Short-Term Modernization Creates Long-Term Possibilities for Health Coalition

Pam Roman

Prolifics helps Health Coalition with Short-Term Modernization and Long-Term Possibilities

Our client, a Health Coalition, is a non-profit organization that connects, collects and integrates health information in an exchange in partnership with its state’s department of health. Participating healthcare professionals (with patient consent) can access electronic health information and securely exchange data with other state participants. This improves patient outcomes, reduces tests and procedures, and lowers costs.

Challenge

Our client (“Health Coalition”) gathers health data from participants all over its state – providers, payers, agencies and related organizations. Already busy, the COVID-19 pandemic created a massive increase to the non-profit’s workload. Health Coalition collected all the health data from the participants into its systems through application programming interfaces (APIs) behind a secure API gateway.

This API gateway was coming to its end-of-life and would no longer be supported by the vendor. Therefore, Health Coalition needed alternatives, with these factors to consider:

  • The organization was subject to budgetary constraints, generally in the form of government grants that applied to particular projects. In this case, the funding available was specifically designated to replace an unsupported product with a supported product, with no leeway for extras.
  • 100 percent of Health Coalition’s collected data is subject to HIPAA, so compliance and security were top concerns.
  • The gateway had to support a substantially larger amount and inflow of data than before, because of COVID-19 information.
  • From a resource perspective (in large part due to the COVID-19 workload), Health Coalition’s ability to learn, implement and support different, updated technologies was extremely limited.

Therefore, the immediate goal was to give them exactly what they had and knew how to use, but on a supported product; without boxing them into a solution that had no flexibility or room to grow.

Action

We discussed various avenues with Health Coalition, one being going to the Cloud. However, the client knew that their on-prem, physical data center was secure and HIPAA compliant. So, for purposes of the project at hand, they did not want to go through the security and compliance exercise, however perfunctory, with a new Cloud provider.

The answer, though, was still under a Cloud umbrella. We recommended IBM Cloud Pak for Integration (made up of lightweight, enterprise-grade, modular cloud solutions). When licensing IBM Cloud Pak for Integration, the licensee has access to several different other solutions – all of which are considered part of that Cloud Pak. One of those solutions is IBM DataPower Gateway.

IBM DataPower Gateway is a single multi-channel, secure API gateway appliance that our client could easily manage. It in effect gave them the solution they had but was obviously more robust (as needed for COVID-19 data) and supported than the end-of-life gateway they needed to replace.

In addition to solution recommendation, Health Coalition entrusted us with the entire migration from the old system to the new.

Result

IBM DataPower Gateway achieved the specific goal of getting our client’s current situation from unsupported to supported. Our migration project of old system to new system came in on time and on budget, with high customer satisfaction. Health Coalition is in production today with the DataPower system.

This Prolifics’ client is an example that application modernization does not mean you have to throw out everything old and put in everything new. You don’t have to do it all at once – you can do it in stages and steps to meet your needs in the context of limited resources.

Health Coalition was in a dead-end technology, and Prolifics helped them refresh that. And, with the licensing flexibility under IBM Cloud Pak for Integration, the table is set for Health Coalition to step up their digital transformation whenever they want to. They can experiment with other products under Cloud Pak to take their technology forward, such as IBM API Connect – a scalable API platform to create, securely expose and manage APIs.

Working together, Prolifics now has Health Coalition in a technology that has a roadmap to the Cloud – and the future.

Technology

IBM Cloud Pak for Integration helps support the speed, flexibility, security and scale required for all your digital transformation initiatives. It comes pre-integrated with functionality including API lifecycle, application and data integration, messaging and events, high-speed transfer and integration security. Pair IBM Cloud Pak for Integration with an agile integration strategy to meet escalating demand, reduce costs and increase operational agility.

IBM DataPower Gateway helps organizations meet the security and integration needs of a digital business in a single multi-channel gateway. It provides security, control, integration and optimized access to a full range of mobile, web, application programming interface (API), service-oriented architecture (SOA), B2B and cloud workloads.

What’s next

Short term, we’re talking to our client about embedding a Prolifics consultant for a few months to ensure a smooth transition to the newly modernized solution. We’re also proposing a managed services arrangement that would essentially provide them with a 24/7 help desk and on-call people for the software and related solution we implemented. For now, though, we have software architects from our practice area checking in with the client periodically and offering advice on how to move forward.