First Steps: Building a Simple Interface

Defining the Requirements

In Part One of this tutorial, we will create a new interface by building our first channel. We will also show you one of the most common integration tasks: How to map incoming HL7 message data.

In Part Two we will show you how to run your channel in a production environment.


Before we dive in, we first need to define our goal. For this tutorial, let’s pretend that we are creating a custom interface for a new client. This client has provided us with their rough notes, so our first step will be to translate this information into tangible requirements.
Here is what the customer emailed us:

“We have a stream of incoming HL7 messages that we need to transform and then reroute to our new system. This new system only tracks patients’ demographic information, so everything else can be stripped out. The outgoing messages should have the sending fields set to ‘Administration’ and ‘First Steps’ in the MSH segment. Oh, and the sending system doesn’t use the right HL7 code for stuff like gender, so we’ll need that changed.”

We translated this request into the following list of specific requirements:

  1. We need to create a channel that can receive HL7 messages (LLP), process their contents, then send the results out to another system (LLP).
  2. We only need to deliver the PID segment information for each patient.
  3. We need to set the MSH ‘Sending Application’ field to “First Steps”.
  4. We need to set the MSH ‘Sending Facility’ field to “Administration”.
  5. We need to use HL7 standard codes (“F”, “M” and “U”) for the ‘Sex’ field.

As you will soon see, these requirements are quick and easy to meet using Iguana!

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