This is part zero of a series of blog posts on the Core Principles of NaviNet Open.
The essential function of enterprise architecture is to serve as a bridge between the business and technology domains. This may sound like a lofty pursuit and the truth is enterprise architecture requires a deep and nuanced appreciation for the technologies, patterns, and trajectory of software development and IT infrastructure. It requires a broad, multidisciplinary perspective on the activities and analyses of the industry as well as its people. And it requires a well-developed intuitive capacity along with the brute force of logic and reason. Good enterprise architecture is a synthesis of both art and science.
New Enterprise Architecture, New Compass
In the second half of 2012, NaviNet embarked on a journey to create NaviNet Open, a healthcare collaboration network platform that would connect payers, providers, clinical systems and administrative applications in real-time through transaction, collaboration and content delivery services. In order to create this new platform, we needed a foundation on which to build our concepts of what the product would be and how our company and culture would organize around it. In other words, we needed a new enterprise architecture. But in the spirit of agile development, we could not go offline for months while we created an exhaustive set of deliverables under an enterprise architecture framework. Not only that, the development of this new architecture for NaviNet Open was an urgent strategic pivot for our company, and we needed a compass to help us maintain our direction through this difficult process.
The Core Principles of NaviNet Open
This need led to the creation of the “Core Principles of NaviNet Open.” These principles, as originally written, are deliberately terse and are aphorisms that hint at how technology can reliably relate to the healthcare industry. They are not prescriptions or solutions; rather they are meant to provoke thought and open pathways to move forward. The Core Principles allowed us to make directionally appropriate decisions in the face of ambiguity, relativism and the immense pressures of market expediency. They served as a gauge against which we could measure tactics and inevitable tradeoffs. Without further ado, the Core Principles of NaviNet Open are:
- Flexible Data Model
- Open APIs
- Standard Data Exchange Formats
- Emergent Behavior
- Configurability and Extensibility
- The Network as Organizing Principle
Core Principles, Three Years and Counting
Yet, the true test of the Core Principles has been time. Three years have passed since we created the Core Principles, and they ring more true than ever today. Some of the notions they posit, for example “Collaboration,” are now part of everyday conversation in our company and in the healthcare industry at large. NaviNet Open, which today connects over 450,000 active users in 180,000 healthcare offices to over 450 health plans, was and continues to be defined by these principles which guide its ongoing development. At NaviNet we consider this a tremendous affirmation that we are building the right product to tackle the industry's tough problem of integration of heterogeneous systems, distributed workflows, rapid change, and diverse people.
Next Up: Core Principle #1, Flexible Data Model
We hope you will join us over this series of posts as we explore each one of the Core Principles of NaviNet Open in depth. As a teaser, our next post will tackle the first Core Principle, Flexible Data Model, and will explore how to avoid data model rigor mortis. The data model, as the very underpinning of any good architecture, must be allowed to evolve in order for a business in our fast-changing industry to avoid a cold, stiff death. How can we allow this foundation to change without disrupting applications and services built upon it? Stay tuned...
Our intention in this series is to provoke thought and discussion, so please comment on the posts or get in touch with us offline. We look forward to the conversation!