By Holly Hudson, AWS Community Lead – Experience Digital

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Many industries are beginning to recognize the vast value proposition of serverless architecture, which drives observability, lowers cost, and increases the potential for scalability.

In the medical industry, paper-based resources were traditionally the preferred method of data storage due to the slower adoption of digital technologies. The primary concern regarding transitioning to the cloud often relates to data security, as the process is commonly misassociated with a loss of control when outsourcing.

Given the sensitive nature of the data capture process within the health landscape, humanizing the experience when digitizing information is crucial, with a keen focus on a personalized user experience not to be compromised on.

For some organizations, the reluctance stems from these key challenges, resulting in the healthcare industry having one of the lowest cloud technology adoption rates within the market.

The key to addressing these reservations lies in the approach taken to design and deliver on the fundamental capabilities of serverless architecture, building a strong business case for the transition.

In this post, I will dive into the process of converting offline resources into a broadscale digital toolset for MedHealth as part of a roll-out across Australia. I’ll explore how the core components, reliant on AWS Lambda, are complementary and why keeping user experience top of mind is critical in driving project success.

Experience Digital is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner specializing in IT automation, mobile, cloud, and data solution implementation. Experience Digital is a validated AWS Lambda Service Delivery Partner as a result of our deep expertise and demonstration of successful customer delivery.

A Customer-Focused Approach to Serverless

The advantages of AWS Lambda are extensive, so intertwining this service within the project delivery for MedHealth was a key aspect of its success.

MedHealth is a broad set of industry-leading health, medical, and employment brands in the government and private health sector designed to deliver the best possible health and employment outcomes. With a core focus on personal support, they cover all major medical and allied health disciplines to provide support to those seeking assistance with returning to employment, mental health issues, and major injuries.

Arguably the most enticing feature of AWS Lambda is automation, which provides businesses with the opportunity to focus on operations and scalability to support growth.

Personalization is also key when offering a cloud solution; this ensures alignment with specific scalable requirements, as opposed to simply replicating traditional processes when taking them online.

According to Rowlands (2019), the “digital health era is citizen-centric. It is driven by citizens’ demands that their health and wellbeing are controlled by them, and citizens’ expectations that health services respond to their needs—digitally, with workflows embedded within their life patterns rather than within the patterns of the convenience of health service providers.”

With this intent, Experience Digital focused strongly on customized design when delivering MedHealth’s brief to develop their assessment tool and health coaching program for the web application Positivum.

Positivum is an online assessment and health coaching tool developed in partnership with Monash University. It is designed as a platform aimed to gather information and tailor guided coaching to shift beliefs and perceptions in relation to the user’s health, ability, and work.

For companies focused on business optimization, it’s integral they focus on measurable results such as increased return on investment (ROI), and factor in tangible outcomes such as productivity and consistency.

Focusing on user experience for customer-centric applications, especially those seeking to gain insight from data collection, should be a primary objective. This goes in tandem with a clear understanding of the functional requirements to ensure maximum quantifiable benefits are also seized.

The goal of streamlining the return-to-work process for MedHealth meant the scope of work centered on building an application containing data-sensitive questions. These focus on perceptions and beliefs and serve to provide health, wellness, and employment support for those returning to work who have challenges in relation to obtaining employment (which may include psychological or physical disabilities).

Due to the nature of the project requirements, Positivum was designed as the go-to platform operating as a tailored diagnostic tool to capture customers’ important personal data. With the user’s data input serving as a gateway for further analysis to distinguish the categorized level of support delivered, the application’s design had to reflect confidentiality and professionalism.

An AWS-Integrated Cloud Solution

Experience Digital’s approach to this project involved utilizing a microservices architecture, as the solution needed to be scalable and low cost.

AWS Lambda was chosen because it lowered the cost for MedHealth, and it reduced the infrastructure and environment maintenance load on the MedHealth team. Lambda essentially removed the challenges associated with environmental and security updates.

