NetDirector Exceeds Demanding Security Standards with SOC2 and HIPAA Certifications

TAMPA, Fla., March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — NetDirector, a cloud-based data exchange and integration platform, has recently completed work with A-LIGN to undergo rigorous and valuable security certifications. NetDirector was recently awarded attestations in compliance with HIPAA and SOC2 Type II standards, the leading security standards in Healthcare and Mortgage Banking, respectively.

The SOC 2, or Service Organization Controls 2, is an examination under AICPA standards designed for technology service companies to demonstrate controls around data security and processing integrity. The SOC 2 reports are intended to meet the needs of a broad range of users that need to understand internal controls at a service organization as it relates to security, availability, process integrity, confidentiality and privacy. The Type II report is a report on management’s description of a service organization’s system and the suitability of the design and operating effectiveness of controls.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, defines policies and procedures, as well as processes, which are required of companies that store, process, or handle electronic health information that is considered “protected” (ePHI). HIPAA compliance is increasingly valuable to both technology service providers and integrators like NetDirector, as well as providers, electronic health records systems, billing platforms, and others integrating and utilizing healthcare data.

Both the SOC 2 and the HIPAA audit were performed by Tampa-headquartered nationwide security and compliance solutions provider A-LIGN. A-LIGN specializes in helping businesses across a variety of industries navigate the complexities of specific audits and security assessments, and both the SOC 2 and HIPAA reports of A-LIGN’s findings can be made available to prospective or current customers.

“NetDirector displayed the necessary controls in their HIPAA and SOC 2 attestation reports,” said Scott Price of A-LIGN. “Their security and management teams were great to work with throughout the process. There is a strong attention to detail in the organization.”

In addition to the in-house attestations, the data centers utilized by NetDirector through Peak10 maintain the same security standards or higher in all aspects of their company. Many technology companies have recently been brought to light as claiming true “compliance” in their organization, when they really mean that their data center has gone through the rigorous examination. At NetDirector, the belief is in transparency and clear communication regarding security, including compliance audits at all ends of the process.

“I am very proud of our team for successfully completing these important 3rd party audits,” said Harry Beisswenger, NetDirector CEO. “Both the mortgage default servicing industry and the health data environment come with very unique security and compliance requirements, and these certifications and reports strengthen the trust that our clients place in us to safely integrate their platforms and transform their data.”

Company Bio:

NetDirector provides a secure cloud-based data and document exchange solution for the healthcare and mortgage banking industries to deliver seamless data integration between parties. NetDirector bridges gaps created by disparate systems & technologies by allowing companies at any location to share data & documents securely over a single internet connection with any other member of the ecosystem. Our approach allows trading partners to collaborate and exchange data in a seamless, bi-directional, real-time manner. NetDirector currently processes more than 8 million transactions per month.

Healthcare Data in 2017

IT executives in healthcare face an expanding array of challenges in 2017 as the industry takes initial steps away from transactional-based, fee-for-service models and toward reimbursements tied to measures of value and quality. The clock has started ticking on Medicare reform’s implementation, with provider performance data gathered this year providing the basis for physician payments in 2019.

“To succeed in the value-based environment, health systems need to invest heavily in technology,” reports the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

The following areas should see significant impact.

IT as a key enabler

Healthcare organizations are recognizing IT’s mission-critical role in ensuring continuous high availability of systems and support of operational commitments, according to the 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey. Fifty-two percent of healthcare CIOs expect their IT budget to increase over the next 12 months, compared to 45 percent across all industries. The boards of healthcare companies also place a higher priority than their counterparts in other industries on increasing operational efficiencies, improving business processes and delivering business intelligence/ analytics. Additionally, the report finds that “cloud and other collaborative digital technology enhancements have improved health IT access, scalability, reliability and sustainability.”

Interoperability essentials

Healthcare CIOs are enthusiastic about the transition to value-based models of care, but they admit it will be a tough task to actually implement population health management programs that can pull data from multiple organizations and analyze that information with a predictive component. Interoperability of data and technology will be an essential lever in making population health and wellness a reality. “Continuity-of-care documents, electronic health records (EHRs) and other types of data must all come together in an organized, orderly marriage,” observes Transcend Insights, Humana’s population health subsidiary. “A health information exchange for data and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) for application interfacing [will be] the easiest route forward.”

