eClinicalWorks (eCW) of Westborough, MA, is a market leader of Electronic Medical Records (EMR)/Practice Management (PM) software. They rank number 34 on Inc. Magazine’s listing of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America. And, amongst software companies they rank number 4. This organization of 600+ employees markets a software product that is extremely scalable. A small medical practice of just a few doctors can use it as can the City of New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In fact, the eClinicalWorks EMR/PM system is the cornerstone of the city’s prevention-oriented record keeping.
The company had been making some use of Fax broadcasting on a small scale. They had integrated their software with industry leaders like eFax.com and MyFax.com. Yet, that solution had various incremental costs. Their smaller clients couldn’t afford it and were left with the option of using generic Fax modems installed in each user site. eClinicalWorks was looking for something beyond fax modems. Although a software company themselves, eCW began to look around for a firm with specialized telephony knowledge.
In engaging Veeda Software they knew they had found a partner who could not only address these needs, but a firm with the scope and reach to implement its solution to the end users of the eCW system. In addition, they recognized that utilizing Veeda’s tools and techniques would guarantee them the fastest time to market.
This client has other telephony needs, but for a first engagement it was decided to define the scope of the project to only a narrow set of issues. It was Veeda’s understanding of the problem that led us to point out that Fax modems were not a long term solution for eCW. Their needs were best served by creating and deploying a Fax broadcasting and receiving service.
In addressing eClinicalWorks’ needs the development team at Veeda moved forward from three basic assumptions. First, all work would be performed by taking incremental steps. Second, the project would be performed in three phases. And third, the solution would be Windows-based, with a Microsoft .NET front end and a C++ back-end.
In line with these assumptions we defined the three phases for this engagement of which we will discuss the first two in this article. In order to obtain some early operational results, the project engineers created a simple Fax service using the Brooktrout TR1034 hardware. This service would be based on their existing design for the fax module, so it could be put into production right away. This also allowed us to test the transmission and reception of Fax messages in a real world setting. As part of this phase the system was designed, formally documented, coded, integrated into the eCW software, and tested in the operational environment.
At the end of the first phase eCW had a very useable, if simple, Fax service. The 2nd phase of the engagement started out with a total paradigm-changing design. Instead of looking at the fax transmissions as a printing operation, the new design addressed the fax transmission as a telephony transaction. The new design was built with a vision for easily adding elements and features within the same telephony framework in the future. With the new design reviewed and approved by eCW, Veeda engineers wrote the software for a full featured Fax service which would become the total Fax solution. Central to this phase was a complete administrative package with a user interface by which eClinicalWorks’ personnel could monitor and control the Fax service. As with all of our software, Veeda concluded this phase with a rigorous quality assurance program.
We are currently wrapping up the 3rd phase of this project. We will be writing about that effort in another experience article in the near future.