Providing Care Through Digital Experiences
Visana Health is a digital health company that focuses on gynecological conditions affecting over 200 million women globally. These disorders are often misdiagnosed or ignored completely with many women told that symptoms are all in their head.
Growing up, Visana Founder and CEO Joe Connolly watched his mother, grandmother, and aunt suffer unbearable pain from living with one such disorder. They all had endometriosis, a disease that causes chronic menstrual pelvic pain. As a biomedical engineer, Connolly saw an opportunity to empower future generations of women to conquer not just endometriosis, but similarly painful chronic conditions as well.
He got to work on Visana, a platform that provides those suffering from these conditions access to best practice care through personalized digital experiences. He had the idea and some mock-ups of what Visana would look like but needed a technical partner who could make it all work.
Managing and Conquering Pain in 12 Weeks
Connolly and his team enrolled MentorMate’s expertise to architect and build the Visana platform. The product consists of iOS and Android apps built with React Native, an administration web portal (React), and an API Plus back-end database.
The app allows people to enroll in a 12-week program that provides them weekly reading materials and exercises intended to help manage and alleviate their pain. Visana users earn stars for each completed item. The web portal is used to create variations of the programs, export user data, and create custom login codes for users who are part of a company or group plan.
Visana launched in January of 2020 with a direct-to-patient pilot program. We spent the next several months rapidly iterating based on a very tight feedback loop of patient phone calls. By July of 2020, Connolly and his team felt confident in their solution and were ready to scale it up to sell it at an enterprise level.
Preparing for Future Growth
In order to scale up and ensure HIPAA compliance, Visana enrolled the MentorMate Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE) to re-architect its solution. Visana’s original solution was already built using AWS, so we stuck with that for our re-architecture as it enables businesses and organizations subject to HIPAA compliance to run more effectively.
We built Visana with the Well-Architected Framework in mind, addressing Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, Cost Optimization, and Operational Excellence pillars. The deployed workload is architected and implemented using only HIPAA-eligible services. It’s designed to handle variable traffic and is ready for high growth.
Using an Infrastructure as Code (IaC) approach, we rearchitected the entire solution and built a secure AWS environment to process, maintain, and store personal health information (PHI). IaC ensures that the underlying infrastructure is auditable, repeatable, and scalable.
Being a startup, Visana needed to scale quickly while being conscious of cost. Based on our previous experience working with health startups, we advised them to take a serverless approach to achieve this. We used Lambda to scale the computing and Amazon Aurora to scale the database. Between these two services, we were able to quickly produce a working solution for Visana that is stable, secure, scalable, and cost-efficient.
Maximizing Security and Privacy
All aspects of the platform are built with security and privacy in mind. It securely manages PHI and is auditable with respect to HIPAA. It allows Visana’s PHI workloads to be deployed while securely storing and transmitting encrypted user data.
While the core of the build was done with AWS API Gateway, AWS Lambda, and Amazon Aurora, we also utilized a number of other AWS services with Visana. For ongoing security and compliance, we turned to AWS SecurityHub while AWS GuardDuty handles threat detection and acts as a network IDS system.
We used AWS CodePipeline, AWS CodeBuild, and AWS CodeDeploy to build continuous delivery (CD) pipelines, automating the software delivery process. This CD pipeline is one more step to make the application deployment fully auditable and traceable.
With all of these AWS services used together, we created a cloud-based solution for Visana that was fully scalable, highly secure, and ready to be implemented at an enterprise level.