In their pursuit of a solution to integrate widespread mainframe data, Baycare Health System, a community-based, not-for-profit health care system in Florida, considered many approaches. Along the way, they discovered Inventu’s Flynet Viewer tools+middleware and found it to be a critical asset, saving their development team months of work, and making an integrated physicians portal a reality.
Baycare’s development team needed to provide rapid, transparent access to data across the diverse systems of nine hospitals with an array of mainframes, databases, proprietary applications and homegrown solutions. “We needed to integrate with our mainframes and we were pleasantly surprised to come across Flynet Viewer and found that it did a lot of great things for us. Not only was it easy to record sessions, but also to drop and create a web service to integrate with. Between the support that we got from Inventu, the features in Flynet Viewer, and the fact that we were able to change things around through code and not have to re-record, we decided to go ahead and use Flynet Viewer for our screen scraping,” says Sam Adams, Manager for Enterprise software engineering at Baycare Health System.
Todd Chapman, Enterprise Software Architect at Baycare, led the search for the right tool. "We looked at HATS from IBM, but it uses Java and you are tied to Eclipse and the toolsets were not for us; no Java, no Websphere. We also looked at HIS server, but found it really did not have the functions we needed. Transactional was difficult to apply and applications vendors did not support integration. Plus, we were disappointed in the session integration in HIS. It offered no IDE features, and we quickly discovered that we would have been forced to write a lot of stuff that is already included in Flynet Viewer," said Chapman.
According to Sam Adams, Baycare “created a variety of web-based portals for our users. One is for physicians and their staff, providing a single view into all clinical and financial data, including electronic medical records (EMR) and insurance records. This portal can be viewed remotely and on site to provide a unified view of data from multiple disparate systems,” Todd Chapman adds, “Flynet Viewer allows us to flow diverse mainframe and green screen data to a single-source GUI that meets the needs of our physicians, clinical staff and admissions users. In the past, users had to log into and query multiple, disparate systems resulting in tedious work and data synchronization problems. The unified system saves huge amounts of time that was once spent logging in to various systems and searching numerous screens.”
Flynet Viewer was key to creating a seamless flow of data, says Chapman. “Our developers faced deep challenges in extracting data from various legacy applications and their data schemes,most of which have poor integration capabilities. Flynet Viewer helped us overcome all of these challenges. It has really accelerated our ability to develop a common interface to launch applications, view all patient data and imaging, place orders for patient care, sign-off and authorize actions, and modify information.”
He adds that Flynet Viewer provided a more complete solution that the other products they tested. “With Flynet Viewer, all the grunt work is done for us. It’s quick and powerful because it takes care of the dirty details like record, map and autogenerate. Flynet Viewer even helps us troubleshoot issues. You can see how your application performs live. With diagnostic login, you see all the screens and you can quickly pick up where the problems are. It’s a product that really has the developer in mind.”
Sam Adams, described the role of Flynet Viewer this way. “Flynet Viewer was an incredible catalyst to productivity, it was like putting nitrous in your hemi. It allowed us to spend our time on analysis and less time doing the heavy lifting. In terms of development, the ROI is definitely there for us, it would not have made sense to do it any other way than using Flynet Viewer to do what we have done.”
Baycare’s portals, developed with Flynet Viewer, have proven very reliable, says Adams; “this thing is a champ, it keeps going and going like the energizer bunny. In about 18 months of running with constant enhancements going out we haven’t had a single production downtime due to Flynet Viewer.”
Asked for advice to other leaders of development projects integrating legacy applications, Adams offered this insight, “We couldn’t ask for a better tools or a better vendor. In fact, we really wish some of out health IT vendors would take a page from Inventu in terms of customer service, technical support, as well as stability, extensibility, and features of the product.