In conversation with Nagaraja Nayak

Healthcare giant Optum goes from concept to production in 100 days with Hasura

Optum, a part of UnitedHealth Group, is proof that industry-leading innovation and rapid new product deployment isn’t just for start-ups. This global enterprise harnessed the power of Hasura and GraphQL to modernize their extensive clinical platform and improve health care systems for millions of customers in just over three months.

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100 days from concept to production

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Vastly improved access to relevant data

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Simpler data and API management

“The beauty of Hasura is that we can manage the data through Postgres and we can leverage the data through the APIs that are available both internally and externally. We don’t intend to have every piece of data in the clinical platform - Hasura allows us to manage the data from the database as well as from the API.”

Nagaraja Nayak

VP Enterprise Clinical Tech, Optum

About Optum

Better healthcare, globally

Minnesota-based Optum is UnitedHealth Group’s technology-focused health services business. The company’s mission is to help people live healthier lives by providing the best health services and experiences with lower costs.

Optum focuses on improving overall health system performance through market-leading information, data analytics, technology, and clinical insights.

The company serves employers, government agencies, health plans, life science companies, care providers, individuals, and families in 150 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.

The Problem

Optum’s Challenge

Optum’s clinical platform was extensive and sophisticated, but its monolithic structure was limiting the company’s ability to:
• Improve agility and speed up time to market
• Innovate and experiment
• Meet the needs of both large and small customers
• Avoid replication and improve reuse across business lines
• Grant the delivery team more autonomy
• Enable a leaner workforce

Using domain-driven design, Optum deconstructed the platform into more manageable pieces and settled on micro products (single page applications) as the best solution. This structure would depend heavily on the right users accessing relevant data and meaningful data insights. Optum needed modern technology to enable this.

The Solution

Why Optum chose Hasura

When assessing technologies, the Optum team quickly realised that GraphQL would help them reduce the number of versions they manage for each client need and eliminate over-fetching and under-fetching.

Optum evaluated a number of tools but chose Hasura because:
• Hasura would expose their data out of the box
• It had no under- and over-fetching problems
• It is a Back-end as a Service (BaaS)
• Hasura would speed up Optum's time to market
• It required only a lean workforce
• The technology is cloud-native
• Hasura has declarative access controls for security
• It offers a great developer experience

Implementation

Optum built the following architecture for their modernized clinical platform:
Top-level: Pluggable products
Middle-level: Independently deployed micro products.
Foundation: Data as a Service, where Hasura GraphQL sits

Optum set up Hasura to manage the data and traffic within the platform, track activity, and fast-track development. GraphQL enables the micro products to work together to deliver health care solutions.

Every service in the clinical platform is backed by contextualized intelligence, and Hasura worked closely with Optum on the platform’s strict security and regulatory requirements.

“From the initial concept, it took just 100 days to get our new clinical platform running in a production environment, with nurses using the micro products. We don’t think we could have achieved this unbelievable speed without Hasura. We have been able to get to market much, much faster.”

Nagaraja Nayak

VP Enterprise Clinical Tech, Optum

The Results

The benefits of using Hasura

Hasura and GraphQL have helped Optum modernize their technology and services fast and effectively.

Optum’s developers were on board with Hasura from Day 1 and the platform now makes it easy for developers to build additional micro products, adding value to providers, physicians, and patients.

The Optum team is seeing the benefits of putting their strategy into action through increased patient satisfaction, higher quality outcomes at lower costs, and more collaboration across the ecosystem.