Interoperability also tops the list of EHR development projects slated for 2017, according to a Healthcare IT News survey of health technology executives. Specifically, respondents say top EHR projects will be geared toward improving interoperability, workflow and usability, as well as adding population health tools and migrating to the cloud. “EHRs were put in basically as dumb data communication systems without emphasis on exchange and workflow,” explains John Halamka, MD, CIO at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess health system. “But because of payment reform, we have incentives to do data exchange. Different things are bubbling to the top.”

Opportunity in digital health

Digital health tools such as health-related apps, activity trackers and smart watches have the potential to help consumers become more engaged in their own health. Unfortunately, that’s not happening yet. For instance, 75 percent of consumers who use mobile or Internet-connected health apps are willing to share the data they collect with their provider; however, only 32 percent say that type of exchange actually takes place, according to a digital health survey conducted by HealthMine. Additionally, 60 percent of digital health users say they have electronic health records, but only 22 percent use them to make medical decisions. HealthMine CEO Bryce Williams says, “Digital health is still crossing the chasm from lifestyle and fitness management to chronic disease and holistic healthcare management.” Williams looks for that gap to close during 2017 as health plan sponsors apply collected consumer health data to gain insights and manage populations toward improved health.

Tamper-proof technology

On December 12, Quest Diagnostics revealed that an unauthorized party obtained protected health information of approximately 34,000 individuals via an Internet application. Accessed data included names, dates of birth and lab results — but not Social Security numbers or credit card, insurance or other financial information. As such, it was a relatively mild intrusion measured against other data breaches during 2016. In comparison, a hacking of health insurer Anthem compromised tens of millions of patient records, all of which were stored unencrypted in a centralized database. In a New York Times op-ed, cybercrime expert Kathryn Haun and healthcare futurist Eric Topol call for a move away from health systems “storing and owning all our data.” They advocate for an encrypted data platform known as blockchain, which would “give patients digital wallets containing all their medical data, continually updated, that they can share at will.” The co-authors note that the private and academic sectors are working on the emerging technology.

Data in motion

Girish Pancha, CEO and founder of data flow management company StreamSets, views data as “the final frontier in the quest for continuous IT operations.” Pancha predicts 2017 will bring recognition of data management “as a living, breathing operation that must run reliably and automatically on a continuous basis” — on par with how IT oversees applications, networks and security. Organizations will need to analyze potential changes to their processes, tooling and structure to ensure the availability and accuracy of data in motion, he adds.

All told, it will be an eventful year with healthcare organizations planning for important challenges in their respective data and integration environments. NetDirector stands ready to assist with its proven cloud-based HealthData Exchange, which moves clinical records between providers and all trading partners in their ecosystem.

For more information, please contact us or request a free demo.

Healthcare Year in Review: The Data Perspective

As 2016 comes to a close, major developments in health information technology reveal continuing storylines for the year to come. Here’s a brief overview of progress made and ongoing opportunities for health information exchange to surmount pending challenges.

Value-based care

Medicare and commercial insurers are moving quickly toward valued-based payment models, leaving fee-for-service behind. Nonetheless, the implementation of supporting technology remains a work in progress. The 2016 HIMSS Cost Accounting Survey reveals that about half of healthcare provider organizations participate in some type of alternative payment model, but only 3 percent believe they are highly prepared to make the pay-for-value transition. “It will be critical that the industry reaches some level of consistency in terms of how providers should manage the exchange of clinical and financial information between all parties involved in an episode of care, regardless of whether they are part of the same healthcare delivery system,” explains Pam Jodock, HIMSS’ senior director of health business solutions.

Legislation

On December 13, President Obama signed into law the broad-reaching 21st Century Cures Act, which makes significant investments aimed at solving some of the nation’s biggest health challenges. Among its many varied provisions, the Cures Act seeks to improve health IT interoperability by promoting complete access, exchange and use of all electronically accessible health information for authorized use under applicable state or federal law. The legislation puts a priority  — and calls for a Government Accountability Office study — on patient-matching technology that would accurately identify patients for electronic exchange of health information among providers.

Cloud computing

The shared-resources, data-on-demand model known as cloud computing continues to evolve as a trusted healthcare technology core component “underpinning the continued development of electronic health records and big data analytics,” reports HIT Infrastructure. This aligns with increased use of software-as-a-service offerings in areas such as clinical data systems and technical support desks as organizations look to lower costs and improve overall operations, according to research firm Gartner. Cloud security and compliance concerns remain in play, however, especially in the handling of health data and protected health information.

