IBM and business partner Mainsoft are working together to ensure interoperability between proprietary and open standards-based software systems, which can help health care providers to better integrate patient records and deliver health care information. Thanks to Mainsoft's .NET Extensions, IBM WebSphere Portal is the first to incorporate .NET and Java equally, helping developers build usable intranets or extranets with Web services or electronic forms, regardless of whether a company has invested in open standards, proprietary software formats or both.
Health care is the third largest sector for IBM's portal business, according to internal data. Other IBM portal projects include virtual information service centres for Belgian University Hospital Ghent and Duke University Medical Center, ranked among the top ten health care organisations in the United States.
"IBM WebSphere Portal is trusted by the world's leading health care organisations because of the secure, and personalized experience that has been delivered reliably to many millions of users", stated Larry Bowden, IBM's vice president of portals and web interaction services. "WebSphere Portal makes it easy to integrate existing software assets, Web 2.0, and SOA features and now with Mainsoft's .NET Extensions, customers can easily leverage any existing .NET development skills and applications."
Healthways is a provider of comprehensive health and care support solutions. Rising health care costs and an aging workforce have contributed to the company's 36 percent compound annual growth rate over the past five years.
David Jarmoluk, director of enterprise architecture for Healthways, stated: "We knew we needed a portal solution simply because an enterprise portal makes the most sense for how we do business. Healthways offers a menu of services, and we needed a modular, 'plug-and-play' architecture in which we could easily turn capabilities on and off to meet each health plan sponsors' criteria. We also wanted to avoid the cost and time it would normally require to build new security and branding every time we brought on a new customer."
To reduce operating costs and scale the fulfillment process, Healthways' C# development team used Mainsoft's Visual Studio-based software development kit, called .NET Extensions for WebSphere Portal, to develop and deploy dozens of C# applications and components natively on WebSphere Portal, without having to rewrite their .NET applications in Java. Healthways' in-house team worked in conjunction with Java consultants from Ascendant Technology and with Mainsoft consultants.
The self-service site gives Healthways' members the ability to easily download personalized documentation designed to promote wellness among healthy individuals; slow the progressions of disease associated with family or lifestyle risk factors; and promote the best possible health for those already affected by disease. Using WebSphere Portal and Mainsoft software, Healthways completed a security-rich electronic fulfillment site, with personalization based on the members' plans and individual health needs. The portal is designed to scale to serve Healthways' current 27 million members and beyond.
Healthways also licensed the IBM Workplace Web Content Management system to store thousands of documents and better manage the reviews process, which is currently done manually. David Jarmoluk added: "We chose IBM's portal for Healthways' eFulfillment site because we could deliver a highly scalable, personalized experience in a proven production environment. And with .NET Extensions, the development experience was highly intuitive. Our C# developers were developing Java portlets on day one of a two-day training with Mainsoft consultants. As a result, the eFulfillment site went into production only five months after we started development work. We estimate that the site will pay for itself in reduced mailing and administrative costs within a year and better serve our members."
"Healthways joins a growing number of enterprise customers that have standardized application development on .NET and want to take a platform-independent course in the coming years", stated Yaacov Cohen, president and CEO of Mainsoft. "Mainsoft's .NET Extensions for WebSphere Portal provides the flexibility for enterprise .NET development teams to use the highly productive Visual Studio IDE to deliver cost-effective, scalable deployments running on WebSphere Portal server."
More IBM news is available in this VMW issue's article Carefx collaborates with CA, IBM, and Initiate Systems to deliver eHealth Initiative to North Louisiana.