When done right, IT outsourcing can produce huge benefits — speed up time-to-market, help scale the operations at warp speed, and ensure your competitive market position through new technologies adoption.
But what does it mean “to do outsourcing right”?
‘Right’ means having three aspects in place:
- A shared strategy – when you and your vendor understand where the project is going and what goals you aim to accomplish.
- A proactive attitude – when both sides contribute to the project’s workflow, maintain an active dialog, and put a joint effort into the project’s success.
- Transparency in vision – when you keep your partner updated on the next goals and any operational changes so that you both can proactively align resources.
There’s more to IT outsourcing than just delegating some tasks to a tech vendor. At least when you strive to achieve a tangible, long-term ROI from the partnership, rather than temporarily “patching-up” a leaking area of your business.
From this perspective, the right approach to IT outsourcing means shifting from contractor-client relationships to value-driven co-creation. It is about building partnerships.
In this post, we’d like to illustrate how such a partnership model can generate substantial operational and financial benefits for both technology vendors and their clients.
German Healthcare System at The Cusp Of Digital Changes
At the end of 2019, the German parliament passed “The Act to Improve Healthcare Provision through Digitalisation and Innovation (Digitale-Versorgungs-Gesetz)”. The move proved to be very timely since the Covid-19 pandemic began several months thereafter.
Within the act, the German Ministry of Healthcare declared the following goals:
- Enhance the accessibility of healthcare apps for patients
- Present innovative digital healthcare offerings
- Establish an obligatory digital health network
- Increase the availability of online video consultations
- Streamline health services research
- Improve the security of healthcare/clinical IT systems
- Make applications more accessible and inclusive to all patients
- Implement an electronic patient record system
The ambitious e-health initiative has already shown some promising results while facing some setbacks. On the bright side, McKinsey reports that 90% of German general practitioners are now connected to the telematic infrastructure. Telemedicine consultations have increased from 3,000 doctor-patient interactions in 2019 to 2.7 million in 2020. Also, the overall interest in healthcare applications has increased significantly among German consumers.
However, the progress in healthcare digitization remains uneven across market players, partly due to strict regulatory requirements imposed by the Federal Ministry of Health. Not all digital health applications (DiGAs) meet the licensing criteria. As of September 2022, 35 DiGAs had been approved, 95 failed to be certified or were withdrawn, and another 20 were still under regulatory review. That said: the German HealthTech market is on the brink of even bigger growth with rising acceptance levels from consumers, healthcare providers, and regulators alike.
Doc Cirrus and SEMDATEX were among the first companies to bring innovative e-healthcare solutions to the German market. Doc Cirrus operates a comprehensive platform of e-healthcare services and SEMDATEX released a remote patient monitoring application. Edvantis played an integral role in bringing both products to the market, sharpening their positioning, and supporting the platforms’ growth.
Doc Cirrus and Edvantis: Behind the Scenes of Transformation
Doc Cirrus operates inSuite — a popular e-health platform, used by healthcare providers nationwide. inSuite is a secure and certified practice administration system which enables:
- Patient data storage and exchanges
- Appointment scheduling
- Electronic healthcare record keeping
- Online patient portal creation
- Telemedicine services
- Digital prescription generation
As the inSuite user base grew, Doc Cirrus wanted to capitalize on the momentum and grow even faster. However, the company felt constrained in terms of its available IT resources.
Thus began the partnership between Doc Cirrus and Edvantis in 2016. Edvantis joined Doc Cirrus at the early stage of its product development — and subsequently broadened the scope and depth of collaboration. “We needed to flexibly grow our software development team,” said Ronald Wertlen, Head of Software Development at Doc Cirrus, “and Edvantis fully integrated with our company, establishing a smooth workflow”.
Edvantis’s development team fully integrated into the Doc Cirrus software development lifecycle (SDLC) and eventually became an organic extension of Doc Cirrus’s in-house team. “Each project for us is primarily about an individual approach aimed at building a long-term partnership. In the case of Doc Cirrus, we started working as a software outsourcing company but soon saw the opportunity to take cooperation one step further,” noted Ruslan Zakharchenko, CEO of Edvantis.
Edvantis’s value-driven approach to IT partnerships meant that their specialists were actively involved in planning and delivering several core inSuite components and proactively advised Doc Cirrus on subsequent product development steps.
By being deeply integrated in the project, Edvantis was able to assist Doc Cirrus in tailoring its product to the needs of new markets. Edvantis has helped Doc Cirrus adapt its product logic and standard workflows for the Swiss healthcare market (which they have successfully entered) and add new competitive product features such as DICOM and cardio stimulator data processing.
Edvantis significantly improved the remote prescriptions procedure by developing a relevant module. Edvantis also made the product more accessible to patients and practitioners from any device by incorporating an open cloud solution architecture.
