Back To Communications Orchestrate Healthcare Interoperability Team Significantly Improves Arkansas Department of Health Workflow

Orchestrate Healthcare Interoperability Team Significantly Improves Arkansas Department of Health Workflow

Orchestrate Healthcare provided Arkansas Department of Health a timely solution that significantly reduces staffing time on superfluous activity, removes the human error component, addresses the HIPAA challenges with faxing, and streamlines recipient time.

When COVID-19 first hit the US, the Arkansas Department of Health (DOH) quickly responded in getting related positive/negative results into their system. In many cases, the most rapid method was via faxing. This posed a problem as faxing requires workers to manually review, process, and store the information. While valuable, this effort was overwhelming the DOH staff requiring seven day work weeks for multiple team members. On the hospital side of things, faxing leads to dis-satisfaction as it involves labor that can be more appropriately deployed elsewhere. Frustration is also caused by busy signals on the fax line.  As part of the Orchestrate Healthcare efforts on this project, we brought  live electronic feeds of COVID-19 data to eliminate this labor intensive workflow. We carefully coordinated with the hospitals and with HIEs to scrutinize production data confirming it meets the strict DOH requirements for inbound ELR data. We also helped backload historic data from these health systems, making sure that the data loaded into the Rhapsody database and into the DOH syndromic surveillance system, NBS, and COVID-19 surveillance system, REDCap.


As part of the Arkansas Department of Health engagement, Orchestrate Healthcare’s integration team aligned the DOH information with these technologies for seamless delivery:

  • PHINMS –Work with the CDC to maintain certificates, to ensure continued connectivity with the CDC and with sending laboratories.  Troubleshoot other connectivity issues.
  • REDCap – Maintain php scripts to populate REDCap with COVID-19 data, to facilitate contact tracing.
  • NEDSS Base System (NBS) – Fast track bringing laboratories live with COVID-19 result feeds, eliminating the need for faxing, confirming results flow into NBS, and logging support tickets as needed.  Troubleshoot production issues.

Eddie Butler, project lead from Orchestrate Healthcare shares, “In looking at the messages over the past week for just one facility, removing the outliers, we find over 300 of these results per day. If we conservatively say that it takes one minute for a person to process one of the faxes before this feed, the Orchestrate Healthcare team is saving the DOH staff in just this one occurrence over five hours per day. The staff is relieved to receive back this time to concentrate on their normal activities.”

In addition, the Orchestrate Healthcare team is working fastidiously on reporting aspects of the COVID-19 response.  COVID-19 LOINC codes are periodically introduced, which need to be verified and implemented for internal reporting and reporting to the CDC.  As CDC reporting requirements continually change, we simultaneously update all reports to meet these new standards as well as make the associated changes to the ELR database.

With COVID-19 introducing a much higher amount of traffic to the existing DOH interface engine, the team is helping them address this by re-deploying Rhapsody in a manner more aligning with best practices. One example of our approach, is to separate message processing from data storage, allowing  each component to more optimally function.

When asked about the value Orchestrate Healthcare is bringing to Arkansas DOH, Mr. Butler summarizes, “Orchestrate Healthcare provided a timely solution that significantly reduces staffing time on superfluous activity, removes the human error component, addresses the HIPAA challenges with faxing, and streamlines recipient time.  The Arkansas DOH constituent hospitals are happy to provide real-time reporting, while avoiding busy fax signals, allowing their resources to be more appropriately deployed.”

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