Interoperability as a service and incentives

April 30, 2016
Nick Hatt Staff Software Engineer, Tech Lead

I use the word incentives a lot, partly because I’m married to an economics professor, and partly because it’s been a key part of my motivation for most of my life.

Plug and play interoperability in Health IT is a pipe dream, which means that all integration projects today will be that—projects. In this post, I will examine how Interoperability as a Service (#I14YaaS) realigns incentives so that integration projects get done faster, cheaper, and can scale.

Eating your own dog food

Eating your own dog food is one of the tremendous upsides to being a SaaS company. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, our integration engine is built by us, from scratch.. We also do all of the dirty work of moving data around, building translation tables, and supporting a menagerie of web services for our customers. This means that if we want to survive as a company, we need to make our internal tools as simple as possible. Each extra minute we spend doing configuration is time we could spend on other configurations!

Contrast that with a traditional enterprise interface engine like Cloverleaf, Mirth, or Rhapsody: at best, they need a product that can wow an interface manager in a sales demo. The tiniest of productivity gains won’t really make for a splash or lead to new sales, so they get put on the backlog.

Centralized support

Redox is not just in charge of the analysis and build of interface connections. We monitor other critical infrastructure like VPNs and endpoint health. All the development we do is instantly shared across all of our customers.

Machine learning is a tool that is virtually non-existent in the enterprise interface engine market. Imagine if each message that comes through Redox is constantly feeding a model of what interface traffic looks like. When the patterns don’t match, we can instantly page one of our engineers to take a look. This kind of project makes sense for Redox because it saves us time and money—in other words, we are incentivized to automate it.

Dev Tools

I’ve written before about the power of dev tools. Getting people started fast with real stuff is key to getting traction. At Redox, we’re incentivized to provide the best experience to the people that really matter—developers. A standards body like HL7 doesn’t have any incentive to make their standards easier to understand, contribute to, or get started with. They actually have a reverse (perverse?) incentive to teach classes explaining their standards.

The free signup for Redox (no credit card required) gives you full access to the developer tools. Don’t be shy about telling us where they suck and where our documentation sucks, because remember, we have an incentive to make them better.


Human behavior can be confusing, but understanding what motivates us is worth the effort. Understanding what makes integration projects tick is our specialty, and we look forward to a deep dive to make our mutual incentives line up.