With scalable technical cloud architecture on the backend, Doc Cirrus soon realized that there are alternative ways to increase their product adoption rates — by creating a platform upon which various product features can be added as modules to the inSuite solution. Moreover, a wide range of innovative companies could target patients by embedding their products into the
Doc Cirrus ecosystem via API-based modules. Thus began the process of inSuite transformation.
Further Transformation of the Project
To accelerate product adoption, Doc Cirrus decided to scale inSuite into a marketplace of third-party integrations – e.g., apps for online appointment scheduling or cardiac monitoring – and called them “Sols” (short for solutions). Healthtech companies would be able to sell their digital health applications on the Doc Cirrus platform (like they would on a usual marketplace or an app store), and Doc Cirrus would receive a commission thereon, while increasing their own market penetration rates.
For users, it would just take a few clicks to get all the information about a specific integration and add it to the inSuite dashboard – a significant improvement in the customer experience.
Additionally, Doc Cirrus opened up access to their platform to third-party HealthTech vendors, who, in turn, could develop custom applications using the underlying inSuite architecture. As a result, a pressing need emerged for a technology vendor with expertise in both HealthTech and the Doc Cirrus ecosystem.
Accordingly, Edvantis has become the preferred vendor of choice for German HealthTech companies looking to integrate their products into the inSuite environment.
Edvantis has not only assisted Doc Cirrus in building the core product but also helped the innovator to generate a new revenue stream for the business by changing their business model from one involving pure software distribution to one with platform-based operations.
The benefits have been far reaching across the board for numerous players. Doc Cirrus has gained more users and hence more revenue. Edvantis has received a new avenue for client acquisition. And third-party HealthTech companies – like SEMDATEX – have been able to use existing features in the inSuite solution and focus their time, money, and effort on developing their product in their specific niche.
The ultimate beneficiary of this is the patient. Thanks to this partnership mentality and co-creation, a patient’s care can now involve innovative solutions which were developed by an experienced tech vendor who is highly experienced with the inSuite platform, HealthTech, and familiar with German healthcare market regulations.
SEMDATEX: How Edvantis Expertise and Doc Cirrus Ecosystem Created New Opportunities for HealthTech
SEMDATEX is a German HealthTech startup, specializing in remote monitoring solutions for cardiac patients. With the support of cardiological societies, the team conceptualized a product that would collect pacemaker data and securely transmit it to an e-healthcare application. This way, physicians could continuously monitor a patient’s cardio vitals in real-time.
After thorough research and investigation, SEMDATEX decided to use the Doc Cirrus platform as an environment for developing its product. Accordingly, they needed a vendor to build the application in the Doc Cirrus environment. SEMDATEX also sought a partner who could assemble a development team quickly and was capable of solving complex technical issues. With Edvantis, all of the boxes were ticked.
During the course of the collaboration, Edvantis advised SEMDATEX on how to build a robust data management process that adhered to security standards, Doc Cirrus requirements, and German healthcare regulations.
As a first step, Edvantis received a UI/UX mockup. Based thereon, Edvantis suggested ways to improve the final design. The team also developed a secure data management process for collecting data from pacemakers, scales, electrocardiograms, and other medical devices and exchanging this data with other medical systems. Finally, Edvantis integrated the SEMDATEX product into the Doc Cirrus platform.
“Edvantis succeeds where others fail”, noted Henrik Schmidt, CTO of SEMDATEX, “We were getting nowhere with our previous vendor, and Edvantis turned things around in no time flat.” Through Edvantis’s exceptional development skills, strong communication, and proven SDLC management techniques, SEMDATEX successfully entered the market with a robust telemedicine platform and is capturing a significant share of the market for remote care.
When “Partnership” Mentality Makes a Difference In Project Success Rates
IT outsourcing yields superior outcomes when the companies involved are aligned on the project vision, goals, and objectives. Instead of being an assembly line that takes in requirements and spews out done tasks, your vendor should be someone you can count on strategically, not just tactically.
The vendor should analyze your challenges, advise on the best way of tackling them, suggest ways of improvement and seek out how to make both of you grow. After all, good opportunities are easier to notice when you aren’t the only one who’s looking for them.
The partnership between Doc Cirrus and Edvantis is an example of the above. By achieving strong operational alignment over the past seven years, both companies have managed to substantially scale a new product, extend it into a platform others can use for launching e-health software, and engage third-party companies – like SEMDATEX – to build applications on the Doc Cirrus platform.
The potential for further scaling Doc Cirrus’s product ecosystem by adding new Sols is immense. This is especially true given the high potential for growth in the German HealthTech market as Germany’s healthcare system becomes ever more digitized.
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