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A Startup Healthcare Tech Firm Is Now Poised for the Future

  • For its innovative healthcare solution, Force Therapeutics needed to drive scalability and guard against technical debt.

CHALLENGE

Force Therapeutics received venture-capital funding to enhance its technology, but its small internal team needed expert assistance to move forward quickly without accruing technical debt. The application is coded in Python and Django, and the management team needed experts to review it, ensure proper coding, and identify areas of potential concern.

Force Therapeutics, a New York City-based tech startup with an innovative healthcare solution, has designed a platform for those who’ve recently had surgery or other medical procedures. The application provides virtual rehabilitation, digital navigation, and sophisticated outcome analytics for providers and researchers.

SOLUTION

After being selected for its technical and collaborative skills, the Caktus team conducted a comprehensive review of the application, code, and unit tests to identify areas of potential concern and define success criteria. Caktus then presented an extensive summary, offering a prioritized set of recommendations for development.

The primary recommendations were to expand unit testing and decompose the monolithic application into smaller, logical subsets of components, thereby laying the foundation for a more extensible and robust application.

The Force technical team then asked Caktus to scope out a more extensive project for strengthening the foundation and resilience of the application.

“I knew what I needed, but I didn't know how to do it until I worked with Caktus. We received a well-architected review as a technical roadmap, and it helped us with the software-development lifecycle and to create strategies for addressing all of our deficiencies. The roadmap allowed me to put it all into context. We were also able to translate that to the stakeholders and make the case to prioritize what was most important," said Stephen Johnston, VP of Engineering, at Force Therapeutics.

The ensuing project included the creation of an automated framework for the application that runs integration and unit tests, utilizing Selenium and Python’s unit test harness, to ensure that the code works as expected. This allows the team to immediately identify where code is breaking and fix it accordingly.

The Caktus team tested the existing functionality to reduce the risk of regressions, which is when new code causes old code to break. Later, the Force team incorporated testing into their development process to ensure continued quality and reliability.

Following Caktus’s successful unit test project, the team completed two additional phases of work focused on DevOps and deployment on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with Ansible and CloudFormation.

Throughout this process, Caktus became an extension of the Force team, facilitating collaboration for future growth.

RESULTS

In order to reinforce the product, the Caktus developers worked to increase the test coverage on the current application and helped to incorporate test writing into Force’s software-development culture. With the adoption of Caktus’s high standard of unit test coverage, the Force team increased its ability to uncover issues immediately, preventing potential costly issues and increasing ROI.

Caktus provided ongoing team augmentation over a period of 10 months to support Force Therapeutics for rapid development. Force has now tripled its in-house team of specialists in order to become sustainable for the long term, and the internal team is well equipped with a solid foundation and sound coding skills as they scale.

“We feel much better equipped now to handle the challenges. And if we run into an issue, we’ll come to Caktus to hammer it out," said Stephen Johnston, VP of Engineering, at Force Therapeutics.

ABOUT CAKTUS GROUP

Caktus Group builds sharp web apps. Based in Durham, North Carolina, and founded in 2007, we specialize in custom web development for business, health care, higher education, and social good. Our Agile team develops for scalability and performance. We’ve written more than 400 blog posts, many of which provide Python tips and tricks. Learn more at www.caktusgroup.com.