Rotech Fills Prescription for Service-Oriented Architecture with Sonic ESB

Rotech Healthcare, a provider of home respiratory care and durable medical equipment, has deployed an SOA to automate order management and enable near-real-time visibility of patient information across disparate systems. Rotech used Sonic Software’s Sonic ESB, Sonic Orchestration Server and Sonic XML Server to build the SOA.

Rotech Healthcare markets home respiratory care equipment and services, such as home medical equipment rentals and mail-order medication delivery to patients with breathing disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. The provider operates nearly 500 locations in 48 states.

Rotech’s SOA includes a system to input orders from each patient's physician, a clinical system to track equipment and medication delivery details, a mail-order pharmacy system and customer call-center applications.

"Rotech operates two very different business models to support our pharmacy and durable medical equipment businesses,” says Albert Prast, CIO of Rotech. “Our traditional equipment rental business is almost like a cable company. We get a patient, we get them set up, and we bill every 30 days until the equipment is picked up--it’s an annuity stream. The pharmacy business is a sale that has to happen every month. If patients don’t call in or we don’t contact them to find out what additional medication they need, we don’t get the sale. We wanted a common IT infrastructure that could automate and support the various business processes of both."

Rotech selected Sonic’s SOA architecture in part because it would enable it to migrate its transactions in incremental steps, Prast says. “We have already completed a couple of initiatives that required near-real-time movement of transactions between systems. Gaining such immediate access to full, complete patient information is helping us increase our efficiency, which is very important for the patients who rely on our services.”

For example, an order for medical equipment might travel to both a back-end fulfillment system and the billing system. The fulfillment system returns an acknowledgment or tracking number, which in turn is routed to the clinical system and call center application. As a result, orders are processed more efficiently--eliminating manual data reentry--and Rotech customer care representatives have access to critical, current information when working with patients. Those same customer care representatives can also call patients to coordinate deliveries, service and additional treatment, the two companies say.