Innovating the healthcare sector with Swisscom's Medical Connector - [Case Study]

Project Overview

The Medical Connector Suite is a DICOM-standard data communication solution with no file-size restrictions for service providers and institutions in the healthcare sector. DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) is a global standard for sharing and managing medical imagery and data.

Medical Connector grants its users access to a network of specialists for sharing patient files considering security regulations. DICOM data and other attachments are transferred and saved consistently. Today, for both medical specialists and patients alike, having an innovative product like Medical Connector is not just ‘nice-to-have’, it’s essential.

The project's scope is to refactor and enhance the basic block of the Medical Connector, including the Medical Connector UI and application server.

Features included are:

• Emergency channel for priority image transmission in urgent cases

• Bidirectional exchange (from medical specialists to patients and the other way around) of DICOM images, documents, and structured data over a virtual network

• Fast and secure communication platform for medical service providers

• Connected to more than 200 hospitals that use Medical Connector

Client background & business context

Swisscom is one of Switzerland's best-known, most trustworthy, and most valuable companies. Swisscom, Switzerland's leading telecoms company and one of its top IT companies, is headquartered in Ittigen, close to the capital city Berne.

Swisscom offers residential customers an extensive range of digital TV, mobile telecommunications, and other services. In the B2B segment, its portfolio includes network, cloud, and ICT services. Swisscom Health is the branch that aims to digitalize medical services in Switzerland.

Currently, over 200 hospitals are covered by Medical Connector, making it a renowned self-selling solution widely used throughout the healthcare sector. Swisscom has a comprehensive strategy regarding the healthcare industry. It provides service providers and funding agencies with appropriate information and communication services.

Challenges

From a technical point of view, Medical Connector was a solution that was implemented 20 years ago, making it quite challenging to adapt to modern tools. Legacy app support and creating an improved user experience were two endeavors in which we were happy to help Swisscom Health give Medical Connector a modern and fluent look and feel.

In the first stage, we started to map the process while understanding the needs and what solution would fit the final user's needs. In the second step, we moved on to the technical side by completing the technical documentation with details to follow the requirements in the third phase.

Our Approach

The approach was to refactor and enhance the Medical Connector user interface; we also needed to include the back-end API refactoring. Many of the development procedures that we would ordinarily perform for different operating systems are consolidated in an API back-end.

Features and Functionalities

• Save & Send messages with attachments

• Reorder priority for delivery Inbox functionalities (download, trigger rules, delete and mark as complete etc.)

• Journal functionality to track messages both sent and received

• Dashboard

• Handling messages for delivery

Benefits for the End user

The main benefit the user gets is a seamless communication flow and automatic, cross-organizational accessibility.

Today, with Medical Connector, communication is more straightforward since it is a user-friendly solution that allows automatic, cross-organizational accessibility which means that all hospitals upload medical imagery in a common pool, accessible from everywhere. It enables users to download radiological image data and other documents via a web browser.

Technologies

User Interface - Angular

Backend - Java 11

Backend - Spring Boot 2

Backend & User Interface - OpenAPI

Backend - Maven

Backend persistency layer - Hibernate

Backend - Spring Data

Backend - Spring Security LDAP

Backend API layer - Spring MVC

Backend - MapStruct

Team Members

1 - Project Manager

1 - KAM

2 - Backend Developers

2 - Front-End Developers

1 - UI/UX Designer

1 - Tester

Results & Impact

Currently, it is a work in progress. Four demo sessions have passed, and the feedback received is more than promising, and in line with the solution envisioned by the team. The impact on the business and the user experience has improved. We are confident that implementing new technologies will create an innovative product  that will help Swisscom Health deliver a modern digital solution.

Next step? We mind your business

Successfully finishing the scope of the project and delivering to Swisscom Health a solution that is stable, easily understood, used, and supported for future development activities.

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