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Providing Data Migration and Application Development Support for a Leading Healthcare Company

Healthcare | Application Development

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A leading provider of healthcare management systems partnered with TEKsystems for data migration and application development support during its transition from a legacy enterprise e-pharmacy management system.

Founded in 1990, the client is a multifaceted provider of healthcare management solutions geared towards the health and wellness needs of healthcare providers, business leaders, pharmacies and consumers. The company encompasses several subsidiary organizations, including our client, a pharmacy benefit management company offering an integrated pharmacy network, among a range of other services throughout the United States. TEKsystems has partnered with this client since 2006.

In a business landscape becoming ever more dependent on technology, companies are continually faced with IT changes—almost on a daily basis. Change could come from within an organization, such as modifications to internal email policies, or from external factors, such as when legacy systems go out of product support by their manufacturer. These changes can challenge an organization, especially when they are satisfied with how their current setup is operating.

In healthcare, many aging legacy systems are being sunsetted to make way for newer, faster, modernized systems. Manufacturers no longer want to provide resources to support dual systems. Companies that want to avoid the undesirable position of running business-critical systems on unsupported platforms are pushed to decommission their legacy systems and move to newer software or hardware. However, being forced into change can bring up many challenges and uncertainties: Will the new system operate as well as the old one? Will the switch negatively impact users—either by employee productivity or customer satisfaction? How will all business data efficiently and accurately migrate from one system to another? Healthcare organizations seeking to make a seamless transition with minimal impact to their end users often look to a partner with experience in both legacy modernization and the healthcare industry.

ePostRx, Java, .NET, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)

The client, a multifaceted provider of healthcare management solutions, was faced with updating its enterprise e-pharmacy system when its current legacy system was going out of product support. All accounts (i.e., doctors, patients and pharmacies) needed to be moved over to the new system, ePostRx. The client sought to adjust its existing interfaces to ensure all the previous functionality was reproduced on the new platform so that the transition would be seamless and there would be no impact to the end user (i.e., delays, interruption of service or limited functionality).

The client could not afford to delay this project since their current platform was being definitively sunsetted in a year. However, the client did not have the bandwidth internally to address the conversion on their own. Since the client had several customized systems, they were looking for a partner who could come in, absorb their knowledge and then work as an extension of their internal team to complete the interface development for the new system. They wanted a development partner who could ramp up quickly, deliver on time and in budget, and produce highquality products.

Facing a time crunch, the client turned to TEKsystems for assistance. We proposed a two-phased approach; first, we would conduct analysis, knowledge transfer and planning, and then development would begin at our Montreal Innovation Centre.

We would start the first phase on site at the client’s headquarters. Over a two-week period, we would establish communication protocols and program governance processes, and work with the client’s technical architecture team to analyze the ePostRx Java APIs and Web services to understand how the client’s current set of .NET interfaces needed to access and receive data in the new system. We would also validate the goals and business drivers for the project, capture scope of interfaces to be adjusted, define high-level nonfunctional and environmental requirements, perform gap analyses, create a high-level product backlog, prioritize interfaces to be adjusted, and identify key assumptions, risks and dependencies.

To ensure we understood the product, we would work with the client’s integration partner who would be providing the new system to review the ePostRx package, the data model, the associated load programs and module architecture. The integration partner would work with the client for data migration between the two systems. Finally, we would establish security and access protocols in order to have remote connectivity at the MSC.

Our Application Development practice would take an iterative, Agile approach to development using our proprietary methodology, TEKniqueTM, which has been refined and evolved based on our experience across more than 150 application development projects. At the MSC, we would continue to define the architecture; review the data migration strategy; perform a feature estimation of the first interface adjustment; work with the solution team to define the release plan, capacity plan and project timelines; develop a high‑level interface test strategy; and finalize planning of sprint 0, the foundation sprint to adjust the first interface.

During development, the client would prioritize stories in the product backlog and we would plan sprints for each interface in the scope. The team of technical resources would be ramped up or down based on the requirements and skill sets required to modify each interface. In addition to the core project team that would be dedicated to the project throughout its duration, we would provide specialized resources as needed. The core team assigned to the project would include a delivery manager, project manager, technical architect and lead developer. Other resources, including business analysts, QA analysts and developers would be provided on an ad hoc basis, based on the demands for certain expertise that the project may call for. For example, one interface may require more SSIS development than C#, so we would staff skill sets accordingly.

Throughout the engagement, we would leverage our Project Management Office to ensure consistent use of processes, standards, collaboration tools and industry experience as defined by our project management life cycle. We would also log, track and monitor issues using the project team database, reporting updates in status reports and meetings.

The client decided to partner with TEKsystems based on our previous relationship, cost-effective solution, understanding of Agile methodology, ability to quickly scale a team and our flexibility in the level and number of skills in the MSC.

The project was completed $100,000 under budget and two weeks ahead of schedule—even after extending the testing period for additional user acceptance testing (UAT) by internal subject matter experts—far exceeding client expectations. Our solution allowed for a seamless integration of the new e-pharmacy system and ensured minimal impact across the client’s broader system and supporting applications. The client now has the benefits of a modernized, supported system while still leveraging their existing infrastructure.

Early on in the project, it became evident the client needed additional support with data migration from the legacy system to ePostRx. We worked with the platform’s developer to attain the appropriate data loaders, which then required several script modifications. The data migration was complex and time-consuming, but we were able to take on the additional scope while staying within the original budget and timeline for the project.

Initially, the client wanted to change the interfaces. However, after we became familiar with their applications and testing in their QA environment, our technical architect and lead developer recommended focusing on changing the “engine” instead. This would only involve us changing the inputs and outputs, modifying the “engine” underneath so the applications above could function as they did with the previous platform. This approach enabled us to save the client considerable time and budget while still achieving their initial goals.

After development, we went through comprehensive UAT using live data in development, testing and pre-production environments. Since there were so many environments invested in the testing phase, we were able to ensure everything worked properly before we cut over into the production environment.

During the engagement, the client also had the opportunity to learn more about Agile methodology and see it in use by our development team at the MSC. Although the client had begun learning and implementing Agile prior to this engagement, its practice was not yet mature. The client’s team integrated with our development team and participated in all ceremonies, including Scrum meetings, daily stand-ups and retrospectives. Our team coached their team through Agile practices so they could implement it in their own environment moving forward.

Throughout the engagement, we regularly communicated and provided program-level reporting on key success factors, risk mitigation activities and the ongoing assessment of project and program management. We also maintained a focus on continuous improvement, refining communication and project management processes, team resource mix, team members and/or onboarding issues that surfaced during project execution. In each status report, we updated the number of backlog story points, velocity, budget, resources, scope and open issues.

The client was satisfied with our high-quality IT professionals, our customer service and top-quality deliverables. In fact, we were so successful with this engagement that the client considered and awarded TEKsystems Global Services® a data services project following this engagement.

The partnership between TEKsystems and our client was successful because of our trusted history and our high-quality service throughout the engagement.

  • Partnership. The client expressed significant appreciation that the TEKsystems team and the client’s internal team got to the point where they worked together in unison—the client viewed us as an extension of their team.
  • Communication. From the beginning of the project, we asked the client’s project manager for the type and frequency of communication he desired to make sure we delivered to his exact expectations. We shared information about how the project was going through a myriad of channels, including weekly status updates, project manager meetings, as well as ad hoc meetings to bring up concerns and address issues immediately.
  • Clear goals. From the onset of the project, it was clear that the success of the project would be determined by three things: on-time delivery, on-budget finances and high-quality deliverables. Keeping these goals at the forefront of all our communications, reports and planning made sure that we were focused on the right goals and could take steps to ensure successful delivery.
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