Up to Speed with Mirth Connect

The book is available for purchase at Amazon as of 9/17/2020.

From the Introduction

Mirth Connect is open source software that can accept, change, and forward information packets, called messages. Such packets might consist of anything from spreadsheet data, to medical messages, to emails. It is frequently used to send messages in a format called HL7, and it has some built-in understanding of HL7 messages to simplify work with such messages.

Written in Java, Mirth runs on any system capable of running a Java virtual machine, including Microsoft Windows, Apple's OS X, and Linux.

We're going to take a step-by-step approach, tackling some of Mirth's fundamentals before looking at how it handles HL7 messages. Even if you're an old hand at HL7, there are aspects of how Mirth dices and slices messages that can create boobytraps. The more you've seen Mirth under the hood, the less likely it is you'll fall into traps.

This book is not a reference tome, and I make no attempt to cover Mirth's capabilities in a comprehensive way. It is aimed at someone who knows the basics of programming, has been confronted by Mirth, and is trying to make sense of it. It won't make you an expert, but it may prevent you from wanting to kick your computer. Mirth is a large tool with a lot of areas; I'm hoping that this book will let you familiarize yourself with a few central things, without intimidating you. The goal is to get you ready to learn more on your own.

We assume you have downloaded Mirth and the Mirth user guide from https://www.mirthcorp.com or https://www.nextgen.com. (Or use the links below.) If you haven't done that yet, please do. Both downloads are free. Think of the User Guide as a reference, and use this as a tutorial. Because this is tutorial in nature, you'll get the most out of it if you work it from the beginning, rather than try to jump in someplace in the middle. Some topics which you might expect would have their own chapters are covered, instead, when they first become useful in the context of the tutorial.

Useful links

Software used in the book

Papercut Papercut offers an easy way for a Windows user to capture mail that programs want to send to a local mail server.
Hapi Test Panel HAPI provides this HL7 sender and receiver that can be used to send messages to and receive messages from Mirth. Here is a link to prebuilt versions; source is at github.
PostgreSQL Industrial-strength SQL. Why anyone would pay for SQL software when Postgresql is available, free, is a mystery to me.

Other Software

NextGen Connect installer page As of Oct 2020, this page hosts downloadable installers for version 3.9.1 for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Mirth installers Caduceus.es provides a convenient set of links to Mirth Connect installers.
Mirth source code NextGen's Mirth Connect source code repository at github.
HL7 inspector A nice tool for viewing HL7 message structure. Copy the message to the clipboard, rightclick and import into this tool.

Useful Web Sites

Caristix HL7 Definition site Caristix provides a wonderful benefit to everyone via this comprehensive and easily navigated HL7v2 reference.
Mirth Connect discussion forums Discussion forums, including one for community support.

Channels from the book

Channels folder (Wayback Machine version; don't shut down a hosted domain before backing it up. Sorry, but you'll have to download the pages and remove the insertions from the Wayback Machine until I have time to clean these files up -- mjtrac@gmail.com 1/12/2023) These are very basic concept demos from the book. If you are using the book, I strongly advise you to manually create the channels as described in the book, as opposed to importing and using these. If you are not using the book, while you are welcome to download these files, I doubt they will be of much use to you.