Halo Connect

Halo Connect's 2023 in Review: From incubation to innovation

One year in, Halo Connect has made great strides not just as a product but also in building partnerships with a host of amazing companies. Join us for a look back at the year just gone — and a peek at what’s coming next!

Over 4600 practice servers, over 1 million queries per day.

It’s been a busy year at Halo Connect. Just over a year ago, we were installing Halo Link on our first practice. Now we have a whole host of new features, more products on the way, and some very exciting changes planned for next year.

But first, our latest and most exciting news…

Zedmed integration is on the way!

Interoperability is Halo Connect’s main goal. Across practices, integrations, and EHR providers, and last week we we were thrilled to announce our next integration!

Halo’s integration with Zedmed is going into Beta in January, with general availability to follow not long after. If you’re interested in joining the Beta, please contact Zedmed.

This is a giant step forward in realising our vision for interoperability in Australian primary care and we’ll continue to work with the amazing Zedmed team to bring more features for Zedmed integrators over the coming 12 months.

SQL Passthrough API - flexible and full-featured

A year ago, our SQL Passthrough API had a few limitations and growing pains. Now, it’s a complete product, battle-tested and hardened from experience, and will soon be expanded to work with Zedmed too! Curious how it works? Here are the headlines:

  • Run any SQL: Custom queries or stored procedures, quick operations or massive batch requests - anything integrators could run locally on the database, they can now run via the SQL Passthrough API.
  • Queries prioritised by use case: Immediate queries enable fast responses for integrators with real-time use cases, while async queries support integrators with larger data requirements. Between the two, we’re yet to find a use case we can’t support.
  • Smart queuing without the overhead: Halo Link handles prioritising and queuing queries, removing the need for integrators to factor that into their integration.

“If you’re serious about scaling your business across Best Practice Premier customers - Halo Connect is your go-to. It’s cost-effective, and since the bundling with Bp Premier, it’s now easier than ever for our customers to get started using Cubiko. Halo’s service to our customers has been exceptional.” 

- Robert Dickson, COO at Cubiko

Improvements across the board

New products are fun, but they aren’t the only thing we’ve worked on. With a product as new as ours, there are always plenty of things to improve and the list of what we’ve achieved this year is long:

  • Memory usage: A year ago, the way Halo Link handled large query results was somewhat naive, and sometimes resulted in significant memory usage. Now, Halo Link is carefully tuned to use as little memory as necessary, even when a query result is measured in gigabytes.
  • Security improvements: Between regular independent audits of our security and working with BP to improve the overall security of our integration, Halo’s products and systems have seen significant security improvements this year. A key change (pardon the pun) is removing the need for integrators to include their PMS database credentials in queries sent to our SQL Passthrough API. This reduces the risk of a malicious actor sniffing integrator credentials from a query, protecting practice servers from access by unauthorised parties.
  • Site observability: One of Halo Connect’s key goals is to ensure the health of practice servers. To do this, we actively monitor Halo Link installations and query success rates across all practices, proactively resolving issues where we can and reaching out to practices and integrators when we can’t. This has required significant investment into analytics, but it has been worth it to see our reliability and uptime improve significantly. And we have several more improvements in mind for the coming year.
  • Infrastructure: The often unsung hero of a stable system is all the work that goes into infrastructure behind the scenes. We’ve been hard at work this year adding layers upon layers of improvements — everything from server upgrades to a VM fleet for automated end-to-end testing. Every release now has to go through a whole gamut of checks, both automated and manual, and we can now push release candidate versions of Halo Link out to specific sites to help them get issues fixed faster.
  • Better docs and errors: For our customers, we’ve also been making it easier to resolve issues they might see without our help. The docs and API reference have both received significant updates this year, but the biggest change was an overhaul of how we record and surface errors so that integrators can more clearly identify what went wrong and whether they can fix it themselves.

Looking ahead

While it’s great to reflect on a seriously awesome 2023, we wanted to give you a taste of what we have planned for the year ahead…

  • FHIR API for Bp Premier: Sick of SQL? Don’t worry, our FHIR API will be up and running early in the new year with a small set of resources that we’ll continue to add to over the course of the year. We’re aiming to lower the barrier to integration even further, using modern standards, and making the transition to Bp Omni as seamless as possible.
  • More PMS integrations: Interoperability doesn’t stop with Bp and Zedmed. We can’t say anything more just yet, but we’re looking forward to announcing more partnerships next year!
  • Supporting integrators at scale: As we scale, we’re well aware we’ll have to keep optimising Halo Link to handle more and more integrator queries. There are various projects on the roadmap to help with this, such as improving our multithreading model to more intelligently handle queries. We also have a few ideas for how to reduce costs — and server overhead — for integrators who need real-time updates on database changes, particularly in the appointments space.
  • Did somebody say front-end integration?: We’re working closely with our sister company Halo Wing to bring API-driven integrations to the Bp Premier front-end. Forget about creating and maintaining custom GUI applications, just provide instant value at the point of care by surfacing your most valuable patient insights during the clinical consultation.
  • Continuous security improvements: Security is one of those things you can never stop caring about. We already have ideas for a few things we want to improve, such as stronger end-to-end encryption, and we’ll keep working with our PMS partners and independent experts to identify and implement further security enhancements.
  • Secret projects: We feel pretty privileged to be involved in some game-changing proof of concept projects that help us deliver our vision of solving the healthcare interoperability crisis. This includes looking at the interoperability between sectors, such as health and aged care - but we can’t tell you any more than that just yet!

A quick note from JB

What an amazing list of achievements, and yet what I’m most proud of is the team we’ve built over the past 12 months and the fun we’ve had while delivering on our goals. It’s been a hugely rewarding year personally - as a non-technical leader, it’s been a serious learning curve - and I’m incredibly thankful to the highly skilled, committed, and generous humans I get to call Team Halo.

I also want to say thank you to our early adopters - especially our friends at Cubiko - who have ridden every wave, followed every change, and helped us work out the many kinks, all with a collaborative approach that has kept practices at the centre of everything we do.

Lastly, to our PMS partners Best Practice Software and now also Zedmed, it’s been an honour to be let into the inner circle and to be trusted with delivering on some pretty lofty goals. One of the great pleasures of working in the healthcare industry is getting to work alongside other values-driven leaders and teams, and that has continued to be reinforced through our partnerships.

Phew, that’s it from Team Halo in 2023…See you in 2024!

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