Being on the frontlines, our Healthcare ecosystem comprising - Hospitals, Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Ambulatory Clinics, etc., deserve and need the best support possible from backend supply lines, which are made up of various service providers, product dealers, support technicians, etc. These supply lines become even more critical during the times like current COVID-19 pandemic and they need to be efficient, optimized, fast & quality controlled to make sure that the frontlines are better served.
One of the indispensable parts of the healthcare ecosystem is the hospital. In most of the known healthcare world, there is an acute mismatch between demand and the availability of resources. Therefore, hospitals strive to maximize resources, have a healthier bottom line, and best patient care & experience.
A leading Equipment supplier, our client, is one such company which is providing this reinforcement to the hospitals and alternate-site healthcare providers. This US-based company is a partner for many hospital networks. The gamut of services it offers include –
- Rental medical equipment: General Medical Infusion, Monitors, Infant care, Respiratory
- Specialty beds
- Medical equipment supplies
- Medical equipment repairs
- Real-Time asset management programs
Starting from one location on the East Coast, or client is today operational in more than 30+ locations across the USA, and as you can imagine their operations have scaled tremendously in the last 20+ years.
Like any other growing enterprise, its IT & Software landscape had grown in bits and pieces as and when technology had progressed. But the company’s leadership and management teams were not satisfied with the state of affairs. They were looking for a comprehensive overhaul and a rethink of the internal IT landscape; so that they can become more efficient and productive in their line of work.
In short, this American company needed to go under a full-scale digital transformation!
Medical Equipment Logistics Management – The Challenges
Companies are categorized as per the domain they are working in and some basic strategies are generally tagged to each domain for driving the day to day operations. For example, Manufacturing Companies will have typical production processes defined which are matured over time and adopted by most peers.
While the above being true, each company will also develop their unique strategies and processes based on various tactical factors related to the domain, market, geography, funds, owners, etc.
Over the period, the company had similarly developed their unique strategies and processes which were giving them success.
While the legacy applications and software, which our client was using earlier, gave them some headway with the basic strategies & processes related to their domain of Medical Supply Chain, they were not able to cater to many unique processes that it had painstakingly developed over the years.
Due to the above scenario, many of these processes remained manual, relying on pen and paper or buried in some Excel file that executives would work with and send emails to each other.
This scenario led to silly mistakes, delays, rework, human errors, thereby reducing the overall operational efficiency and productivity of the entire organization.
One other area of concern was less or no interrelation between different applications working for different departments or different processes.
Lastly, the leadership and management had limited visibility into the operations on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis; with very few reports and no Business Intelligence or Analytics kind of features available to take important decisions with confidence.
Digital Healthcare Ecosystem – present Opportunities
One positive aspect in this scenario was that the client had matured their processes well and the team exactly knew what worked and where were the pitfalls thus having much clarity about what would be required if they do the overhaul of the IT applications currently being used.
During this time, Digital Solutions were gaining a good foothold with technologies like Cloud-Native Web Applications, Cross-Platform Mobility Apps, IoT Solutions and Advanced Analytics based Business Intelligence Reporting becoming easily accessible for mid-sized enterprises like our client.
It made sense to start with a clean slate and the company’s leadership decided to build its own greenfield Digital platform encompassing all the unique processes & strategies and integrating the platform with few other matured and stable solutions (like QuickBooks, etc.,) which they were already using. Owing to the deep expertise and experience in various Digital technologies, the company chose Saviant as their strategic partner to develop this Digital Platform.
Solutions & Benefits
A greenfield cloud-based solution was planned to encompass a core digital platform, which would have different interfaces - a Customer and Employee Web Portal; Dedicated Mobile App for Drivers and other executives; integration with an external order fulfillment system; and a sophisticated BI Reporting system with data analytics processing.
To take the most advantage of the latest technologies, the overall platform was architected and developed as a Cloud-native PaaS solution in Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform, which considerably reduces the overhead of managing & administering the IT infrastructure required to run such kind of complex solution.
The mobile app was architected and built using the Xamarin Cross-Platform development framework, which helped in releasing the mobile app on iOS & Android platforms with a common code base. Thereby, reducing the overall effort and cost required for building, releasing, and maintaining the app for two different mobile operating systems.
Utilizing native Camera features from the mobile devices, a simple QR Code & Bar Code scanner module was developed as part of the mobile app. This app is in turn connected with the core platform-based functionality of inventory management, eliminating the need for costly hardware scanners.
While Employee Web Portal was developed to digitize a lot of workflows and processes, a Customer Web Portal was also developed to provide an interface to its customers - who may directly interact with the Core Platform to place orders, make payments, view reports and raise service request tickets, etc. A lot of the company’s employees' time today is saved owing to the Customer Web Portal as many of the Customers are very comfortable using this self-service model of working. Other functionalities included integration with external systems like Order Fulfilment System. This made sure that the Core Digital Platform is the central and the only solution where users interact, and they don’t need to communicate with other 3rd party systems.
A comprehensive BI Reporting Solution was delivered in the last phase as part of the Employee Web Portal which had advanced analytics processing and data warehousing in the background. Complete MIS reports with important KPIs were brainstormed and designed by our Business & Data Analyst teams with the key stakeholders from the client side.
Today the company’s leadership and management team can take intelligent actions and expect accelerated business outcomes with the insights provided by this BI module of the Digital Platform.
At a technical level, the entire Digital Platform solution is configured with DevOps processes of Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment & Continuous Testing along with Release Pipeline Management. These DevOps processes have helped the client’s Product team and our Development teams to manage multiple releases seamlessly without any downtime for the Production Environment.
This Digital Platform Solution today is working flawlessly when the overall operational workload has increased multifold due to the current COVID-19 crisis and the best part is the client’s team doesn’t need to include any Cloud, Mobile, Analytics and DevOps engineers to manage this Digital Platform, that is all taken care by our project team remotely and effectively while it serves the Healthcare frontlines confidently.