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Hiring a team and developing a stable, HIPAA-compliant web application

Company Type
HealthTech
Location
New York City
Challenge
Grow an early team, build a stable HIPAA compliant platform
Solution
Product validation, team mentoring, hiring guidance, Ruby on Rails, jQuery, React, Postgres and Elasticsearch
Outcome
Platform and services expanded, funding raised, team 5x growth

Healthify focuses on improving the social determinants of health. When a patient ends up in the emergency room, their illness is treated.  However, that patient may still lack access to basic services such as food, housing, or childcare - critical sources of stress, which are correlated with a high likelihood of getting sick again.

In order to solve this problem, Healthify builds healthcare and social services software. Their system connects social workers and hospitals with tracking features, to help them identify local social service providers to match patients’ needs. They can then see whether that patient received those social services, and if they had positive outcomes.

Previous to Healthify’s work, patients have been referred to services, but their outcomes had not been tracked in one system. The ability to improve systems around the delivery of social services to patients can lead to drastically improved health outcomes both in the short and long term. This in turn reduces service costs for health organizations, the individuals, and taxpayers.

“ thoughtbot helped us quickly build the groundwork for our product, which enabled us to fundraise earlier, and for a larger round. If we hadn’t worked with them, we could be a year behind where we are today. ”

Krishna Kulkarni, Engineering Manager, Healthify Krishna Kulkarni, Engineering Manager, Healthify

Challenge

Healthify first contacted thoughtbot at an early stage in their company’s development, when their team was less than ten people.

Healthify came to thoughtbot through knowledge of thoughtbot’s free open source gems, which supported the code that the Healthify team was using. In addition to thoughtbot’s open source work, the Healthify team familiarized themselves with thoughtbot’s web development best practices, which ultimately led the Healthify team to reach out to work together.

The mission of the project was to build a new product offering for coordinating care within a network of social services. Healthify already had customers who were using their Search product, and they wished to build on their product offering for managing patient health information. This work would lead to buy-in from additional customers and prepare them for their next fundraising round.

Solution

Through a series of short-term projects, Healthify and thoughtbot built a long-term partnership.

The two teams first worked together to build out a more robust version of the patient health management product. The Healthify team built their early stack on Ruby on Rails, jQuery, and Aptible (HIPAA compliant web-hosting). From there, thoughtbot helped them lay the groundwork for the coordinating network product utilizing React, Postgres and Elasticsearch.

In addition to working on the technology platforms for Healthify’s products, the thoughtbot team worked as quickly as possible to skill up Healthify’s engineering team. thoughtbot helped inform their technical infrastructure, brought new approaches to testing and design practices, and reformed the team’s approach to stand-ups, retros, and design sprints.

Over the course of three years, Healthify hired thoughtbot each time their development team reached a new growth period, when expansion was needed or a specialized skill set was added to their team. Healthify was scaling up quickly, and hired thoughtbot to help them at the moments when they were most needed.

With this help from thoughtbot executed during strategic periods of growth, Healthify’s departments expanded smoothly.

Outcome

Now that their platform has grown, the Healthify team is actively working with hospitals and insurance plans to develop a suite of tools to enable social work staff to do their jobs more effectively than ever before. Using Healthify, social workers can search for the right social services for their patients, share data with other social services more effectively, and track patient outcomes.

Healthify’s early work with thoughtbot set the stage for future growth. In 2017, they closed their Series A of $6.5M, led by BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners. The Healthify team has now grown from 8 to 50 people, and their service continues to improve as they add further features to their product in order to serve a larger population.

“ thoughtbot adds value by helping our team while they collaborate. They bring suggestions around process that improved the way we work. thoughtbot helped us level up our expertise. ”

Krishna Kulkarni, Engineering Manager, Healthify Krishna Kulkarni, Engineering Manager, Healthify

thoughtbot was very lucky to work with Healthify in these early stages, and to help facilitate their growth. Working together, thoughtbot was able to help Healthify build faster, hire their team, and institute best development practices for all engineers. We are excited to see their company continue to grow and the positive impact they will continue to have on social determinants of health across the country.

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