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Revamping Pharma: Tabula Rasa and Qubika’s Agile Approach

In response to stringent pharmaceutical regulations, Tabula Rasa Healthcare aimed to improve drug traceability using a Chain of Custody (CofC) application for medication delivery monitoring.

They partnered with Qubika to overcome challenges including tight timelines and evolving specifications. With close collaboration between design and development teams, we achieved a successful launch fostering enhanced pharmaceutical traceability.

Studios involved

  • Platform Engineering
  • Quality Assurance

Deliverables

  • Agile project management
  • Innovative responsive application
  • Streamlined development processes
  • Rapid time to market
Tabula Rasa and Qubika's use of agile software development
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The Challenge

Given the increasingly stringent regulatory landscape, with measures such as the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, pharmaceutical providers are under increasing pressure to guarantee traceable, uniquely-labeled drug packaging. Such a system, marked by a unique serial number and a corresponding database, allows for the tracking of products throughout the entirety of the distribution supply chain.

In response to this need, Tabula Rasa Healthcare, a healthcare technology provider, sought to broaden its service offering by facilitating end-to-end drug traceability through an intuitive web application, Chain of Custody (CofC). This innovative application empowers the PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) programs to trace, record, and audit the various stages of medication delivery. This meticulous documentation process follows the product’s journey from the pharmacy to the PACE centers, then to the transport driver, the front-desk receptionist, and eventually the end user.

However, they encountered several hurdles during this mission.

Firstly, they were working within a tight timeframe, with the pressure to bring the product to market promptly.

Secondly, they were dealing with a product specification that was still in the process of being finalized. This meant they needed assistance in both product design and management to incorporate and balance the bold ideas they wanted to include.

Finally, they had to navigate the rigid requirements of building a product that complied with regulatory standards and a predefined API specification. In other words, they needed to validate critical product decisions with their product owner and key stakeholders before proceeding with the software development.

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Solution

To navigate these challenges, the team at Qubika employed an Agile Product Management strategy. This approach broke down the high-level specification into manageable ‘epics’ or component functionalities, facilitating a smoother development process. We established iterative feedback loops, allowing for real-time interface with the client during the product’s development, conducted by our development team.

The Agile approach ensured that the product development process was always one iteration ahead of the software development. This was achieved by having the Scrum development team work in parallel with the product design. By doing so, the possibility of wasted development time due to rework was significantly reduced.

This strategy proved instrumental in fostering collaboration between the product owner, the design team, and the development team. It also streamlined the product development cycle, resulting in tasks being accomplished more swiftly and establishing a smooth workflow. It involved the development team more deeply in problem-solving throughout the process, providing timely, relevant feedback to avoid potential issues.

By embracing change as an integral part of software development, this approach fostered an innovative working environment. The result was a successful market launch of the Chain of Custody application within four months, marking a significant achievement in improving the pharmaceutical chain of custody.

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