Healthcare technology provider

Creating Compliant Access to Patient Medical Records and Care Options

The healthcare technology provider needed to create APIs to access a solution for providers and payers that complies with HL7-FHIR, and which allows patients who switch to new providers and payers to easily access their clinical and insurance records and identify resources they can turn to for medical care. To solve the challenge, the customer chose Allata for its capacity to go beyond coding software to also advise and assist on product development, enterprise architectures, and product engineering. In addition to delivering APIs that enable the solution to comply with HL7-FHIR, Allata set up an environment to demo the APIs that helps the customer’s sales team present the solution to providers and payers.

Medical staff during morning briefing in boardroom

key deliverables

  • Generated 50 APIs to connect to resource domain objects. 
  • Converted various data and application formats to comply with the HL7-FHIR architecture.
  • Developed middleware to extract FHIR resources from databases and deliver them to web applications.
  • Coded middleware and created web pages for third-party developers. 
  • Generated web pages for rendering content to patients. 
  • Added high-availability and resilience capabilities for SQL database storing patient records.
  • Created compliant authorized access rules for patients and family members.
  • Created development and sandbox environments in AWS to test and demo the APIs.

tools & technologies

  • Docker containers
  • HAPI FHIR Server
  • React
  • NodeJS
  • AWS
  • RESTful APIs
  • JSON

If you’re looking for a software development organization that will help you be smart and advance what you’re doing ahead of schedule, go with Allata. They are a resolute team, and they don’t just take orders and write code; they are a nimble organization that solves challenges.

Vice President of Product Development

The Challenge

Develop Healthcare Solution Before Compliance Deadline 

The client is a healthcare technology firm that provides data-driven solutions and technology-enabled services to facilitate communications among healthcare providers, payers, and patients. The solutions enable providers and payers to improve clinical, financial, administrative, and patient engagement outcomes. 

Midway through 2020, the company needed to create a solution for customers that complies with HL7-FHIR—by allowing patients who switch to new providers and payers to easily access their clinical and insurance records, and to identify resources they can turn to for medical care.

When taking on this challenge initially, the company needed to complete the solution by the January 1, 2021 deadline set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). 

And as the deadline was extended by six months—due to the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare industry—the company still wanted to accelerate the completion of the project. Doing so would enhance its brand reputation among healthcare payers and providers as a partner that helps meet compliance requirements. 

Pressure to create the compliant solution was also coming from the company sales team. They needed to demonstrate to providers and payers that viable APIs to access the solution were coming soon and would be easy for developers to integrate with.

Even though the enterprise company had a large pool of developer resources, the team’s bandwidth was already stretched to capacity. Under pressure to complete the project as quickly as possible, the vice president of product management in charge of the patient access solution realized he would need to turn to outside resources with expertise in API development and knowledge of how healthcare systems work.

The Solution

Allata Extends Expertise Beyond Development 

Another senior member of the company’s IT team had previously worked with Allata and recommended the vice president give serious consideration to the software development firm. The vice president chose Allata for its capacity to go beyond coding software to also advise and assist on product development, enterprise architectures, and product engineering. Allata also demonstrated superior project management skills and an ability to streamline software development using the Kanban methodology. 

Allata distinguished itself from the other outsource development firms the company has worked with. In addition to fulfilling project requirements, Allata looks at potential project obstacles and recommends ways to do things better. For example, the customer requested Allata to develop five APIs. As the Allata team completed the project, they also tested the APIs and identified 45 additional APIs the system would require. Given that this expanded the scope of the project by nearly 10X—and the customer still faced a tight deadline—Allata then assigned additional resources to complete the project on time.

Over the course of the project, Allata implemented 50 REST APIs that connect to resource domain objects and achieved minimum viable product status. Along the way, Allata provided several additional key services. These included converting various data and application formats to comply with the HL7-FHIR architecture, developing middleware components, generating web pages to render content, creating high-availability for databases, setting up authorized access rules, and deploying development and sandbox environments in Amazon Web Services (AWS) to test and demo the APIs.

To complete the project on time, Allata provided 10 resources who worked regularly on the project along with temporary additional resources when needed. And by applying the Kanban method, Allata was also able to accommodate changes in requirements and priorities in the middle of sprints.

The Results

Project Timeline Accelerated by Several Months

In addition to helping the healthcare technology provider develop a patient access solution that complies with HL7-FHIR, Allata provided a big assist to the sales team. Customers were eager to see the APIs in action to know they could rely on the solution to go to market in time to beat the compliance deadline. Allata solved this challenge with the demo environment set up in AWS. Sales uses the environment to show how the APIs work and how easy it is for third-party developers to integrate with the APIs.

A key driver behind the demo environment is the Swagger documentation Allata created to define the input and output parameters of the REST APIs. Allata hooked the Swagger documentation to synthetic data sets and tested to make sure the APIs were functional. Allata then turned this system into a demo site with web pages that showcase how the APIs use the synthetic data.

The company’s vice president estimates Allata accelerated the timeline of the project by several months in comparison to how fast the internal team could have completed the project—given their resource limitations. The performance by Allata has now set a benchmark for how quickly projects can be completed. Internal development teams have something to compare against and see the value of getting things done faster.

Setting Standards for the Entire Healthcare Industry

The partnership between Allata and this healthcare technology provider exemplifies how Allata helps customers enhance the output of their development projects and to complete projects ahead of schedule. The team does not simply take orders; it operates fast and nimbly to serve as problem-solvers for customer organizations.

While developing the APIs, the Allata team also advised on how to code the analysis process for mining data and pointed out adjustments that the enterprise architecture would require. Another key area in which Allata proved its worth was the logic created for the APIs. The customer took this logic and started using it for the process that feeds data to the APIs.

Thanks to the expertise provided by Allata, the company vice president believes they are in the process of establishing a set of standard and best practices for creating a new layer of security access to make sure third parties can only access the information that’s necessary and only on the patients they are working with. This will produce a method to better protect the data and make sure it does not get released to the wrong people—and the company envisions being able to share this to benefit the entire healthcare industry. 

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