Data sharing

Data is seemly everywhere these days, continually growing, with much of it available to be shared. Despite concerns about the privacy and security of health data, 77 percent of respondents to Rock Health’s 2016 Digital Health Consumer Adoption Report are interested in sharing their health information — especially to get better care from their doctor. Among those surveyed, 79 percent said they would divulge their health history, physical activity (76 percent) and genetic data (64 percent) with a physician. On the flip side, in regard to accessing health information, it matters most to those in poor health. Twenty-eight percent of respondents who self-rated their health status as poor or bad highly desired an electronic copy of their health records, while only 19 percent of those in good health were as interested.

Behavioral health and special care innovation

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects treatment spending on mental and substance use disorders will total $280 billion in 2020. Including individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and those who require long-term services and support because of chronic medical conditions or physical disabilities, more than 35 percent of U.S. annual healthcare expenditures flow toward care for groups that constitute less than 20 percent of the population. Efforts to understand population health risks and intervene with preventive care models that reduce costs and improve care have started to gain traction, reports CIO. In one such initiative, Quest Diagnostics is working with University of California San Francisco to tap a database of 20 billion lab test records, combined with a five-minute cognitive assessment, for early detection and treatment of dementia.

NetDirector’s cloud-based HealthData Exchange comes into play in many areas of the developments that have shaped health IT during 2016. The service not only facilitates EHR integration and streamlines clinical workflow and communications with the extended provider community, but also complements existing IT investments.

For more information, please contact us or request a free demo.

Transaction Spotlight: Fees and Costs Request

HealthCare Cloud Computing Before It Was Cool

Like its atmospheric modifier, cloud computing comes together in boundless shapes and sizes. Some say it’s a simple feat — accessing and storing data and programs over the Internet instead of on a hard drive — but a mind-boggling combination of data processing, synchronization, communication, and protection takes place beyond the individual user’s confines.

In any case, it’s big business, with public cloud companies projected to stake out an estimated $500 billion in market cap by 2020. “The depth and breadth of cloud progress is pretty shocking,” investor Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners told Forbes.

That’s a long way from the roots of the dot-com era, when Application Server Providers (ASPs) connected people via the Web to software hosted in offsite data centers, and thereby offered businesses a viable alternative to buying hardware and hiring people to manage it. Still, the drawbacks at the time — sluggish connections and sky-high ASP operations costs — kept traditionally late-adopter industries like healthcare mostly on the ground rather than in the cloud.

Healthcare’s ascent

As recently as 2014 only about 22 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed by HIMSS Analytics were planning to use cloud computing for back-office functions. In 2016, nearly 47 percent of respondents have cloud usage in their back-office plans. The same holds true for business continuity/ disaster recovery functions and health information exchange: the former rising from 31 percent in 2014 to 47 percent in 2016, and the latter from 20 to 41 percent.

“In 2014, the cloud was primarily seen as a model that could support HIE and data storage, whereas, in 2016, it is being leveraged for a full range of functions including patient empowerment,” according to the survey report.

Indeed, healthcare entities cite the following factors (in order of importance) in their move to the cloud:

  • Cost savings
  • More complete disaster recovery capabilities
  • More scalability for internal requirements
  • Speed of deployment
  • Improved user access to applications
  • Plans to scale information and virtual care to patients
  • Freeing up internal storage/compute cycles
  • Accommodation of mobile workforce
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Accessibility to compute cycles

Another way to say it is that core health IT components, such as electronic health record (EHR) systems, cannot be at risk for downtime with vital patient care considerations hanging in the balance. With technologies coalescing in the background, tens of thousands of EHR users across multiple vendor platforms now use the cloud daily with complete trust.

Additional “hot spot” cloud applications in healthcare continue to emerge in the areas of telemedicine, medical imaging, public health and patient self-management, hospital management, therapeutic interventions, and secondary use of data for analysis and clinical research.

In response, cloud service providers “need to ensure uptime and performance, deliver on compliance and service level agreements, and offer reliable technical support,” the HIMSS Analytics report states.

NetDirector, one of the originators of the cloud-based integration platform, has built its healthcare business by ensuring the movement of clinical records between providers, helping them achieve a safer and more efficient level of care. The company’s HealthData Exchange combines cloud-based technology with world-class security levels to enhance workflow — which, in turn, allows providers to focus on patient care.

Learn more about the further emergence of cloud-based healthcare data integration or request a free demo.

 

 

HIPAA Incidents Highlight Need for Adherent Technology Approach

It’s been a busy summer for the Department of Health and Human Services’ HIPAA-compliance body, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Between late June and early August, OCR reached settlements totaling $11.65 million in four cases of HIPAA violations and vulnerabilities.

