Managing health Web services without 'flailing'
Providence Health System, a Seattle-based integrated delivery system
provider, has entered a Web services initiative with Infravio, Redwood City,
Calif., that provides a platform for the development, management and execution
of Web services. Providence is using the Infravio Web Services Management System
to create Profile Manager.
With 10 to 12 main computer systems across Alaska, Washington, Oregon and
Southern California, Providence wanted to create a Web service that would allow
health plan members, patients, primary clinics and hospitals to access a
person's most updated and accurate profiles, which are a collaboration of all of
the person's medical records. Typically, noted Erik Sargent, Web applications
architect in Providence's Portland, Ore., office, ''If you come into a hospital,
your medical record is stored in one system. If you go to a clinic, the
information is stored in a completely different system.''
Because Providence's computer systems range from Oracle to SQL to ''a very
old, old architecture, including one invented in 1966,'' Sargent said, it was
imperative that the organization find a comprehensive offering that could manage
Web services on all of its diverse platforms. It needed some sort of a
management layer to provide security, so it specifically looked for vendors that
could provide that. Providence considered products from Microsoft, IBM and BEA
Systems, among others, but found that they 'mostly focused on 'how do I manage
my own stuff,''' Sargent said.
Eventually, the organization turned to specialist Infravio, a company that
provides a platform for development, management and execution of Web services.
Providence is using the Infravio Web Services Management System to create
Providence's Profile Manager was up and running within three weeks. In
looking back on the project, Sargent said, ''It was very important -- even more
important than in some other application development we've done -- to work on
defining the object model and schemas right up front. If we hadn't had a
beginning like we did, we would be flailing.''
Lana Gates is a freelance writer based in Mesa, Arizona. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.