Lambda is highly scalable, so the solution can grow as demand grows over time. The flexible pricing model also means MedHealth is only billed for the function minutes plus network egress.

Following the roll-out of the Positivum tool and its inevitable success, the framework was duplicated to scale further, adding in additional features and new assessment categories. This was made seamless through Lambda utilization.

The solution also leveraged Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for its capability to minimize wait times and provide higher availability. This captured the necessity for demand flexibility, whilst not paying for unused compute capacity.

The component-driven design meant that each Lambda function could serve a decoupled task, such as the authentication system or survey creation. Lambda operates to process assets like profile images to Amazon S3 buckets; it also uploads files and transforms completed surveys into PDF files.

Experience Digital’s analysis concluded MedHealth’s existing database had deeply nested data that caused unnecessary reads. It was a matter of consistency, so Experience Digital migrated a messy, unoptimized database to Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL. This provided the benefit of low maintenance and optimal performance outcomes, as well as fit-for-purpose data security and risk profile.

The migration further allowed for object manipulation due to how relational the datasets were, combined with the fact the third-party tools being used by MedHealth were compatible with relational databases. Additionally, it allowed for further scalability and task automation.

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Figure 1 – Positivum horizontal framework.

Transformation Through Goal-Driven Migration

Moodl is a learning management system (LMS) that uses the power of open source technology to provide an efficient, customizable platform. Moodl provisions a high level of functionality and integration accompanied by an attractive price point.

These benefits drove Experience Digital to migrate MedHealth to this hosting solution.

Recognizing and upgrading outdated code, combined with focusing on the sharp, intuitive design, was made even simpler using Moodl.

The goal of humanizing the data capture process involved allowing the Positivum platform to manage users as cases instead of entities. This proved instrumental in streamlining the integration, as users were guided through the questionnaires.

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Figure 2 – Positivum dashboard’s preliminary assessment results.

Once the user has completed their first assessment, the relevant interactive SCORM packages are matched to the individual’s needs, and associated health coaching and resources are provided.

Positivum facilitates the delivery of metric-based scores to users and provides re-assessments to determine progress and reallocate resources, if necessary.

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Figure 3 – Positivum dashboard’s assessment results overview.

Optimized Outcomes

Through itemized integration, Positivum was implemented across the sites of MedHealth, serving to shift traditional perceptions and beliefs within the medical industry through the update of technology.

The platform currently transcends industries, serving clients with injuries as a result of worker’s compensation and motor vehicle accidents and disabilities. Furthermore, MedHealth has multiple large contracts with national employers and insurers who utilize Positivum to support their employee’s wellbeing.

Optimized user experience exists as a result of incorporating clear and simple action-oriented prompts formulating behavioral insights.

Hosting the solution on AWS provides enhanced privacy and security, provisioning the ability to manage different access levels for associated clients—something that was not a possibility before migration.

Improved analytics and self-service capabilities provide opportunities for further categorization, providing aggregate data and updates on utilization—by company, nationally, or state-wide. This is extremely beneficial functionality to support reporting requirements as the tool experiences higher adoption and further scaling.

The cost-saving benefits deliver on the fundamental capability of serverless architecture, which further shifts outdated perceptions of digital transformation. This is achieved by offering the tool as an additional option, alongside delivering programs face-to-face, knowing user engagement has not been compromised.

To further aid cost optimization, the ability to add additional features and new assessment types is provided for minimal investment through straightforward replication of the key frameworks.

Conclusion

Since its launch, MedHealth has seen a 100% successful shift to the use of the digitized tool, with over 20,000 registered users nationally.

Positivum has been referred to as “life-changing” in the ability to provide a tailored experience, as well as the opportunity to reach customers in regional areas which were often not able to previously partake in these assessments.

Positivum is an example of where the health industry has further adopted serverless architecture driving business practices. The application acts as a continual gateway in shifting traditional processes.

Experience Digital’s innovative use of AWS Lambda was the keystone in the delivery of this successful project and acts as a framework for replication to exemplify further scalable opportunities in future projects.

The content and opinions in this blog are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

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