In chronological order:

A $650,000 settlement announced June 29 stated that Catholic Health Care Services (CHCS), which provided management and IT services as an HIPAA business associate to six skilled nursing facilities in the Philadelphia area, failed to safeguard residents’ electronic protected health information (ePHI). Theft of a CHCS-issued iPhone — unencrypted and not password-protected — compromised the ePHI of 412 residents. OCR determined that CHCS had no risk analysis or risk management plan in place for handling PHI, as required under HIPAA’s Security Rule.

OCR announced on July 18 a $2.7 million settlement with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) over “widespread and diverse problems” that will be addressed through a three-year corrective action plan. OCR’s investigation started after OHSU submitted breach reports involving unencrypted laptops and a stolen unencrypted thumb drive containing ePHI. Although OHSU performed risk analyses in six years between 2003 and 2013, the processes did not cover all ePHI in OHSU’s enterprise. “While the analyses identified vulnerabilities and risks to ePHI located in many areas of the organization, OHSU did not act in a timely manner to implement measures to address these documented risks and vulnerabilities to a reasonable and appropriate level,” according to OCR.

A statement released July 21 detailed multiple alleged HIPAA violations at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) settled by a $2.75 resolution amount and corrective action plan. OCR found that ePHI stored on a UMMC network drive was vulnerable to unauthorized access via the organization’s wireless network. Users could access files in an active directory after entering a generic username and password. The directory included 328 files with the ePHI of an estimated 10,000 patients dating back to 2008. OCR determined that UMMC was aware of risks and vulnerabilities to its systems as early as 2005, but failed to take risk-management action until after the breach. The agency cited “organizational deficiencies and insufficient institutional oversight.”

Advocate Health Care Network agreed to settle potential HIPAA penalties for $5.5 million and by implementing a corrective action plan, OCR announced on Aug. 4. The settlement amount was the largest to date against a single entity, according to OCR, reflecting “the extent and duration of the alleged non-compliance.” The investigation began in 2013 after Advocate submitted three breach notification reports pertaining to separate incidents involving a subsidiary, Advocate Medical Group. The combined breaches affected the ePHI of approximately 4 million individuals, the agency reported. The incidents included the theft of four desktop computers from an administrative office building, unauthorized access to a billing service’s network, and theft from an employee vehicle of an unencrypted laptop — exposing ePHI in each case.

HIPAA audits also a consideration

OCR’s recent actions stemmed from investigations following breach notifications. However, healthcare organizations should also be prepared for the agency’s stepped-up HIPAA audit activity. Every HIPAA covered entity and business associate is eligible for an audit. So-called remote “desk audits” are currently underway and will be completed by the end of 2016. Onsite audits will follow, covering a broader scope of requirements from HIPAA’s rules.

As indicated, the stakes have never been higher for healthcare providers and vendors when handling ePHI. Technology such as NetDirector’s HealthData Exchange electronically moves data among disparate systems while adhering to HIPAA security standards. While helping to ensure compliance, the cloud-based solution frees up time that can be allocated to optimizing the patient care experience.

For more information on how to ease regulatory burdens, contact NetDirector or request a free demo.

 

 

NetDirector makes Inc. 5000 for 6th Consecutive Year

TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — NetDirector, a leading cloud-based integration and data exchange provider, has been named as a member of the prestigious Inc. 5000 list for the 6th consecutive year, a recipient of the GrowFL “Companies to Watch” award, and a member of the Gulf Coast 500 by Business Observer FL.

Companies like NetDirector that are included on the Inc. 5000 list are among the top companies in the nation, having demonstrated the highest growth in revenue over the last three years. The companies with the highest percentage growth and who meet the other qualifications are then published by Inc. as the Inc. 5000. It is an honor for NetDirector to be included in this list for the 6th consecutive year. With only 4.6 percent of the companies on this year’s list making it on for six consecutive years, it is a very rare accomplishment. NetDirector intends to continue the trend in the coming years with their expansion of integration offerings in the healthcare market.

Florida Companies to WatchSM chooses the 50 companies statewide that are expected to see significant growth over the next several years. NetDirector was among more than 500 nominees for Florida Companies to WatchSM, which is a statewide program managed by economic development group GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. This is the first year NetDirector has been named as one of the Florida Companies to WatchSM.

The Gulf Coast 500, published by Business Observer FL, is awarded to the Top 500 ranked companies in nine counties along the gulf coast, as decided by total revenue. NetDirector earned a spot in the Gulf Coast 500 for the fourth consecutive year thanks to their steadily increasing client base and revenue.

