Mass HIway Connection Options

There are several options to connect to Mass HIway: LAND, Webmail, Direct, SOAP Web Services. Determining which method is best will depend upon technical capabilities of your system, the volume of data you intend to transmit, and your use case. The below information can help you decide the best solution.


 

LAND

LAND allows for a high-volume connection to the Mass HIway with multiple options for how messages are sent to the gateway and then onto the HIway. This connection involves a physical piece of hardware that is installed at the participating site and can then be integrated into the participant’s infrastructure.

Benefits:

·       Supports high-volume and automatic/scripted message and data dropping

·       Multiple options for integrating message transmission into a Participant’s infrastructure (HTTP POST, Directory drop, and more) to create minimal impact for non-technical users

·       Participant is not responsible for appliance maintenance or installation

Considerations:

·        LAND appliance is a “black box” and cannot be accessed by participant staff

·        Some configuration of the IT environment is required for messages to reach the LAND, so Participant IT support is required until connectivity is established

·        Installation and/or physical replacement of the box requires Mass HIway staff to visit the site

Recommended for:

·       Participants who need to regularly send data or are expecting to transmit a lot of messages but who do not have a dedicated IT staff to manage their infrastructure

·       Larger sized Participants with an implemented EHR that is not compatible with the Direct solution


 

Webmail

Webmail provides for communication on the Mass HIway through a web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. Users log into a website to receive and send messages manually. The user interface looks very much like modern online mail sites (such as Gmail or Yahoo) and has many of the same capabilities. Attachment files can be sent through webmail and the communications are secure.

Benefits:

·        No hardware or software installs at the participant site; no IT staff required

·        Non-technical interface for users; access through web browser

·       Communication functions just like e-mail but is secure through The Mass HIway

Considerations:

·        Configuring automatic uploads of clinical information requires expert resources

·        Users manually check for received messages on an e-mail system that is not integrated with their EHR

Recommended for:

·       Participants without a need to regularly send large volumes of data but who would like to be able to send or receive clinical and patient information securely on an ad-hoc basis


 

Direct

Direct XDR is the most robust connection option and allows for seamless integration into a Participant’s system with the proper configuration. The direct connection can interface directly with the participant’s EHR or SMTP message sending service. The connection provides the largest opportunity for the participant to integrate their HIway connection, but requires the IT staff and infrastructure to manage the connection.

Benefits:

·       Interfaces directly with EHR or other message sending software given correct protocols on the Participant side

·      Can receive data files and/or messages directly from  the Participant's systems and transmit them automatically with proper setup

·      Can be configured to deliver messages directly to the Participant’s internal mail system to create a seamless experience for end users

Considerations:

·       Established IT infrastructure must be present at the participant site to implement the connection and install the secure certificate(s)

·       Experienced IT staff is required to implement and integrate the connection for use

·       Not all EHRs are compatible with the connection

Recommended for:

·       Participants who anticipate sending a lot of data or messages on the Mass HIway and have a compatible EHR and/or a dedicated IT team who can configure existing system to interface with the connection


 

SOAP Web Services

SOAP is the alternative method of transport to and from the Massachusetts’ Immunization Information System (MIIS).  This method uses a CDC standardized WSDL with local specifications.  For more details, on this transport method, visit the MIIS Resource Center at https://www.contactmiis.info/crcnews.asp.

The MIIS is a secure web-based immunization registry and vaccine management system for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Healthcare providers can report immunizations to the MIIS directly through the web interface or via electronic data exchange from their site’s EHR system and through the Mass HIway. HL7 messages are processed in real time and acknowledgements are sent to the initiating system as soon as the message processing is complete.

Benefits:

·       Executing a Mass HIway Participation Agreement (PA) is not a requirement, which can speed up process of submitting data to MIIS as it may take time to process at your organization. Instead, you work only with the MIIS team, which will provide a username and password- based connection to MIIS via SOAP.

Considerations:

·        SOAP Web Services are for data transmission to MIIS only. Participants that connect to MIIS via SOAP will need an alternate connection to the Mass HIway to send and receive data to other Mass HIway Participants and all other public health registries. 

·        Should you wish to migrate to a certificate-based Mass HIway connection in the future to transact with other Mass HIway Participants, your organization will need to complete a Mass HIway PA first, then go through the steps of onboarding.

·        Mass HIway does not charge for any set up and related service fees for any connection option, including SOAP Web Services, if the Mass HIway is being used solely to send and receive data to and from the MDPH.

Recommended for:

·       Organizations that are not already connected to the Mass HIway and need to quickly transmit data to MIIS.

·       Organizations not ready operationally to manage a more technical Mass HIway implementation.

·       Organizations not ready or able to execute a Mass HIway PA in order to implement a certificate-based connection to the Mass HIway.