Medical data integration using HL7 standards for patient's early identification

PLoS One. 2021 Dec 31;16(12):e0262067. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0262067. eCollection 2021.


Integration between information systems is critical, especially in the healthcare domain, since interoperability requirements are related to patients' data confidentiality, safety, and satisfaction. The goal of this study is to propose a solution based on the integration between queue management solution (QMS) and the electronic medical records (EMR), using Health Level Seven (HL7) protocols and Extensible Markup Language (XML). The proposed solution facilitates the patient's self-check-in within a healthcare organization in UAE. The solution aims to help in minimizing the waiting times within the outpatient department through early identification of patients who hold the Emirates national ID cards, i.e., whether an Emirati or expatriates. The integration components, solution design, and the custom-designed XML and HL7 messages were clarified in this paper. In addition, the study includes a simulation experiment through control and intervention weeks with 517 valid appointments. The experiment goal was to evaluate the patient's total journey and each related clinical stage by comparing the "routine-based identification" with the "patient's self-check-in" processes in case of booked appointments. As a key finding, the proposed solution is efficient and could reduce the "patient's journey time" by more than 14 minutes and "time to identify" patients by 10 minutes. There was also a significant drop in the waiting time to triage and the time to finish the triage process. In conclusion, the proposed solution is considered innovative and can provide a positive added value for the patient's whole journey.

MeSH terms

  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Computer Security
  • Confidentiality
  • Data Collection*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Health Level Seven*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics / methods*
  • Outpatients*
  • Patient Safety
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Programming Languages
  • Risk Assessment
  • Software
  • Systems Integration*
  • Triage
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Workflow

Grant support

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.