The NHG issues national medical guidelines for general practitioners. The guidelines have been incorporated in the NHG Formulary. GPs can use the NHG Formulary when prescribing medication. Approximately 65% of Dutch GPs use this through their GP Information System (HIS)
The previous CMS (Content Management System) in which the NHG managed the Formulary had several problems. The introduction of new regulations was complicated and therefore labor-intensive and prone to error.
In addition, various functions were created over the years that were no longer used. The delivery of the NHG Formulary was also a complicated manual process with a risk of errors. The NHG had many wishes for improvement that the old system could no longer provide.
Sping has been asked by the NHG to design and develop an improved custom CMS in which the NHG Formulary can be maintained safely and efficiently.
The NHG has appointed a product owner for the correct supervision of this development process. Together with the product owner and other stakeholders, Sping conducted thorough user research in a design period of three weeks and created a completely new user experience. The new design has been developed into a prototype and extensively tested with the users. Read more about this design process.
The new CMS was developed within three months in various sprints with an agile team from Sping. During this process, we regularly tested together with the NHG to be able to process feedback immediately. For the NHG this was also an important introduction to an agile working method. The first version of this CMS has now been taken into use and we are making plans for further development with the NHG.
With the new CMS, the NHG has an application that is ready for the future:
Navigating through the content of the application has been completely renewed. The powerful search function limits the number of clicks required and there is much more overview because various panels can be expanded and collapsed depending on the context.
The entering of regulations has become much clearer and faster. Thanks to the breadcrumbs and visibly linked models, the user knows exactly what is being edited and what impact this has on the rest of the data. This means fewer mistakes and a lot of time is saved.
We have added a changelog that keeps track of which changes have been made by which user. Colleagues can now ask each other more quickly to do a review without the reviewer having to search where exactly the first colleague had made a change.
Publishing a new version is almost completely automated, making it less prone to errors and requiring less specific knowledge. In this way, other colleagues within the NHG can also take over this (previously technical) task.
Flexible but robust
The development environment is set up with Docker. This ensures that every developer sees an identical environment as it will run on production. This keeps the software flexible, yet robust. It also supports the agile way of working better.
We have built the CMS on the most recent version of Ruby on Rails and use the latest standards. The new system is secured behind a firewall and prevents users outside the NHG from entering the CMS. We have also replaced manual tasks with automated, asynchronous tasks in Sidekiq. This saves the NHG a lot of time and also ensures that it is less prone to errors.
Migration of data
Upon delivery, we imported all content to the new system. This export is line by line compared to the export the old system would make. The result is completely consistent: the data is correct and validated and can now be made available to the GPs’ system.
Together with the NHG, we can look back on a very successful development process. The desired product was delivered within deadlines and within budget. The objectives to replace the old system and to be able to work faster have been achieved. The NHG has been able to learn from the agile way of working and will apply this in more projects. We are currently discussing the goals for 2020. There are various extensions, improvement ideas, and functional requirements to keep the CMS future-proof and to make the input even easier.
Product Owner NHG
“Sping really looked into our situation and was therefore able to connect with us as a company. You notice that everyone is involved in the project, which means that the product keeps getting better. In the end, much more was made than was initially thought, really great! ”
“At Sping, the balance between business and friendly is well adjusted, creating an atmosphere of transparent and clear communication. The end result is well attuned to us and the technology behind it is tailor-made. A huge improvement. ”
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