By linking disparate systems with “plug-and-play” style connectivity, NetDirector eases the operations of companies in the mortgage banking and healthcare industries by allowing data to flow seamlessly from one party to another. Maintaining security and data integrity has been another key focus of NetDirector from the beginning. GrowFL, Business Observer FL, and Inc. recognize the importance of these key factors in today’s evolving mortgage and healthcare technology environments.

“To be included on these lists and receive these awards really tells us that we’re doing things right,” said NetDirector CEO Harry Beisswenger. “NetDirector is committed to the success of a variety of organizations in healthcare and mortgage banking, and we know the secret to that lies with seamless integration workflow.  We owe all of our achievements to the NetDirector team, our customers, and our strategic partners/vendors.”

For more information on connecting to NetDirector’s ecosystem contact us at 813-749-7131 or info@netdirector.biz to explore how NetDirector fits in your organization.

Saving Money for Patients and Providers in Healthcare

Economists and actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services project U.S health spending to increase an average of 5.8 percent for the period of 2015-2025. That rate will outstrip growth in the gross domestic product by 1.3 percentage points, with health spending representing 20 percent of the total economy by the forecast period’s end.

Higher medical costs and an aging population afflicted with chronic disease will continue to drive spending, while policymakers and providers look to new care/payment models and information technology (IT) as counteracting forces. “Every single strategy needed to fix what’s wrong with U.S. healthcare will require intensive IT facilitation, data analytics and process management,” observed Mark Hagland, editor-in-chief of Healthcare Informatics, in a recent commentary.

On medical frontlines, technology costs at physician-owned multispecialty practices have spiked more than 40 percent since 2009, according to newly released data from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). While acknowledging technology’s “crucial” role in helping healthcare organizations move away from traditional fee-for-service structures, MGMA CEO Halee Fischer-Wright, MD, added: “We remain concerned that far too much of a practice’s IT investment is tied directly to complying with the ever-increasing number of federal requirements, rather than to providing better patient care.”

Nonetheless, practices have made headway in patient-facing technology implementation, notably portals that present an interface for patients to view personal health information and carry out transactions online. More than 50 percent of 850 respondents to an MGMA poll said patients were able to set up appointments through their practice portal.

What’s more, portals could play a role in retaining patients over time, concludes a report from athenahealth, which supplies cloud-based EHR and revenue cycle management technology to nearly 80,000 providers. The research shows that after an initial visit to a primary care practice, 80 percent of patients with portal accounts returned for a second visit within 18 months (compared to patients without portal accounts returning 67 percent of the time).

On a broader scale, integrated IT makes possible the sharing of patient information among healthcare’s complex network of stakeholders. For example, radiology service provider EmCare Rays uses a data and document exchange solution from NetDirector to replace point-to-point HL7 integrations with each of its customers. “We believe that we can improve client integration turnaround time and reduce ongoing support overhead,” noted Ivo Yueh, director of IT software development at EmCare Rays.

So while technology such as NetDirector’s HealthData Exchange enables seamless communication among providers, billers, labs, radiology services and others, it also achieves interoperability across the board and improves communication and patient outcomes — potentially at lower costs.

That’s important not only for its immediate impact but moving forward as well. Policy-makers want to see more digital health technologies tailored for use by patients who formerly would have fallen through the healthcare system’s safety net. Timely outreach and interconnection to people likely have to have a chronic disease is a clear path to cutting treatment costs, they say.

 

For more information about technology that’s bending the healthcare cost curve, contact NetDirector or request a free demo.

 

 

On the Road to Connected Healthcare & Interoperability

Key measures of healthcare interoperability — electronically sending, receiving and finding clinical information — grew significantly between 2014 and 2015, the most recent period studied by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

An ONC Data Brief, published in May 2016 based on American Hospital Association survey data, reveals a marked upswing in interoperable exchange activity among U.S non-federal acute care hospitals. The ability to electronically send clinical information reached 85 percent in 2015, up 7 percent from the prior year, while receipt of such information jumped to 65 percent, a 9 percent increase over 2014. Fifty-two (52) percent of surveyed hospitals said they could electronically find clinical information in 2015, a 4 percent bump from 2014.

In practical terms, 82 percent of surveyed hospitals said they could electronically exchange lab results, radiology reports, clinical care summaries or medication lists with ambulatory providers or hospitals outside their organization in 2015, up 6 percent from 2014 and 20 percent higher than in 2013.

