Rocky Mountain

Client Story

Rocky Mountain Health Plans

Excellent quality assurance improves processes up and downstream

Headquartered in Grand Junction on the western edge of Colorado, Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP) is part of an innovative healthcare community working to create accountable care and patients. As part of this, RMHP serves as the state’s Region 1 Medicaid Accountable Care Collaborative. This involves collecting, tracking and analyzing data from participants in 22 countries.

When Frank Orr joined RMHP in 2014 as CIO, the IT department was developing an enterprise data hub and Orr needed to introduce QA processes. Having been with a number of healthcare companies in the past, Orr understood the high level of security required around patient data. RMHP had always kept access to this data internal, but Orr wanted to bring in an offshore partner with whom he worked before – Coherent Solutions. He had a high opinion of their Quality Assurance practice.

Getting to the heart of a QA issue

Orr wanted to ensure high-quality data as the hub was being developed by introducing automated testing. While developers tested their own code manually, the bulk of testing ended up at the user level. This came late in the process and frustrated users who expected a better initial product.

Orr and the Coherent QA team found they needed to look upstream to understand why these problems persisted.  They found that developers were being given just enough detail on their assignments to create and test their own code, but they needed visibility into the bigger picture. In order to create robust use cases, the QA team needed more information. So Coherent asked to see the story cards before development began. In doing this the development, as well as the QA team, got more carefully crafted requirements, which in turn assured better working code downstream.

Coherent has the most robust QA practice I’ve ever worked with. Their offering is comprehensive, and the quality of their people is very high too. I’ve never had a Coherent resource that I wanted to replace for any reason.

<h3>Overcoming cultural, time zone issues</h3>
RMHP’s IT department has used outside contractors both onshore and off, but not on a project like this.  Orr wanted the Coherent Solutions team to provide thought leadership as well as execution to the QA practice. But he needed his department to buy into this new way of doing business.

“It took some time,” Orr said. “But as the months and then the first year went by, the onshore team found that Coherent’s QA team was competent and followed through on what they committed to.”

Coherent’s team starts their day late, around 10 AM, and ends around 7 PM to gain additional cross-over hours with their clients in the states. But RMHP found their Belarus partners were available all times of the day and night when needed. Culturally, they came to understand and respect each other as well.

“Coherent’s people are capable and assertive. They are straightforward with you about what is realistic and what is not. Our people here came to appreciate that you know what to expect from them. There are no surprises,” said Orr.
<h3>Handling sensitive data</h3>
Another concern at RMHP was how to provide the QA team with access to data they needed to test without housing anything in Minsk. It is risky to send patient information containing PII (Personally Identifiable Information) out of the country. But having managed this with Coherent’s QA team before, Orr knew it could be done.

The answer was to create a segmented, secure area within RMHP’s organically hosted servers where patient information has undergone de-identification. This ensures that all personal information has been removed from the data. The Minsk QA team then accesses only this area of the server to perform over 800 automated tests on new functionality, providing results and details to RMHP’s onshore team. Developers are then able to correct errors and send the cleaned versions to users for testing.

Which has been good news for everyone. By looking upstream to institute quality assurance processes, Coherent Solutions has helped RMHP to improve downstream results as well. As Orr noted, “Our QA team has helped us to deliver better solutions faster, and with greater user acceptance.”

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