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HL7 Interface Engine Open Source Alternative

The Cost of Ownership Revelation


For the best value in an HL7 Interface Engine, total cost of ownership needs to be considered. While some decision-makers focus primarily on acquisition costs, those costs typically represent a small fraction of total costs. That stands true even if license costs are free or free with limitations. Other factors need to be evaluated – how easy is the HL7 interface engine to use and learn, are there productivity advantages, what are the training costs, are there any hidden costs?

At PilotFish we often get asked “How does your software compare to the leading Open Source HL7 integration engine?” The answer is not as simple as just comparing license fees. With open-source software, often the most usable products in reality are commercialized distributions that can cost as much or more to acquire as competitor solutions. In fact, our enterprise license fee is the same as the leading HL7 open source interface engine’s Commercial Enterprise license! That aside, an analysis reveals other substantial differences and advantages that need to be considered in a Total Cost of Ownership analysis.

How Commercially Built-Out is the Product?

For over 15 years at PilotFish our focus has been exclusively on integration and developing tools that support that capability. As a commercial organization we have spared no expense to make our product the easiest to use, fastest to learn and the quickest for configuring interfaces. When you compare the two products side by side, you’ll find our offering is more robust and fully developed. It is not a collection of tools and widgets. It features a structured graphical 7 stage Automated Interface Assembly Line that provides a consistent means for configuring an interface no matter how complex or simple. Our solution:

  • Requires no scripting or programming
  • Offers an Automated Interface Assembly Line with 7 configurable stages to create even the most complex interfaces
  • Configuration screens provide drop down menus for anything from connectivity and transport protocols (over 25) to processors (over 75)
  • Offers a graphical drag & drop data mapper that makes complex mappings look simple compared to the competitor’s line drawing tool which is too simplistic except for supporting interfaces of limited complexity
  • Allows for any mapping you can do programmatically in other tools to be done via drag & drop
  • Allows you to work in the XSLT code view, in real time, and switch back and forth between the graphical and code view
  • Speeds onboarding new customers by being able to copy and easily tweak existing components or interfaces for reuse

What are the Costs in Productivity and IT Staffing?

In the world of healthcare integration, a key driver of developer and non-technical staff productivity revolves around the degree of automation provided and the extent to which interfaces generated are capable of being reused.

Your hidden costs can be determined by considering how much more productive your team will be. How will using an Automated Interface Assembly Line with a structured approach that ensures each and every interface is configured the same way save you in the long run, in time and money? Compare those gains to the not-so-hidden costs of the competitor’s set of tools that leaves the structure of the interface up to the developer. The Assembly Line process provides ease of maintenance and facilitates collaboration between teams. The graphical Integrated Development Environment (IDE) also allows you to leverage non-technical resources for 80-90% of interfacing work, freeing up scarce higher paid developers which the competitor requires.

What Are the Differences in Training Costs?

PilotFish has developed a streamlined modular training program. This modular approach allows us to customize and provide focused training to meet a client’s specific integration requirements. It also enables us to create a customized organization-specific online Resource Center for clients with documentation and tutorials that can be utilized long after training is over, as a refresher or for new trainees.

Hidden costs can be found in training fees. PilotFish training fees are just a fraction of what the leading HL7 Open Source interface engine charges. Our onsite training program for 12 is less than 1/3 the cost!

PilotFish HL7 Interface Engine Leading Open Source Product
Group Size Up to 4 $4K per person
Location At Client Site Off Site
Session Type Private Public
# of Days 4 4
Cost $7,200* (for up to 4) $16,000 (for a group of 4)
PilotFish HL7 Interface Engine Leading Open Source Product
Group Size Up to 12 Up to 12
Location At Client Site Off Site
Session Type Private Private
# of Days 4 4
Cost $14,400* (for up to 12) $48,000 (for up to 12)

What Does the License Include?

Before you make a selection on an HL7 Interface Engine examine the fine print. Is annual maintenance included? Is there any product support? Do they provide free bug fixes? Is there any special hardware required to achieve good performance?

Hidden costs can also be found in what the free Open Source License DOES NOT INCLUDE. The competitor’s free Open Source License does not include a host of features that quickly diminish its value. These include: no LDAP Authentication or an Email Reader, no Advanced Alerting or a Role-Based Access Control Plugin. Nor is there an ASTM E1394 Data Type or ASTM E1381 Transmission Mode included with the free version. In addition, there is no Serial Connector, Advanced Clustering or a CDAPI Java Library, as well. Hidden costs also are the opportunity costs of an underperforming system!

Again, you may be surprised but, if your organization requires an Enterprise Commercial License the leading HL7 Interface Engine Open Source competitor charges the same license fee as PilotFish! PilotFish also offers special low cost restricted bundling licenses and a Value Added Reseller Program.

The Proof is in the Pudding, Schedule Your Bake-Off Today!

Open Source software does have a place and a value. In fact, PilotFish offers the only commercially supported healthcare interface engine solution that lets you make use of Open Source components with open APIs. We have utilized Open Source components in our software in order to provide a deep feature set and extraordinary value. We maintain it, we update it and make the process of taking advantage of it seamless for our customers. The difference is we offer a fully integrated platform where the whole is greater than its parts and we enable our customers to leverage the best of both worlds. Our software is all W3C compliant, too, so you avoid risk of vendor lock in as you do with other interface engines. Our offering is also platform, operating system and database agnostic, saving you additionally on other license fees.

In the end whatever HL7 Interface Engine you select, it must meet the needs of your specific use case. Bullet points and features on paper cannot determine real world performance or applicability. Over 15 years and by doing hundreds of implementations, PilotFish has developed and refined a methodology for the configuration, testing, and deployment of interfaces and process orchestrations. We have an unblemished track record of success.

Through Bake-Offs and Proof of Concepts (POCs) we have demonstrated the value of our integration engine solutions to future customers. We can often conduct a paid Proof of Concept (POC) in as little as 2-3 days. There we can prove out how well our solution will perform for your unique requirements. We’d welcome the opportunity to demonstrate how we can help save you money and deliver superior results.

Get started now. We invite you to contact us for a free analysis of your use case.

*HL7 is the registered trademark of Health Level Seven International.
*Food, lodging and transportation additional and billed at cost.

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