On Friday, June 23rd, Redox took a big step toward realizing our goal of creating a Developer Community—that is, space, content, and events created for the developers who actually build out the solutions driving healthcare forward.
We’ve already made strides in providing a place for developers to congregate online—Shift6 is our engineering blog devoted to discussing how developers approach (and solve) big problems and what it’s like to grow a healthcare development team, and our public Slack has over 1,000 users sharing ideas, tips, and general thoughts on what it’s like to be a healthcare developer. We’ve also made sure to provide blog and library content that caters to the interest of a more technical-minded audience.
But what about developer-focused events? So many healthcare conferences are about larger health tech issues, but there’s little that speaks directly to developers and their contributions and experiences—and for an industry that’s profoundly (and perhaps notoriously) hindered by technical obstacles, that’s pretty surprising.
So, Redox wanted to host an event for developers that centered around topics that truly interest and pertain to them. Of course, we wanted to throw a big, three-day event with world-class speakers, have delicious food catered, and have bad-ass after parties that people talked about for weeks afterward.
But, this was our first foray into throwing an event—we had to start small.
What we created was an event we called the Redoxathon. We wanted to connect personally with application developers and decided that the best thing we could offer was hands-on support to groups wanting to connect to our sandbox environments (which are playground EHR environments that let applications simulate full integration). Connecting to these sandboxes to simulate integration requires some intensive support, but being able to fully demo your product when pitching to health systems is incredibly valuable for application developers. (It’s similar to being able to walk into a job interview and show all your skills instead of just talking about them.)
An app that has a direct scheduling workflow is a good, quick example of how this works. Once connected to a sandbox, the application could query for available time slots and then schedule an appointment. The sandbox environment would then populate the time slot within the EHR, and boom—you have a fully functional and demonstrable workflow.
Our sandboxes have been wildly popular since we first introduced them, and we were incredibly excited to head down to Chicago to offer groups some hands-on assistance to get connected. The event was hosted at MATTER, an awesome healthcare coworking space in the heart of downtown Chicago, and we had about 15 Redox Developers and Solutions Engineers on hand to get people up and running.
The event was divided into two sessions. In the morning, Tim Kessler hosted the Business Development Session and presented on the issues and questions groups will often hear when pitching to health systems. Tim is our Director of Business Development and is a walking encyclopedia of all things interoperability and EHR integration, which is to say that he helped groups understand how to approach health systems and pitch their products in the most beneficial and appealing way.
He explained how and when to incorporate Redox into the conversation, and how to let health systems know that the product they’d be using would be able to seamlessly exchange health information. Perhaps most importantly, Tim spent some time talking about how Redox is both HIPAA compliant and HITRUST certified. Being able to explain how these qualifications pertain to an integration project is extremely important when talking to health system executives whose top concern is data security.
Groups left the session prepared to talk about and explain integration when pitching their product to health systems. Dujon Smith, an innovator from Accenture, was excited by the prospect of expediting integration and selling being able to sell it as a full-fledged project feature. “It’s cool to see a startup be so agile and deliver such an important service to clients,” Smith said. “The implications for groups being able to integrate easily is limitless.”
After wrapping up the morning session and breaking for lunch, it was time for the afternoon Development Session. Each group was paired with a Redox Developer or Solution Engineer to help them get acquainted with our API, the sandbox, and to start building out their connection. Over the course of about three hours, workflows were explained, destinations and endpoints were set up, and hurdles were jumped as people began configuring their product to the EHR sandbox.
It was a lot of fun to get to be able to work with people in person and troubleshoot issues as they arose. Steven Adamitus and Nathan Tornquist, both from Skin IO, said that the connection process was easy and though the Redox API is a ”pretty straightforward API to use”, participating in the Redoxathon and getting to spend time with a Redox developer was “better than looking at the docs online”.
At the end of the day, four groups were able to build out a connection and demonstrate how their product would work with full integration using a simulated EHR. Now those groups can approach health systems and demonstrate how their application would push and pull clinical data with their EHR.
More Redoxathons! We learned a ton over the course of our first event devoted to helping developers understand how to use and build against the Redox platform.
We're going to learn from those insights to make the next event even better. We have a pretty good idea of the health tech hubs around the nation and are certainly looking forward to partnering with some of our awesome accelerators but we are always open to suggestions. Let us know where you think we should host our next Redoxathon. We can't wait to do it all again!
Special thanks to all of the individuals and groups for attending. Shoutout to Matter for being so supportive and easy to partner with. Thanks to athenahealth, drchrono, and Allscripts for making sandbox environments available for healthcare developers.