The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is a federal agency in the United States Department of Health and Human Services that administers the Medicare program and works with state governments to administer Medicaid. It is the single largest payer for healthcare in the United States and provides services to over 130 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Creating a stream of relevant and timely applications and products to service their significant customer base, while ensuring compliance with federal IT regulations, poses enormous challenges to CMS.
Traditionally, it takes several hundreds of hours of manual coding to develop an application that meets the federal government’s 3-zone architecture requirement. The process is so laborious and time consuming that the solution being developed often risks being obsolete before it has even deployed. Fortunately, CMS’ healthcare technology partner, NewWave, has devised an API-based solution that develops and deploys federally compliant healthcare microservices at hyper speed.
NewWave’s mission is to work with their clients to modernize their businesses and empower them to use technology in new ways. Donghwa Kim, director of application engineering at NewWave, says, “When we solve problems, we constantly remind ourselves of three things - people, processes, and tools. And of all three, people always come first.” In keeping with this mission, the challenge of technological obsolescence at CMS was a natural fit for the company.
Powered by Flexible APIs
Using API-driven innovations, NewWave developed SmartApp, a powerful development accelerator that streamlines application start-up and delivery at CMS. NewWave compared several vendors and settled on the open source WSO2 API Manager, as it had all the features they required for the new solution, which above-all needed to be flexible. WSO2 API Manager allows customization and extensibility, in addition to supporting full API lifecycle management. It’s designed to fit into microservices architectures. “Also, WSO2 provides great support,” says Donghwa.
Based on JHipster, a Yeoman generator for Sprint Boot applications, SmartApp uses best-in-breed components like Spring Boot, Spring Cloud Components, MongoDB, MySQL, HTML5, Angular JS, React, Bootstrap, and OAuth to generate responsive and cloud-ready Java applications. This saves developers hundreds of hours in manual coding. Compared to traditional application development which can take several sprints and up to fifteen weeks to complete, SmartApp compresses project set up/plumbing, basic CRUD Domain implementation and custom development into 2-3 weeks.
The beauty of SmartApp is its simplicity. The user selects an application’s desired features from a list of menu items which then generates a secure, unit-tested, and standardized project structure specific to the user’s specifications. A fully functional application can be built in minutes, with no coding required. Features include auto-populated project libraries, architectures and database back-ends. SmartApp is also available as a Vagrant-ready Docker image.
The infrastructure supporting SmartApp is called SPADE (Self-Provisioning And Dashboard Environment). SPADE is an open-source DevSecOps platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that deploys and manages SmartApp microservices. It supports modern containerized deployments while complying with the government’s three-zone architecture. This infrastructure is web-based, cloud-hosted, API-driven, vendor-agnostic, open-source, hosted on-premise, and has dashboard functionality. SPADE also enables SmartAPP users to develop, test, deploy, and maintain microservices.
Better, Faster Healthcare Apps
Both SmartApp and SPADE make up the complete solution by which CMS can develop, deploy, and manage federally compliant, secure healthcare applications in a matter of minutes. CMS is now able to automate the long-drawn out process of application development, and by reducing the time spent on time-consuming tasks, they can focus more on delivering value to their customers.
Learn more about SmartApp and SPADE in this video:
Find out more about WSO2 API Manager.