Business challenge

To provide its telemedicine offering as a service for insurance companies, TeleClinic needed a cloud hosting solution designed for compliance with German data‑protection and security regulations.

Transformation

TeleClinic launched its solution on an IBM Bluemix platform, deploying a security-rich IBM Cloudant database layer, and anticipates incorporating IBM Watson technology to offer intelligent health predictions.

Results

400,000 patients across Germany

given access to the TeleClinic platform for medical guidance and expertise

Helps protect sensitive healthcare data

with Bluemix cloud infrastructure that includes a highly scalable Cloudant database

Accelerates and streamlines

development in an open source Cloud Foundry environment

Business challenge story

Offering more convenient access to medical expertise

TeleClinic founded its business in 2015 to help address critical healthcare challenges developing in Germany. “As our population becomes older, our healthcare system is becoming more expensive,” says Patrick Palacin, TeleClinic Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer. “We saw a chance to help companies make healthcare more efficient by taking on the role of gatekeeper in the whole process.”

“IBM had great Bluemix offerings for healthcare, and we knew it was the perfect match for us in the market.”

—Patrick Palacin, Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, TeleClinic

Envisioning more convenient, affordable services for German patients, TeleClinic created a robust telemedicine platform to offer expert guidance and minimize unnecessary medical appointments. “Before people go to a physical hospital, they call us,” says Palacin. “Our caregivers tell them if they need to go to a doctor, and if so, which doctor. We can serve as a neutral provider to help a patient determine what’s best in a situation.”

To provide its offering as a service for insurance companies, TeleClinic needed a cloud hosting platform designed for compliance with German data protection and security regulations. “Our customers need to have data hosted in Germany, and only German administrators can have access,” says Palacin. “Data cannot be transferred outside of German borders and must be encrypted at rest.”

Transformation story

Protecting sensitive data with IBM Cloud infrastructure

Performing a comparative study to evaluate leading cloud providers, TeleClinic found that only an IBM Cloud solution met its data security requirements. “Several companies didn’t make it past the first round because they didn’t comply with German laws,” says Palacin. “IBM is one of very few providers able to deliver an infrastructure solution approved for hosting German healthcare data.”

TeleClinic joined the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program for startup businesses, working with IBM to launch its solution in a private IBM Bluemix environment hosted in Frankfurt, Germany. The cloud infrastructure includes a security-rich IBM Cloudant database layer to accommodate the company’s substantial workloads containing sensitive healthcare data. “We needed a layer that was highly scalable and could deal with a large amount of data in real time,” says Palacin. “Cloudant is very fast and much less maintenance than what we worked with previously.”

With Watson Data Platform services readily available in the Bluemix environment, TeleClinic can easily test cutting-edge cognitive capabilities and incorporate new functionality in its telemedicine solution. The business is currently working with IBM Watson Machine Learning and IBM Watson Visual Recognition technology to develop a cognitive component of its platform for making intelligent predictions about patient health, including the progress of diseases and other medical conditions.

Results story

Supporting 400,000 patients throughout Germany

TeleClinic licenses its telemedicine solution to major German insurance companies, providing approximately 400,000 patients with access to its service and fielding an average of 150 calls each day. With its platform backed by IBM Cloud infrastructure, the business offers an environment that patients rely on to protect their sensitive data. “Each patient has an average of three documents with personal health information uploaded to our platform, which is a lot considering German concerns about privacy,” says Palacin. “People really share health data with us and trust that it’s securely stored in our platform.”

The Bluemix infrastructure provided TeleClinic with an open source Cloud Foundry environment that proved greatly beneficial in quickly and easily performing development tasks and launching new features. “Cloud Foundry was like heaven to me and the other developers in our company,” says Palacin. “You can deploy your app in 10 minutes and it’s live. The whole ecosystem is so easy to maintain. Cloud Foundry was the best thing that could happen for our development team.”

By teaming with IBM, TeleClinic gained access to the offerings and expertise needed to go to market with its telemedicine platform rapidly and successfully. “A service platform like ours is a bit more complex than others and needs a lot of high-tech resources and services,” says Palacin. “We looked at other cloud providers, but IBM had great Bluemix offerings for healthcare, and we knew it was the perfect match for us in the market.”

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About TeleClinic

Established in 2015 and headquartered in Munich, Germany, TeleClinic provides German patients with a first-line digital access point for healthcare guidance and expertise. The organization employs a wide network of general practitioners and specialists to field medical queries over the phone or by video chat, offering referrals to onsite care as needed. Reducing unnecessary visits to doctors’ offices, TeleClinic improves the convenience and cost-effectiveness of healthcare for patients throughout Germany.