Nuna

Systems design and technical consulting

We helped this healthcare and data analytics company completely revamp their data pipeline and deployment process to meet a critical product deadline for one of their largest customers and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.

 
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Challenge

Nuna provides healthcare data and analytics solutions for its clients and needed help building a secure data environment to house sensitive health information.

Why

PHI is pretty scary stuff to be handling. The financial penalties for mishandling it can be severe, so Nuna reached out to our experts to ensure the data environment would be built safely and securely.

A wrinkle in the plan

While we were brought in to build the data environment, we always begin client engagements with a comprehensive research phase that assesses systems, software, and teams. Nuna leadership thought their foundational delivery platform was done, but our assessment identified significant gaps in releases, code quality, and project management. We surfaced the following issues:

  • They weren’t running an iterative work cycle well and tasks weren’t well-defined.

  • They were not running fully automated testing prior to shipping releases, which meant it took multiple engineers a full week to ship product updates.

  • Senior people were not working side by side with junior people to make sure things were working well.

  • There weren’t demos to verify tasks had been done correctly.

We felt strongly that we needed to help them build a stronger infrastructure prior to building what was asked. So, we drafted a system design proposal to revamp their entire engineering operation so it would be able to support the work that came next.

What we built

Agile development process

  • Reduced release times from 11 engineers taking five days to one engineer taking one hour.

  • For one specific project, we reduced release times even farther — down to ten minutes.

Cloud infrastructure

  • Built CI/CD infrastructure on AWS for a big data processing pipeline which was secure and HIPAA-compliant.

  • Migrated from 3-day manual AWS deployments to 10-minute fully-automated CI/CD deployments while satisfying both HIPAA and government compliance requirements.

  • Set up and configure Jenkins to manage hundreds of high-availability deployments in the cloud which were secure and HIPAA compliant.

  • Satisfied government architecture, deployment, and security requirements to obtain Authorization to Operate (ATO) for work on Medicare and Medicaid data.

  • Ripped out home-grown over-complicated AWS management system and re-built it, reducing their bill by $30,000/month.

Data processing system

  • Architected and built a big data processing pipeline to analyze medical records on AWS.

  • Built an analytic dashboard to provide health data insights.

  • Satisfied government architecture, deployment, and security requirements to obtain Authorization to Operate (ATO) for work on Medicare and Medicaid data.

Our impact

Nuna’s issues were typical of a scaling startup — they were focused on doing as much work as quickly as they could and let infrastructure slip because of it. We helped them set a foundation that would allow them to meet the immediate customer need of a secure data pipeline, but also scale for years to come. Our work with their team saved them $250,000 in staff time and resources every single time they released a new product. Not bad, eh?