Integrated Data Improves Service

Group Health uses SeeBeyond to integrate call-center and Mainframe information

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

October 24, 2003

4 Min Read

Group Health Inc., a preferred-provider health plan covering 2.5 million people, needed a fast and efficient way to integrate data in a secure and compliant fashion from its mainframe systems with information stored in its call-center database.

The Unix-based Siebel Systems Inc. call-center database combines claims and provider information that's stored in the mainframe with subscriber data. To start making that information available from mainframe systems in a more time-sensitive fashion, Group Health a couple of weeks ago began deploying integration modules available in the recently released SeeBeyond 5.0 integration suite from SeeBeyond Technology Corp.

To accomplish this integration in the past, Group Health each night ran extracts off its mainframe systems, preloaded them in Oracle databases, then ported them to Siebel databases, says Rich Tanner, senior director of compliance at the health-care provider.

Full copies of VSAM databases were created on the mainframe, then network administrators moved them via File Transfer Protocol to Oracle on Unix servers, a cumbersome process. Once moved to the Oracle databases, administrators would authorize loading the data into the Siebel databases. "We had three different groups of people working on moving full copies of data sets," and the process "was coming close to the edge of that overnight window," during which batch loads can take place without interfering with regular hours of operation, Tanner says.

With SeeBeyond 5.0, Group Health can move 50 or 60 data sets automatically, representing only the changed data in the mainframe databases, instead of 5,000 full data sets. SeeBeyond monitors the mainframe database logs for changes, then grabs changed data and moves it over the network soon after the changes occur, rather than waiting for overnight batch loads, Tanner says.

The result: better subscriber and claims information and quicker answers from the call center on whether a subscriber is eligible for requested care. Next on Tanner's hit list is a SeeBeyond-linked set of applications that will let Group Health start offering health-care services on the Web.

"We have primarily marketed ourselves through brokers. The eHealth applications will give us a nice avenue to the single people and families that are looking for plans on the Web," Tanner says. Their test run implementation is eight weeks away, he says.

With the 5.0 release, SeeBeyond is rebranding and expanding its product set with four new products. The Integrated Composite Application Network, as the 5.0 release is called, offers both development tools and connectivity for building software that uses existing applications.

The new components are available immediately and will be sold at prices ranging from $80,000 to $200,000. Suite purchases typically range from $250,000 to $500,000.

SeeBeyond also has upgraded existing suite applications such as eGate Integrator, a Web-services and Java-simplifying integration platform; and eInsight Business Process Manager, a process simulator that runs cost-based analysis and maps business-process workflow.

The SeeBeyond 5.0 tools have made it possible to better integrate data internally and mount Group Health's pending eHealth applications on the Web, Tanner says. "They make it easier for us to get out there on the Internet," he says. "It's great for the [Group Health] brand."

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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