Health plans considering self-developed payment integrity technology should ask themselves: Do we have the resources to be agile?

Iterative Software Development: A cyclical method of software development which focuses on improvements based on continual revisions and upgrades. User feedback is utilized to ensure that the software solution is successful.

In 2018, we released 33 updates to our payment integrity technology Pareo®, improvements that came directly from user feedback. Fast and flexible software development is essential in today’s digital market, which begs the question: can in-house developed software really be iterative?

It’s hard to imagine that a health plan is maximizing their resources by adding “software developer” to their byline. The more sophisticated elements of creating tech solutions — like iterative development models and Scrum processes — come by way of having the time, talent, and drive to focus on them.

Pareo® is especially attentive to user feedback, and it’s not just to make our clients feel “heard” (though that’s important, too!). We utilize the feedback that your team gives to proactively create solutions to problems before they fully surface.

Stages of Software Development

In order to effectively develop a solution to complex problems, software development follows a set process. This process consists of the following steps:

  1. Planning
  2. Designing Project Frameworks
  3. Development and Programming
  4. Testing
  5. Deployment

Software has a life cycle, termed SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle), that begins with planning and ends when a technology product is removed from the market. SDLC has many models, which include: Waterfall, Iterative, Spiral, Agile, and V-Shaped. Of these defined models, iterative is the most appropriate for large-scale development projects that need to remain flexible and responsive to varied conditions like regulations and multiple stakeholder requirements.

Iterative software development is an answer to the outdated processes that keep holding our industry back. In iterative models of SDLC, technology vendors are constantly improving aspects of their technology solution in a way that maximizes scalability but minimizes any total system downtime.

Why You Should Ask Third-Party Tech Vendors If They’re Iterative

Think understanding how software is developed and what model is utilized is too “in the weeds” for your health plan? On the contrary, these questions are essential to discovering how a tech vendor operates and how scalable a solution they are producing.

If the payment integrity technology vendor you are evaluating can’t speak to process and SDLC models, you can quickly rule them out. You’ll also be able to determine how quickly an update may come down the pipeline. Agile development produces constant updates, whereas traditional on-premise solutions are updated 1x-2x a year. Self-developed technology may never be updated.

Pareo® relies on an iterative development model because it works well in our industry. The flow of iterative development is circular, and works by repeatedly testing our technology solution to make sure it best serves its purpose. By soliciting user feedback and analyzing user behavior, we continue to work on solutions for clients that stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, this method of development allows us to consider what regulations and changes need to be incorporated into Pareo® to ensure it is functioning as a true agile solution.

How User Feedback Shapes Pareo®

When technology solutions don’t engage the end-user during development, what’s left is often an abandoned “solution” that’s left behind because it no longer meets the needs of the user. But as others have pointed out, you can’t simply ask a user if they like your product. Rather, you have to ask a series of strategic questions that solicit meaningful feedback.

When we partner with you, we partner with your associates.

The concept of a Net Promoter Score, or, learning how likely a client is to refer your product/services is extremely useful for software development. Asking additional probing questions such as “What problems do you encounter?” and “Are you satisfied with the level of customer support you receive?” are even better ways to solicit user feedback.

ClarisHealth not only captures this kind of data from our clients, but we also analyze how users engage with Pareo®. In particular, we like to look at which parts of Pareo® are utilized (and which are not). Sometimes, we learn new ways of utilizing Pareo® from user behavior! This two-pronged approach allows us to create a dynamic, fluid technology solution that users can effectively leverage in order to better do their jobs and improve efficiency.

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