For patients who’ve suffered an injury on the job, not receiving the right treatment promptly so they can recover and get back to work might mean days, if not weeks, of lost wages. Fortunately for many workers in Florida, they can attend clinics where doctors prescribe and dispense their medications onsite — no long waits, no separate trips to the pharmacy — thanks to healthcare management software, ezDispense™.
Created by Automated HealthCare Solutions (AHCS) in Sunrise, Florida, ezDispense™ electronically handles the many steps that doctors take to dispense medication to patients covered by workers’ compensation. That includes tracking prescriptions, coordinating patient information with pharmacies and guaranteeing payments from payors. The software also keeps doctors in compliance with the latest government regulations. To do this heavy lifting, AHCS created an enterprise cloud platform approximately 15 years ago that can scan through an impressive database containing 12 years of workers’ comp claims, 70,000 payor rules, and tomes of federal and state regulations.
However, as AHCS’s business grew and evolved, its legacy platform strained to keep pace. For instance, every time the state of Florida tweaked regulations on its fee structure, AHCS would manually rewrite code to ensure doctors’ compliance. As the details of healthcare policy mounted, AHCS wound up with a quagmire of programming code, much of which was no longer relevant to running ezDispense™ software. The overtaxed system would take weeks to update, slowing down the response times to doctors.
AHCS brought in OZ to clean its proverbial software house in January 2016. The firm’s analysts combed through every program, removing unnecessary or repetitive lines of code and underutilized tools.
OZ CEO Amjad Shamim recommends this Marie Kondo-style software purge for most companies. “It’s no different than when you have obsolete equipment in your home,” he says. “They clutter the room up.”
Engineers also sped processing up with new databases and shifted parts of AHCS’ architecture off its private cloud to Microsoft Azure’s platform. The firm then implemented a system for accountability, carefully documenting every coding change so an outsider could decipher precisely how it works.
“Development methodology is important,” says AHCS Chief Information Officer Ed Dibeler. “OZ’s code standard and code review keep everything in check.” As a result, the once-clunky back end of ezDispense™ slimmed down to a svelte, agile platform.
Using this pared-down system, AHCS can adapt to regulatory change more efficiently. In the past, when the company would hard code these changes, the process required four weeks of revamping, including exhausting “sprints,” when companies test and review software. With OZ’s simplified coding methodology, AHCS can now update its existing code to handle new regulations on the fly.
“These kinds of behind-the-scenes improvements can subtly transform customer experiences,” says Shamim. “The more streamlined the platform, the less doctors need to wait for notifications and claims. Even if it’s a matter of seconds, it makes a difference.”
AHCS has also saved money, estimating the work with OZ netted a 30 percent reduction in software developmental costs. AHCS expects those savings to beget more savings as time goes on, given the way that OZ structured its coding.
“We are no longer building something that we will have to change in two years,” says Chief Operating Officer Chris Reichart. “We can look to the future and have our platform morph into what’s going to be the next cutting-edge product.”
That level of sophistication is what AHCS values most about its relationship with OZ. From the very first meeting, Reichart instantly recognized a difference.
“OZ had new ways of looking at things that could help with how we developed our product,” he says. “OZ has been on other projects, with banks and different kinds of companies, and I think that really opens up our world and has changed the way we’ve written programs and done business.”
With its back end running smoothly, AHCS is now looking at new ideas for the future. The company is currently discussing plans with OZ to modernize its doctors’ interface for ezDispense™. Reichart is confident the solution will be even more transformational to the business.
“Before bringing in OZ, we would have to hire two or three people who know what’s new in software,” he says. “Now, it’s right at our fingertips.”