MDI develops healthcare analytics and automated claims-processing software that simplifies an otherwise tedious process. The company needed a visually appealing way to display medical-claims data to customers and wanted to enable real-time delivery of this data. MDI teamed with Web development firm New Age Solution and used Microsoft Silverlight 3 to build an enticing interface for two business applications: Viewpoint Claims Assessment and Viewpoint Analytics. The development tools supported a short development cycle and both applications were completed in a six-month time frame. Upon project completion, MDI succeeded in helping customers more easily digest information through an interface filled with animations and 3-D graphics. In addition, customers have real-time access to data and MDI has given itself a competitive edge within its industry.
Based in Florida, MDI works alongside payers, self-funded employers, and government agencies to create custom healthcare solutions that improve quality of care and provide actionable information for faster, more informed business decisions.
||With Silverlight, designers have the freedom to mold applications by using animations, 3-D perspectives, and more. They finally have the power to create something more than just a rotating item.
||Henry Lee, President and Founder, New Age Solution
Processing medical claims is tedious and prone to coding errors. Administrators analyze stacks of paper to ensure bills are correct, to familiarize themselves with patients’ medical histories, and to predict future needs and risks. MDI simplifies this process with business applications that automatically analyze large batches of electronic medical claims and identify billing errors. Despite the powerful and fast back-end processing, MDI’s business applications lacked a visually appealing way to present information to customers.
“We realized we could provide significant value to customers by using stunning visualizations to present clinical medical information and by using animations and graphics to facilitate how administrators analyze a patient’s medical history,” explains David Darnell, Vice President of Software Research and Development for MDI.
To accomplish this goal, MDI wanted to use technology that would enable an efficient development process, support real-time updates to customers, and run across multiple platforms and clients.
MDI partnered with Web design and development firm New Age Solution. With a team of three developers and one designer, the companies spent six months creating two business applications: Viewpoint Claims Assessment, for medical claims processing, and E.A.R.L.®, a component of MDI's Viewpoint Analytics, which enables proactive patient analysis and health management. To create these business applications, the team used Microsoft Silverlight 3—a powerful development platform for creating engaging, interactive user experiences for Web, desktop, and mobile applications.
“We knew Silverlight would provide us with the visual ‘Wow’ factor that we wanted to implement within our business applications,” says Darnell. “Given New Age Solution’s superior knowledge of Silverlight and the broader Microsoft technology stack, it was an easy decision to choose them as our design partner.”
Developing Viewpoint Claims Assessment
Viewpoint Claims Assessment combines Silverlight with MDI’s proprietary claims-processing technology. Behind the scenes, the application interacts with a powerful computer grid that runs on Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. To display real-time claims information in the user interface, developers used the duplex client in Windows Communication Foundation, as seen in Figure 1, and implemented a subscribe-and-publish model for data retrieval. Once the client makes a connection to the grid technology, the server automatically pushes claims data back to the client as it becomes available. This enables real-time data delivery and is more efficient than alternative methods in which the client would continuously check in with the server for updates. The team also used Language Integrated Query (LINQ)—specifically LINQ to Object and LINQ to XML—to connect to MDI’s back-end data structures.
Henry Lee, President and Founder of New Age Solution, explains how his team created a visually enticing interface. “With the Pixel Shader in Silverlight, we were able to build animations into the interface. We created 3-D perspectives and implemented a science fiction–like effect that makes the user feel like they are being transported into the application.”
|Figure 1. Architecture of the polling duplex protocol of Windows Communication Foundation.|
E.A.R.L.® is a patent-pending new solution that displays a specific patient’s medical history in a dynamic, animated presentation, as seen in Figure 2. The solution uses a Web-based interface in which administrators identify a specific patient and the associated claims they want to view. Windows Communication Foundation services pull this information from the MDI grid and display it in a timeline and human-body format. To create the user interface for this innovative application, the team relied on SketchFlow in Microsoft Expression Blend 3.
“By using SketchFlow, we quickly created 2-D mock-ups of the interface and associated animations,” says Lee. “We made notes and changes directly on the sketch, and our designer easily transferred the edits and new knowledge into an updated sketch.”
||• Silverlight 3|
• Expression Blend 3
• Windows Communication Foundation
Because E.A.R.L.® provides a graphical representation of a rotating human body in the user interface, the back-end code identifies hundreds of physiological body features that follow detailed rules about when and how the body should be displayed. To eliminate the inherent complexity of this code, the team used LINQ to Objects, which enabled developers to use set-theoretic declarative syntax instead of writing complex nested for-each loops to specify how to retrieve data.
MDI achieved a fast time-to-market with its Viewpoint Claims Assessment and E.A.R.L.® business applications. The company is also providing customers with real-time access to information in a visually impressive format. E.A.R.L.® played a strong contributing role in recently enticing Wells Fargo Insurance Services, among other national companies, to choose MDI Healthcare solutions as their healthcare analytics provider.
Fast Development Cycle
MDI quickly filled a void in its existing product line by using Silverlight and Microsoft technology. Darnell explains, “If it hadn’t been for technology like LINQ and a plug-and-play communication tier like Windows Communication Foundation, our development time could easily have doubled.”
With features like SketchFlow in Expression Blend and Pixel Shader in Silverlight, the developers and designer were able to quickly prototype and put into production eye-catching business applications. The designer also used built-in features in Expression Blend to quickly import graphics created in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator into Expression Blend.
Visually Enticing Business Applications
With Silverlight, MDI has transformed data processing from a largely tedious, complex, and uninteresting back-end operation into visually dynamic applications that are immediately appealing to customers. “With Silverlight, designers have the freedom to mold applications by using animations, 3-D perspectives, and more,” states Lee. “They finally have the power to create something more than just a rotating item. Customers often judge companies based on the user interface of their business applications. If you have a beautiful application with animation and 3-D graphics, the customer can truly appreciate what is happening on the back end.”
|Figure 2. The user interface in E.A.R.L.®|
In addition, the speed and power of MDI’s computer grid is quite impressive because of its scalable architecture and ability to easily process millions of claims.
Easy, Real-Time Information Delivery
MDI is now able to provide customers with a timesaving service because the company’s applications easily digest data and present it in a graphical format. This engaging experience is accessible on any major browser running on a Windows, Macintosh, or Linux operating system. By equipping caregivers with quick insights into patient medical history, the company is further eliminating the tediousness associated with healthcare management.
“Our salespeople have literally been getting hugs from customers when we demonstrate our products because we’re providing them with tremendous efficiency and giving them more time and better tools to care for patients,” says Darnell.
Microsoft Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET-based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web and mobile devices. Fully supported by Visual Studio and Expression Blend, Silverlight includes major media enhancements, out-of-browser support for Web applications on the desktop, smooth streaming capabilities, browser ubiquity, GPU acceleration, and support for 3D graphics and H.264 video.
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For more information about MDI products and services, call (904) 473-1240 or visit the Web site at:
For more information about New Age Solution products and services, call (904) 419-7413 or visit the Web site at: