AMC Health

Collaboration & Scalability:
How AMC Health Works with Spark Digital to Develop the Future of Telehealth Technologies

Snapshot

AMC Health connects clinicians with patients through a telehealth platform that collects data from bluetooth-enabled biometric devices and delivers the information into a platform for clinicians to monitor or for use in clinical trial research. When needed, biometric indicators, such as an elevated heart rate or blood glucose level, can trigger an intervention by a clinician. The platform reduces inperson visits while increasing the frequency of patient-clinician interaction. The result is lower costs and improved health outcomes, which is great for patients and for caregivers and insurers.

Starting with strong in-house lead engineering and client-side product ownership, AMC Health needed a partner who could become part of their existing team. Because workflows are variable, AMC Health also needed their partner to scale efforts up and down according to their current need. With Spark Digital, they found it was possible to have a core team of collaborators and to have new talent on-deck as they pushed towards new milestones.

Business

Challenges

AMC Health connects clinicians with some of the neediest patients for whom constant monitoring is critical. Flawless data collection and analysis and alert systems are protecting human life. If doctors and clinicians aren’t convinced of the technology’s fidelity, they simply won’t use it. AMC Health needs to satisfy stakeholders with different needs. For health insurance providers and employers, the technology must reduce cost. While for clinicians, the most important considerations are the quality of care given, ease-of-use and making the Telehealth experience as good or better than in-person visits.

Results

  • Completed four device integrations including, blood pressure, oximiter, glucometer and a scale. Presently working on four more devices.
  • Achieved high QA coverage with over 150 tests running continuously throughout ongoing development and integration work.
  • Develop high-quality reusable code, synchronized with QA to reduce the number of flags.

Technology

Challenges

The first challenge is to collect accurate data from biometric devices in patients’ homes. The ever-expanding supply of bluetooth-enabled devices that clinicians want to use to monitor patients must be accommodated, and because there is no standard for how these devices communicate, a custom integration is required for each.

The second challenge is to aggregate information from patients’ into a caleable platform clinicians use to monitor patients health, which must be accurate and easy to use. Further, we needed to build alerts into the platform that could alarm clinicians if certain biometric data required intervention. For example, if blood glucose levels rise or fall below certain thresholds a clinician will receive an alert which will trigger them to connect via video portal to assess the patient.

Special attention needed to be given UX design of the mobile and web app because many of the patients using the platform are typically elderly and may have vision problems or other physical challenges that could make it challenging for them to use the technology. Simple, intuitive UX design was essential.

With so much functionality in play across so many devices, QA became a central Technology challenge that required robust QA automation throughout a continuous integration and development pipeline.

Results

  • Completed four device integrations including, blood pressure, oximiter, glucometer and a scale. Presently working on four more devices.
  • Achieved high QA coverage with over 150 tests running continuously throughout ongoing development and integration work.
  • Develop high-quality reusable code, synchronized with QA to reduce the number of flags.

Our Approach

We built a core team of collaborators that had experience with the essential technologies including, Node.js, AngularJS, AWS and Cassandra. AMC Health lead engineers collocated with us in our offices for the initial few weeks where we worked together to build a backlog and begin charting a development program.

Together with AMC Health, we were able to forecast their future need for additional talent including mobile developers and UX designers. That way, we had those resources on-deck when AMC Health needed them.

The Team

The Spark Digital team for this project now consists of a core group of three front-end developers, one back-end developer, and a QA automation engineer. Over the past year plus, we have scaled the team up and down and across many functions depending on the nature and urgency of AMC’s specific need. We’ve had a few as 3 people on the team and as many as 13 throughout our ongoing engagement.

Working with the Client

As a long-term partner AMC Health and Spark Digital both made meaningful investments in our relationship. They came to our offices to meet with our engineers face-to-face. During that time, they also shared their deep expertise in Node.JS through training sessions with our team. We invested by maintaining a constant recruiting effort in anticipation of their future need so that when they needed to ramp up activity we’d be able to bring on experienced engineers quickly.

While our team works together in our offices every day, the AMC Health team was almost entirely remote. Using the Sococo virtual office app, we are able to create a feeling of constant togetherness in between our daily scrums and weekly sprint planning sessions.

As product owners, AMC Health product managers and lead engineers led the charge, but through a collaborative and inclusive relationship Spark Digital engineers took every opportunity to add value and offer advice along the way. Spark Digital Development Manager, Martin Meliendrez described of the relationship this way: “AMC is not a client. They are a partner.”

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