft­ware appli­ca­tion for their admis­sion-dis­charge-trans­fer (ADT) or EHR sys­tem, and have a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent sys­tem for the Envi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices Department—even if it’s just a spread­sheet— to track what needs to be cleaned and when. Every time a patient is dis­charged or trans­ferred in the ADT sys­tem, a mem­ber of the EVS team is noti­fied either dig­i­tal­ly or man­u­al­ly, after which they clean the room and noti­fy bed man­age­ment that it is com­plete. Then either the EVS team has to enter this same infor­ma­tion into their own software—or track dis­charge cleans only in the ADT sys­tem and all oth­er EVS tasks in the EVS soft­ware, which makes report­ing dif­fi­cult and time-con­sum­ing.

This sce­nario plays out over and over as patient rooms are turned over. That’s count­less hours spent enter­ing and reen­ter­ing the same infor­ma­tion.

The Solution

It doesn’t have to be this way. Automat­ing infor­ma­tion flow between appli­ca­tions reduces the delay of infor­ma­tion, and relieves work­ers of hav­ing to enter the same infor­ma­tion over and over.

This is what inter­op­er­abil­i­ty means: the abil­i­ty for mul­ti­ple appli­ca­tions to work togeth­er to share infor­ma­tion safe­ly and secure­ly, with­out the need for man­u­al reen­try in each sep­a­rate appli­ca­tion.

In order to achieve inter­op­er­abil­i­ty, how­ev­er, these appli­ca­tions have to use the same frame­work for shar­ing infor­ma­tion. The real­i­ty is, hos­pi­tals use hun­dreds of soft­ware appli­ca­tions: from billing, to labs, to social work, to pharmacy––and each of them have dif­fer­ent stan­dards for how they store infor­ma­tion. The devel­op­ers of two dif­fer­ent soft­ware pro­grams can work togeth­er to estab­lish an inter­face with each oth­er that pro­vides a flow of infor­ma­tion. But, build­ing a unique inter­face between each soft­ware appli­ca­tion a hos­pi­tal uses is unre­al­is­tic. Instead, hos­pi­tal soft­ware pro­grams need glob­al stan­dards for relay­ing infor­ma­tion.

This is where HL7 comes in. A non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion called Health Lev­el Sev­en Inter­na­tion­al (HL7) was estab­lished in 1987 to cre­ate stan­dards for “the exchange, inte­gra­tion, shar­ing, and retrieval of elec­tron­ic health infor­ma­tion that sup­ports clin­i­cal prac­tice and the man­age­ment, deliv­ery, and eval­u­a­tion of health ser­vices.

Using these stan­dards, soft­ware devel­op­ers can cre­ate one clear method for shar­ing data with any oth­er soft­ware: mak­ing it pos­si­ble for dif­fer­ent depart­ments to share infor­ma­tion seam­less­ly while main­tain­ing the appli­ca­tions that work best for each depart­ment.

Working Together—Smart Facility Software is HL7 Compliant

At its core, Smart Facil­i­ty Soft­ware is about opti­miz­ing the work­flow of EVS Depart­ments. That’s why our flag­ship prod­ucts are all named with opti­miza­tion in mind. Our soft­ware cov­ers more bases in EVS Man­age­ment than any oth­er, which is why it is such a crit­i­cal tool for so many EVS Teams across the coun­try

But oth­er depart­ments rely on appli­ca­tions that are equal­ly as crit­i­cal to their oper­a­tions. To avoid each depart­ment doing dou­ble data entry duty, we facil­i­tate the seam­less exchange of that infor­ma­tion with our HL7 Inter­face, which allows our soft­ware to receive and send mes­sages direct­ly to and from your hospital’s EHR appli­ca­tion. This exchange reduces the delay of infor­ma­tion, which in turn great­ly reduces bed turnover time, allow­ing more patients to be served.

One of our mot­tos at Smart Facil­i­ty Soft­ware is: every­thing works bet­ter when it works togeth­er.

We believe soft­ware appli­ca­tions should work togeth­er to sup­port health facil­i­ties’ needs. No one soft­ware can cov­er an entire hospital’s needs. Instead, every depart­ment and team should be able to use the soft­ware that works best for them. The abil­i­ty to exchange infor­ma­tion between these soft­ware appli­ca­tions is cru­cial to opti­miz­ing team mem­bers’ time, so they can focus on what mat­ters: car­ing for patients, whether that be through clean­ing or clin­i­cal care.

How it Works

Smart Facil­i­ty Soft­ware does not ever han­dle or store HIPAA infor­ma­tion. In the inter­est of keep­ing patient infor­ma­tion secure, we use a 3rd-Par­ty HL7 Inter­face, which receives the HL7 data from your EHR. It then strips out HIPAA data before send­ing only the nec­es­sary facil­i­ty data to our appli­ca­tion. Hos­pi­tal admin­is­tra­tors can feel secure, know­ing that patient data nev­er touch­es our servers.

Here’s how the flow of infor­ma­tion works:

When a patient is dis­charged or trans­ferred in a facility’s ADT sys­tem, a cor­re­spond­ing HL7 mes­sage is sent to our HL7 Inter­face. Our soft­ware receives only the room infor­ma­tion and the asso­ci­at­ed action (i.e. dis­charge or trans­fer), which auto­mat­i­cal­ly trig­gers a room clean task in our ES Opti­miz­er soft­ware. This infor­ma­tion is deliv­ered auto­mat­i­cal­ly and instant­ly, remov­ing the need for man­u­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion or data reen­try.

Our Task Assign­ment Deci­sion Engine then dis­trib­utes this task auto­mat­i­cal­ly to a mem­ber of your EVS team. Based on the rules you have set up in your facility’s soft­ware, the Deci­sion Engine will find the best EVS Tech­ni­cian avail­able, and that per­son will receive a task alert on their mobile device, along with all the infor­ma­tion they need to com­plete that task. 

When the tech­ni­cian is done clean­ing the room, they sim­ply mark the task as com­plete, and ES Opti­miz­er sends a mes­sage back to the HL7 Inter­face that the room is clean and ready for the next patient: sav­ing you time, and open­ing up a bed for anoth­er patient much soon­er. 

Our goal is always to save EVS Teams more time so they can serve more patients. Embrac­ing inter­op­er­abil­i­ty in our EVS soft­ware cuts down the time staff spend enter­ing and relay­ing infor­ma­tion, increas­ing the bed turnover rate.

Ready to learn more about what our software can do for your EVS team?

Sched­ule a demo with us today. If you are already an ES Opti­miz­er client and have ques­tions about inter­op­er­abil­i­ty, call us any­time at 800–260-8665, ext. 8 or email