Medifé cuts delivery time for healthcare by 92% with Red Hat

Argentine health insurance provider Medifé sought to transform from paper-based, manual processes to responsive, digital experiences. The organization replaced its legacy environment with a container- and microservices-based infrastructure, built with Red Hat technology and supported by agile work approaches. Now, Medifé can deliver new services to customers 92% faster and scale to accommodate rapid changes in demand—such as increasing its telemedicine staffing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and processing 400% more documents with its new core IT platform. As a result, the organization can provide more value to its members and partners and serve as a digital leader in the healthcare industry.

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  • Cut delivery time for patient- and provider-friendly digital resources by 92%
  • Processed 400% more invoices with new core IT platform
  • Achieved 9 times greater telemedicine staffing and 100 times greater session availability to meet COVID-19 demand

Transforming from paper-based to digital health insurance services

Medifé is a non-profit organization that provides affordable, comprehensive health insurance to 300,000 people across Argentina, connecting customers to approximately 30,000 healthcare providers. 

The organization sought to scale its operations and expand its portfolio to better meet customer needs. However, Medifé’s inflexible legacy architecture and waterfall development approach made it difficult to keep up with the healthcare industry’s digital innovations. More than 90% of its services were delivered in person or by phone, with manual, paper-based administration. As a result, significant process changes took an average of six years to implement—and even small changes could take up to six months.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated Medifé’s need to digitize its customer experience and improve its responsiveness. Its telemedicine services experienced massive demand, with tens of thousands of incident documents received to support 60,000 cases per month.

“In addition to enabling our staff to work remotely, we had to ensure medically vulnerable people in the most remote areas could continue to access critical healthcare services,” said Facundo Trillo Quiroga, CIO at Medifé. “To accommodate the spike in demand, we needed to scale our telemedicine operations and implement smarter processes.”

Adopting container and integration technology to meet new business challenges

After consulting analyst firm Gartner and completing benchmark testing, Medifé decided to build its microservices-based architecture using Red Hat technology. “We chose Red Hat based on its wealth of expertise in the healthcare sector and powerful open source technology,” said Quiroga.

Working with implementation partner OpenDev Pro, Medifé adopted Red Hat OpenShift to build an enterprise Kubernetes container foundation for microservices-based, cloud-native applications, including monitoring and authentication. Its automation capabilities are enhanced by Red Hat Process Automation Manager, a platform for developing containerized microservices and applications that automate business decisions and processes. Additionally, Red Hat 3scale API Management, part of Red Hat Integration, provide components for effective service integration across Medifé’s new digital infrastructure, including service orchestration application programming interfaces (APIs) and low-latency messaging. Red Hat’s single sign-on (SSO) technology provides additional access control capabilities for this new back-end environment.

Medifé engaged Red Hat Consulting to help its teams build the skills needed to accelerate its cultural and technology shift. “We needed to mentor the team and give them the tools and knowledge to develop successfully with these new technologies,” said Quiroga. “Red Hat’s consultants helped us quickly adapt to new ways of working and accelerate the benefits of adopting open source.” 

Supporting customers, providers, and staff with responsive, scalable services

Cut delivery time for patient- and provider-friendly digital resources by 92%

The shift to digital processes has helped Medifé provide valuable services to patients and healthcare providers throughout Argentina, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic created massive industry shifts towards remote care. Its new telemedicine service and several new apps to support this shift, including a monitoring app for vulnerable people and COVID-19 patients living alone during lockdown. Another new app helped a team of 100 doctors monitor COVID patients across the country.

“Our dedicated telemedicine channel is helping us build stronger connections with and between the people who matter: our customers and healthcare providers,” said Leonardo Lamas, General Manager, Medifé. “This service has helped put us at the forefront of innovation in Argentina.”

Other new offerings include an epidemiological report that provides information on the disease’s spread to a central database, helping healthcare providers intelligently allocate resources to ensure patients receive necessary medical support.

Medifé used Red Hat technology and agile work approaches to deliver these new experiences 92% faster than before—in months, rather than years. Red Hat OpenShift provides a responsive, modular infrastructure for iterative work. With Red Hat Fuse and 3scale API Management, the organization can efficiently integrate these services—as well as related data sources—while maintaining the ability to extend or deploy them independently as needed. 

“Through our website, patients can attend to all their transactional, administrative, and billing needs dealing with admissions, new memberships, and coverage changes,” said Fernando Coppolilo, Health Services Manager, Medifé. “Members can contact us through instant messaging or the website, improving their quality of care without leaving their homes.”

Improved staff efficiency and collaboration—even while remote

Replacing paper-based, manual processes with digital, automated workflows has helped Medifé’s teams adapt to modern business demand—including shifting to remote work in just a few days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With Red Hat’s SSO technology, more than 1,800 users can simultaneously access Medifé’s systems to work on new and improved services—as well as provide customer support—without disruption. As a result, essential resources can keep moving to ensure critical healthcare services are funded without delays.

A new billing platform hosted on Red Hat OpenShift has also helped the organization’s administrative staff process 400% more invoices, resulting in fewer accounts uncollectible, debts that have little chance of being repaid due to inability to find the debtor or lack of proper documentation. Additionally, introducing highly available video conferencing has helped thousands of remote workers collaborate virtually. “During the pandemic, maintaining strong digital connections to associates in the healthcare sector is essential,” said Lamas. “The container-based environment provided by Red Hat OpenShift helped us scale and adapt to achieve the connectivity we need to work more efficiently, no matter where our employees are located.”

Despite the potential for delays and setbacks due to the pandemic, Medifé has cut the time needed for processes related to launching new platforms, apps, or features from six months to two weeks. Red Hat Process Automation Management contributed to this improvement by streamlining and automating tasks and optimize policies and processes for development of containerized applications in Red Hat OpenShift.

Responded to massive demand increase with agile scalability

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic required Medifé to scale dramatically—and quickly—in response to massive growth in demand. A ten times increase in network capacity has supported the company’s shift to remote, video-based work.

“Red Hat OpenShift helped us scale our telemedicine consultation staffing to more than 100 times greater to ensure remote patients could access a physician and get care,” said Leonardo Lamas, General Manager, Medifé. “We can reuse components across multiple applications to scale our services—both internal and member-facing—without affecting availability of critical healthcare.”

Preparing for new healthcare challenges

Medifé plans to continue using the more efficient, digital processes and services it has established with Red Hat technology to address the next big healthcare challenges.

“The last thing you want in any business is technology that holds you back. Red Hat didn’t just help us improve our time to market. They also helped us develop greater confidence in our cultural transformation and become a digital healthcare leader,” said Quiroga. “We’re proud that we can use this technology foundation to connect more closely with the rest of the business and with our customers.” 

About Medifé 

Medifé is a leading Argentinian non-profit providing insurance products to help citizens access affordable healthcare services. It has more than 60 branches across the country and more than 300,000 customers. Its team of 2,500 employees connects customers to a network of 30,000 healthcare providers to help people stay healthy for longer.

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