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Integration

Integration is baked-in to Acorn

The Acorn Clinical Case Management System is built on the Salesforce Force.com platform, which is unified and connected with robust, industry-standard APIs and services ready for data integration and system integration of back-office systems, client-facing system and more.

The platform enables Acorn to integrate at multiple levels, including API integration, data integration, service process integration, and user interface integration.

Application Integration

Many mental health services providers will already be using one or more systems to provide their full range of services to clients. The more systems your back-office staff and clinical practitioners are forced to use, the greater their administrative overhead and the less productive they become as they switch back and forth between systems, often having to re-key important data or create and update duplicate records.

The flexibility provided by the Force.com platform means that our Acorn Case Management system can often incorporate the functionality provided by these third party systems. As well as providing efficiency benefits to users, this offers additional benefits in the form of financial efficiency, data security and integrity and administrative overheads.

If you can replace even one existing application with Acorn then you could see an immediate financial benefit in terms of reduced licence costs, user and administrator training, and any ongoing support costs you may be paying.

With data spread across multiple systems it is much harder to ensure the security of that data and to ensure that it is accurate and up to date. By using Acorn to integrate multiple systems you can benefit from a single data repository.

Your system administrators will be working hard in the back-office to ensure clinical systems are available, secure and up to date with the latest patches. The Force.com plarform on which Acorn runs will remove nearly all of these time consuming tasks. The platform is always up to date, thanks to three seamless updates every year and with security and reliability baked into the architecture.

Data Integration

While data integration comes as standard if you decide to replace third party systems with Acorn Case Management, there is also an opportunity to consolidate multiple existing data sources into Acorn, to take advantage of the benefits that a single data repository can provide to administrative staff, service managers and clinical practitioners.

If it’s not possible, or practical, to replace the functionality provided by another system in your service, it could be possible to connect the application to Acorn and simply share data between the two systems. 

Data between connected apps could be shared in one direction only. In this scenario the 'Parent' application maintains data ownership while granting permission to 'Child' applications to take copies of the data for use in their own environments.

Alternatively, data can be allowed to flow between connected apps with each system updating the other(s) as users and administrators make changes to the records in the different systems. Rules can be applied to restrict the flow of data in certain cirumstances.

Integration can be achieved using REST and SOAP Web services callouts, using JSON and/or XML to formulate the data transfer requests and standard protocols such as SAML, OAuth and/or OpenID Connect to secure them.

Once apps are connected and your data sharing rules have been formulated, the chances of duplicate records clogging up your systems is drastically reduced. A single patient record, loaded with all the data from your disparate systems becomes a reality, ensuring clinical practitioners have all the data they need at their fingertips.

With your clinical applications connected and sharing data, there is a recuced data admin burden on users, who are no longer having to re-key information from one system to another, allowing them to concentrate on their day jobs.

Patient Communication

We know that not every service provider needs or wants to provide SMS text messaging alerts to their client, so rather than bake this feature into Acorn Case Management, and increase the base cost for all customers, we support customers in integrating this functionality into the system.

If you're interested in including this service in your Acorn system, we are happy to help you choose a service provider that meets your needs and integrate, implement and configure the solution to your requirements.

You decide what events or actions in the Acorn system are used to trigger the SMS notification, and what messages are sent as a result. Messages can be personalised using information from the system, for example the time of the appointment.

There will be an additional one-off cost involved in integrating an SMS service provider with Acorn Case Management, and there will typically be a separate regular subscription cost that will be paid to the service provider you choose.

API Integration

Many modern computer systems include support for Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). An API is an industry agreed set of definitions, protocols and tools for building application software. When multiple systems support the same API (or multiple APIs) it becomes relatively easy to connect those system and exchange data between them.

In addition to the almost ubiquitous REST API, the Force.com platform also supports the older SOAP API and the less common, but extremely useful Bulk API. While there are many different flavours of server, thousands of different business applications and almost as many types of other software, this comprehensive API suite acts as a standardised wrapper to help our API-enabled application successfully communicate with external systems to make information requests.

While this is all possible using code – the Force .com platform provides its own APEX coding language – integration can also be achieved using a ‘clicks not code’ approach thanks to the flexibility of the architecture. In many instances, we never need to write a single line of code to achieve integration with external systems.

platform_architecture2
Example architecture diagram for external system integration with Force.com platform.