ConnectR

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Overview

GE's ConnectR interface engine which facilitates the transfer of information to different healthcare systems via HL7. Many of the pages on the Galen wiki will refer to its use in relation to transferring information into and out of the Allscripts Enterprise EHR.

History with Allscripts

ConnectR was developed by IDX before IDX was acquired by GE in 2005. Allscripts purchased a division of IDX in 2001, called ChannelHealth. Along with the acquisition, Allscripts gained the rights to use ConnectR (and the IDX/GE Web Framework) effectively into perpetuity (as long as the two companies have common clients, though your organization does not need to be a client of both). The ConnectR interface engine is used as the standard interface engine by Allscripts to facilitate communication between other healthcare systems, such as Practice Management Systems, Radiology, Lab, Transcription, etc.

Versions

Most Allscripts client run either version 4.5 or 4.6 of ConnectR, specifically 4.5 build 133 and 4.6.2.267 (aka 4.6.2). 4.5 offers a Windows client, whose Desktop and Start Menu shortcut is IDXConnectR 4.0. This leads to some confusion of which version of ConnectR is being run - it's 4.5, despite the naming of the icon.

Version 4.5

  • Clients
    • Windows - The windows client is the primary method for accessing this version of ConnectR. It supports the Allscripts-developed CMS Bridge Tool.
    • Web - The web client is not used by many in 4.5. 4.5 was the first version in which a Web client was available and certain desirable features had not yet been ported from the Windows client.

Version 4.6.0

This release was not rolled out to many clients. One limitation was the inability to Bridge patient matching errors, which is was a show-stopper for most groups.

Version 4.6.2

  • Clients - 4.6.2 can only be accessed through the web client.
  • Bridge - Bridge is supported in 4.6.2. As of January 2009, Allscripts is actively developing Bridge, adding new features and fixing any issues found in the product.
  • Hot fixes - Update 15 is the latest hot fix from GE.

Upgrading from 4.5 to 4.6.2

This is a hot topic. 4.6.2 offers some features not found in 4.5, as well as some bug fixes. New issues have been found in 4.6.2, making it sometimes challenging to upgrade.

What's new in 4.6.2:

  • The Web Client is fully functional.
  • Script errors are now displayed in the Message Log and Error Worklist
  • Script errors are now fatal errors that prevent data from being sent, rather than being silently ignored
  • Bridge is supported in the web client
  • A number of bug fixes have been made since 4.5.133

Upgrade Path With careful planning and thorough testing, you can mitigate most issues that you may encounter in an upgrade. The areas to focus on include:

  • Have a test ConnectR environment. If your group does not have one, get one installed and move all of your test interfaces over.
  • Test all of your interfaces as thoroughly as possible.
    • Ideally, this means you will have all interfaces have the same volume of data, and types of data, flow through your test ConnectR environment.
    • At a minimum, this means you will have tested all interfaces, with a few dozen messages
    • What to check for:
      • Validate that there are no Application and Non-Application errors
      • Grid the source and target messages to ensure that they appear as they would in production
      • Validate that the data shows correctly in the receiving system. This is Allscripts for inbound messages (Registration, Scheduling, Results, Documents, etc) and your other systems for outbound messages (Charge, Order, Dictate, etc).
      • Manually test every Script used by an interface in your production ConnectR environment
      • Upgrade production on a Friday and test all weekend. Monitor the errors all weekend.

Resources

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