Under strict timelines and budgets, healthcare innovation companies must develop safe products that are regulatory compliant. With stiff competition and increasing demands from patients and physicians, many organizations find themselves searching for ways to gain a competitive advantage.
One of the ways software application companies can find that edge is within their product development processes. For instance, exchanging versioned Word and Excel documents during development to manage requirements, track progress and stay compliant isn’t enough to keep up with the growing complexity, risk and speed of today’s competitive marketplace.
Such was the case for MediSync, which innovates new methods and care models to help large medical groups achieve nation-leading clinical and cost outcomes for physicians across the United States. MediSync’s offerings for improving medical group performance spans support and consulting for group practice operations, solutions for chronic disease management, transition assistance to value-based pay models, and revenue optimization.
Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1996, the company has grown its product portfolio and customer base to include more than 170 leading medical groups. MediSync’s mission is to innovate, disrupt and transform healthcare.
Challenges with Growing Complexity
MediSync-managed medical groups are consistently recognized for best-in-class chronic disease outcomes for their patients including perennial commendations in AMGA’s “Measure Up, Pressure Down” (hypertension) and “Together2Goal” (diabetes) programs as well as CDC’s “Million Hearts” (heart failure) program.
MediSync sought to translate its care methods into software applications to scale deployment, standardize execution, and share its expertise with medical groups across America. MediSync needed to build new capabilities in software development starting with the identification of a top enterprise software executive to lead the initiative.
Ray Kaiser, Vice President of Technology at MediSync, joined the team with more than two decades’ worth of experience in developing and delivering enterprise level applications and business processes. He began by starting a SaaS division that builds applications that would integrate and leverage client Electronic Health Records (EHR) to enable care providers to better serve their patients and achieve nation-leading clinical outcomes.
Ray’s new team began by using standard office tools such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel for product development planning. Almost immediately, these tools proved to be outdated and inadequate for the complex needs of an integrated healthcare software application. He saw that the team had difficulties with versioned documents, spent way too much time conducting in-person review cycles and generally struggled to keep everyone on the same page.
Streamlining Development with Jama Software
Kaiser examined multiple product development platforms and ultimately decided on Jama Connect™ because it was easy to use, fully configurable and had cloud and integration options that MediSync’s projects required.
“Jama was so easy to use that our main challenge was going from paper to electronic,” Kaiser says. “Initially, we really weren’t sure how to apply and adapt our processes to Jama. But what we found was that we could just put it all into Jama and modify it as we needed by adding fields and relationships. It was all reconfigurable and flexible.”
Over the last year, MediSync has leveraged Jama to achieve substantial time and cost savings through better collaboration, the ability to access the platform anywhere and improved security.
“Even today, after using Jama for well over a year, we’re still finding things that help us to drive continuous improvement and to make us more efficient,” Kaiser says.
Reduced Time and Effort Among Improvements
Of all the user experience analysts and business analysts at the company, Michelle Seitz, Senior Business Analyst, uses Jama the most.
“If I’m not in meetings, I probably spend 75% of my time in Jama creating reference materials using the tech document feature, storing configuration data and making sure we have all that inter-repository,” Seitz says. “But more so, creating requirements for our software project.”
For her, the most significant benefit of Jama is the reduced time and effort it takes to complete review cycles.
“My favorite part of Jama right now is when I get a collection of requirements to send out for a review,” Seitz says. “It is so much better with Jama. It’s the first time I’ve had a product that works as seamlessly as Jama does to produce a review and get feedback without having to do all the track changes and stuff that we used to have to do in Microsoft Word.”
Connecting Platforms Through OpsHub
MediSync uses Jama for requirements management and Azure DevOps (previously known as Visual Studio Team Services and Visual Studio Online) for their sprints, code management and deployment functions.
While Azure DevOps allows the team to enter user stories, it doesn’t have the robust functionality of Jama Connect — that’s where OpsHub comes in. MediSync uses OpsHub to connect these two platforms, allowing each team to work in the software they feel most comfortable in as well as keeping all parties aligned.
“The OpsHub user interface is intuitive, configurable and provides the functionality needed with the option of doing more advanced functions when needed,” Kaiser says. “We are doing two-way integrations where we update fields in Jama to show statuses from Azure DevOps. So our business analysts don’t need access to Azure DevOps to stay up to date on the progress of our engineering team as they develop and test.”
MediSync especially appreciated the extra support they received from Jama during the creation of their first OpsHub integration. “Jama’s Professional Services team was extremely helpful in understanding our process and knowing how to best achieve our goals with OpsHub,” Kaiser says.
Gaining Value Through Efficiency
Both Kaiser and Seitz agree that Jama has become the backbone of their product requirements planning process. Kaiser believes that Jama has saved 80% of planning time that previously would have been wasted on meetings, sorting through versioned documents and emails, and consolidating feedback in review cycles.
“It’s definitely been a big help in facilitating and communicating with everybody,
Seitz says. “The team loves it when they see a review come across their email from me. Then, when I give them only a couple days to do it, they usually hop on it under our tight deadlines.”
With so much on the line as they prepare to launch their new products, the team agrees that the switch from a paper-based system to a digital one was well worth it.
Between the saved time and reduced frustrations, MediSync is cleared to focus on creating better outcomes for patients with chronic illness. And MediSync already has several new products on the roadmap to build with Jama.
As Kaiser put it, “I honestly don’t think anyone on my team could go back to a development process that relies so heavily on using Microsoft Word and Excel. We are far better with Jama Connect.”
This blog was originally published by Jama on their website.