However, rates of integrating clinical information did not significantly change during the study period, with only about 4 in 10 hospitals able to incorporate data from outside sources into their electronic health records (EHRs) without manual entry. Most commonly, hospitals said they did not use patient health information received electronically from outside providers because such information was not available to view in their EHR as part of clinicians’ workflow. Another sizable segment reported difficulty in integrating the information in the EHR.

Overall, about half of surveyed hospitals reported that their providers “often” or “sometimes” used information electronically received from outside sources when treating patients.

ONC expects increases in the interoperable exchange and use of health information from outside sources, according to the data brief. In 2015, significantly fewer hospitals reported exchange partners’ lacking EHR systems or systems without the capability to receive data as barriers to interoperable exchange, the data brief notes.

“Our chapter ahead is to bring it all together to make it usable and actionable for everybody who wants it,” said ONC’s National Coordination Karen DeSalvo, MD, during the agency’s annual meeting at the end of May. “The people of this country are ready for electronic health information to be available when and where it matters to them.”

At the moment, hospitals that engage in all core domains of interoperability have necessary patient information electronically available from outside sources and providers at about twice the national average, ONC’s report states.

The policy and technical actions needed to enable ubiquitous interoperability by the end of 2018, as outlined by ONC’s Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, should address current barriers between hospitals and their electronic trading partners, according to the agency.

NetDirector’s healthcare strategy aligns with ONC’s interoperability objectives and direction. The cloud-based HealthData Exchange enables hospitals and physicians to reduce the time, cost and effort needed to achieve EHR integration. The technology streamlines clinical workflow and communications with the extended provider community while supporting automated processes for paper-based processes in transition to full electronic connectivity.

For more information, contact NetDirector or request a free demo.

 

iPaaS Set to Address Integration Challenges

14796090251_5d6467a59b_bWithin three years, a cloud-enabled capability known as integration platform as a service (iPaaS) will surpass traditional application integration suites as the preferred means of supporting business application, data and process integration projects, according to a March 2016 report published by IT research and advisory firm Gartner.

iPaaS will help application managers and directors of integration meet the challenge of integrating hybrid application portfolios and provide easy access to the data within those systems, the Gartner report states.

Gartner counts iPaaS as a fast-growing segment — up 55% in U.S. dollars in 2015 — within the worldwide application infrastructure and middleware market.

“2015 was the year that iPaaS became a serious alternative to traditional software-based integration approaches,” said Keith Guttridge, research director at Gartner. “Buyers are choosing iPaaS due to its low entry costs, reduced operational demands and improved productivity. Vendor interest in this space is also growing rapidly, with the number of offerings doubling in the past 12 months.”

iPaaS typically combines cloud-based applications and data sources, application programming interfaces (APIs) and on-premises systems. IT departments, development teams and even business users leverage iPaaS capabilities to create and manage integration interfaces. The technology’s functionality can support and bridge between a variety of connectivity protocols and data/message delivery styles, according to Gartner.

“For organizations that never established systematic integration practices on-premises, the thought of having to start now is daunting,” Gartner’s analysis states. “The large costs, long delivery times and complex infrastructure build associated with traditional on-premises approaches are just not in line with today’s lean approaches and timelines.”

Capabilities quickly maturing in iPaaS can address such concerns while adding new features via multiple intra-year product releases. “Most vendors have moved beyond the initial use case of data and process synchronization between packaged applications and data sources, and are now focusing on unlocking extra value through API creation and publication, mobile application integration, the Internet of Things and big data analytics,” the report says.

Gartner’s analysis adds that only a handful of iPaaS offerings currently serve the requirements of a specific vertical market; however, some providers “are in the process of delivering value propositions for a few selected industry sectors such as healthcare.”

The report recommends that end users who have not yet begun to pilot iPaaS projects begin to do so.

iPaaS in action

NetDirector’s cloud-based solutions reside behind the scenes from a customer perspective, leveraging iPaaS technology to move data and documents between various trading partners. The automated process generates return on investment by reducing full-time employees or extra staff formerly needed to manually key in data or handle documents.

In industries such as mortgage banking and legal services, the NetDirector Data Exchange provides a standardized format and hub for transactions between multiple parties. Even small organizations lacking in-house IT resources can easily interact with the hub and manage their data flow.

In the medical arena, NetDirector’s HealthData Exchange platform facilitates movement of patients’ clinical records between a variety of providers (e.g., hospitals, physician groups, labs, pharmacies, imaging centers, government agencies and insurance providers) to help ensure safe and efficient delivery of care.

For more information, contact NetDirector or request a free demo.