Our client is an ICT service provider for the care sector, which resulted from a collaboration between several organizations in the care landscape. The company supplies software to independent care professionals, health care cooperatives and care providers; software that focuses on the automation of their planning and administration activities. Our client opted for us to modernize and expand its web portal for its customers, in order to keep abreast of the latest developments in the care sector.
All the employees at Our client have affinity with both IT and the care sector. Many of them are (former) nurses and managers in the care sector. Managing director and founder of i.e. Our client explains: “Our client was established in 2011 and provides a cloud solution for care providers. These may be self-employed professionals, but also care providers who employ several employees. With this solution we automate the planning and administration of the entire care process, from the moment of referral until the care is stopped and the costs are charged. At that time there was no suitable package for the care chain of collaborating self-employed professionals and care providers. We have had to develop it from scratch.”
Long-term Care Act
Our client has to work a lot with the funding flows from the AWBZ (General Act on Exceptional Medical Expenses), which was divided up into four other acts in 2015. The AWBZ was intended for people who require long-term care due to illness or a handicap. The Dutch cabinet wanted to radically reform the AWBZ with the objective that people could continue to live at home for as long as possible. If necessary, with support from their municipality or with care provided through their health care insurance.
Previously the regular health insurance did not cover the medical costs involved. In order to manage the care costs and improve the quality of care, the government decided to split up the AWBZ. Extramural care has since been organized by health care insurance companies and municipalities.
The remaining components of the AWBZ have been converted into the WLZ (Long-term Care Act), the ZVW (Health Insurance Act), the WMO (Social Support Act) and the JW (Youth Act).
It is clear that legislation plays an important role in the services provided by Our client, and the company needs to continually respond to the changes in the care sector, Martin explains. “In 2011, self-employed professionals were not yet directly contracted by Care Administration Offices. This was done by intermediaries that the Ministry for Public Health, Welfare and Sport wanted to eliminate. As the rake-off was considerable.” This meant that it became necessary to replace the activities of the intermediary. Our client provided a solution that enables self employed professionals to work as fully fledged care providers in areas such as referral, registration, execution, justification, reporting the number of hours worked and the evaluation of care activities.
Care chain and Our ThinkSYS
According to the MD, the care chain is comparable to a logistics chain, even though the care chain provides care services and not products. “All information and care procedures are registered in the Our ThinkSYS portal. Our ThinkSYS takes care of the entire administrative burden for care providers and self-employed care professionals, so that they can dedicate themselves to the purpose of their profession: providing care. In order to ensure a smooth process, every step in the care chain is entered into Our ThinkSYS. When the nature and the extent of the care has been determined, the care provider or the self-employed professional get to work. Self-employed professionals always work in teams, and Our client supports all the required functionality to enable this. MD: “It would go too far to explain each step in detail, but the process of reporting the hours worked and evaluation works as follows. Following the work, the self-employed care professional registers the care provided, enters their report in the Electronic Client File of Our ThinkSYS and reports the number of hours worked to the care administration office, the municipality, health care insurance company or the client. As you can see, the money for the provided care is paid from various funding sources.
The evaluation of the care in Our client can be incorporated into the Self-Reliance Matrix, which provides both the client and the care worker with a quick insight into the progress of self-reliance.”
Our client first ran a pilot with twenty-five nurses, all self-employed professionals directly contracted by the care administration office. At the time of this pilot, Our client still supplied its software as traditional software for the Windows platform. However, this no longer satisfied requirements, because Our client supported more than 1,000 self employed professionals on its platform and some self-employed professionals were working with a Mac. A new solution was required.
Our ThinkSYS cloud solution was developed to improve the service provision. “We approached CBL-Thinkwise about this,” says the MD. “They have a complete solution for developing large web applications flexibly. Together with the Thinkwise development team, we have completely rebuilt Our client environment within six months.” Client had already gained experience with the Thinkwise model driven low-code development platform. This made it possible to get started quickly. According to him, it was a strategic decision to opt for Thinkwise. “I strongly believe in a low-code model-driven approach. It allows you to develop flexibly and rapidly and the software is built in small manageable modules. So you don’t have to wait long for the implementation of new features. ”Within six months, the Our ThinkSYS application was ready for use in January 2013. The Thinkwise application is suitable for tablets, PCs and Macs and provides a fully integrated web portal that exactly meets the requirements of care providers and self-employed professionals.
Changes in the care sector require flexibility
Every year, there are many changes in the care sector. Our client has to anticipate them by continually adapting the Our ThinkSYS software. Martin: “The aforementioned AWBZ, for instance, caused major changes in the funding structure with the affiliated care administration offices, municipalities and health care insurance companies. This was a major change, for which we had to modify our portal. Martin continues: “Or consider the changes within Vecozo, the main information desk for the care sector. This platform provides a secure, reliable digital environment in which the various parties in the chain can exchange information. All these electronic messages are transmitted via Vecozo. This all had to be changed when more recipients became involved, such as the municipalities.”
Municipalities often set very different standards, for example with regard to reporting the number of hours worked. MD: “To correctly automate this procedure, you need to adjust many settings in order to get it to run smoothly. CBL helped us to do this. They can handle this complexity because of the flexibility of their ThinkWise platform. Our customers work for all the municipalities, which means that, together with CBL & Thinkwise Platform, we need to be able to respond quickly and flexibly to their requirements.”
MD: “What’s good about Thinkwise is, that it keeps our software platform future-proof. Together with the CBL-Thinkwise developers we examine possible modifications, so that we are well prepared for future situations and, for example, we can always scale up should that become necessary. With Our ThinkSYS we first of all wanted to provide software solutions for self employed professionals, but in the design of our data model we also took into account potential future customers, such as care providers with multiple employees on their payroll or self-employed professionals working in a cooperative. We now have care providers employing hundreds of employees and this section of our customer base is continuing to expand. With Thinkwise, we can anticipate this perfectly. We also see an important development in the cooperation with care professionals.
The Cooperative module in Our client supports all ongoing work processes and the settlement of invoices and payments, simply and simultaneously. In a transparent and well organized manner, all those involved know which steps to take and what has already been done.” MD mentions another example: “The development of the Personal Health Record is currently receiving a lot of attention in the care sector. Information from various systems, such as hospitals, homecare services, psychiatrists etc. are collected in the client’s own PHR. The roll out of this system will still take a few more years, but we have already taken this into account in the development of our software. The main philosophy behind Our client is: focus on the individual client. We inform CBL about new functional requirements, coordinate everything with their developers and they implement the necessary modifications in the application.”
But Martin also recognizes the benefits when applying small changes: “If a customer wants a specific function, we can have that implemented in our platform the following week. Other software suppliers normally issue an update only once a year.”
Martin concludes: “And the Our ThinkSYS App fulfills an important central function, that we can quickly set it up for care professionals and care providers. It provides access for the client and the care worker, and it facilitates communication and coordination. And its user-friendliness increases the job satisfaction of the care professional. Our client wants to provide an efficient operational environment for (care) professionals. However, the strength of ThinkSYS is mainly due to the Thinkwise development environment. This allows us to add flexible new features