Managing clinical data standardization with Backstage
Italian healthcare organization Santagostino manages a network of outpatient clinics, but its tech stack wasn’t able to keep pace with fast organizational growth and the increase of remote medical care. Alongside, it faced tough challenges with organization and standardization of internal digital services.
Santagostino partnered with CNCF member SparkFabrik to create developer platform Samaritan, leveraging Backstage and multiple cloud native tools to centralize services and documentation, to manage the entire lifecycle of services and simplify the work of Santagostino developers.
Samaritan has allowed Santagostino to collate documentation of all existing services and to speed up the development of new ones, as well as simplifying the onboarding process for new developers of the internal development team – a major leap forward for the developer experience.
By the numbers
TIME TO SET-UP New ENVIRONMENTs
Reduced from 30 to 5 minutes
TIME TO DEPLOY NEW SERVICEs
20+ end user services created in 3 months
Centralized services & docs reduce time-to-market
Santagostino is an Italian company that manages a network of outpatient clinics offering a wide range of high-quality specialist services at an affordable price. With 31 centers in Lombardy, Bologna and Rome, in recent years it has defined a continuous growth plan including opening new clinics and increasing remote medical care through mature and innovative technologies.
Although its existing tech stack already managed the whole ecosystem of clinics, doctors and patients, Santagostino’s continuous growth plan posed a new challenge in terms of organization and standardization of all internal digital services.
The challenge had two fundamental aspects:
- The first was to create an internal platform to centralize services and documentation, manage the entire lifecycle of services and simplify the work of Santagostino’s developers.
- The second was to create a series of services to simplify communication of main internal products to more effectively support the business. This in turn would transform the patient experience by allowing individuals to book appointments and retrieve reports, among many other services.
CNCF member SparkFabrik’s collaboration with Santagostino began with an assessment which revealed that, despite their systems relying on one of the main cloud providers, the existing internal services did not respect shared standards. There were no CI/CD pipelines that could guarantee high-reliability releases and resource monitoring was not at all efficient. The preliminary analysis outlined an ecosystem not yet strong enough for releases and confirmed the need for a developer platform, something that the organization already had in mind.
SparkFabrik chose Backstage to develop this application – cloud native open source software donated to CNCF by Spotify, that enables the creation of platforms to collect and register services, documentation and starter kits necessary to make development teams’ work easier.
The application was developed with ease of use and maintenance in mind. The code and the CI/CD are housed on Github and the definition of the infrastructure is managed with Terraform. For the latter, SparkFabrik relied on the services of Santagostino’s exisiting cloud vendor.
At the same time, Santagostino and SparkFabrik defined the requirements of starter kits that would allow them to create new microservices with shared and consolidated standards. The result was a list of starter kits developed with high-level requirements:
- Source code on Github
- QA / CI / CD integrated on Github
- Integrated monitoring with Cloudwatch dashboard
- Integrated documentation (available from the developer platform)
- Integrated operational logging on the Cloud Provider Service environment
Services: AppSync, Lambda, RDS, ECS, Api Gateway, Step functions, SQS, Event Bridge, Parameter Store, Alb, Cloudwatch, DynamoDB, Acm, Route53, OpenSearch, SNS, Amplify, Iam, Xray, Cognito
Technologies: Terraform, Serverless Framework, GitHub Actions, PlantUML, MKdocs, Swagger, Backstage, Docker
The new developer platform, Samaritan, has allowed Santagostino to collate documentation of all existing services and to speed up the development of new ones, as well as simplifying the onboarding process for new developers of the internal development team – a major leap forward for the developer experience.
In just three months, 20 services with new features were created to replace old ones. Now they all share the same practices and are already used successfully in production environments. This new ecosystem of services also includes common monitoring functions that allow for centralized performance and requests control, and, in the event of any errors, for a quick and effective intervention.