Custom software development Slovak State Institute for Drug Control

About SUKL

You are seeing the results of the work of the Slovak State Institute for Drug Control (ŠÚKL) every time you buy common drugs or when a doctor prescribes treatment for your affliction. Did you know there are over 8,000 drugs registered in Slovakia in an infinite amount of variants?

Our Expertise

Software Development

Scope

Discovery phase

Product development

Maintenance

Quality Assurance

Vertical

Healthcare

Key results

  • Web-based custom software

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01

The Challenge

The State Institute for Drug Control (ŠÚKL) is a budget organisation of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Among other things, it governs the section of humane pharmacy and drug precursors. Put simply, it controls all drugs you can buy in Slovak market pharmacies. Every drug sold in the market goes through ŠÚKL. Otherwise, it cannot be distributed. However, the approval of ŠÚKL doesn’t necessarily mean the drug will be “categorised “and paid by health insurance companies. This agenda is under the control of the Ministry of Health.

Assignment of the public procurement was set so that ŠÚKL was expecting a boxed solution, which is popular in the European market. We went the more complicated way – creating a product that meets all the difficult requirements defined by our client.

The project deadline was too short. We’ve had 3 months to deliver the product and import over 120 thousand sequences, around 16 terabytes of data, from various data storages in different structures. We’ve made it, and the system has been used since January 2019.

02

The Solution

Our custom software is built on web technologies. It runs in a familiar environment of a modern internet browser and is inaccessible from the outside environment. It runs on a Linux virtual server and uses several connected data storages to hold a huge amount of data. We’ve tried to make it easier for the users. That’s why the login is made with Active Directory (LDAP). The users’ access is identical to the Windows domain’s accesses within the institute.

The user interface is intuitive. The User training, a part of our assignment, was relatively simple and had no major problems. An everyday user of the standard PC shouldn’t have many questions. UI/UX was something we’ve spent a long time on, and we took great care to get to know the user procedures and workflow.

Without knowing the software’s common use cases in detail, we couldn’t design a suitable UI/UX. Therefore, we asked many questions during the analytical phase of the project.

The custom software is built on web technologies. It runs in a common environment of a modern internet browser and is inaccessible from the outside environment. It runs on a Linux virtual server and uses several connected data storages to hold a huge amount of data.

We ensured the Server solution of the whole project internally with the help of our administrators. The server had to be configured to be allowed to work in an internet network environment, ensuring it was safe, performing, and able to serve the requirements in a certain time, as stated in the contract.

Thanks to this solution, we’ve saved a lot of time on the lengthy installation of any client software because the whole system runs only in a web browser. This cuts the cost of not only development but also subsequent software care. This way, we simplify its updates and requirements for the user. It also facilitates the IT capacities of the client.

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Challenges

A client who wins his supplier but didn’t choose him understandably has a skeptical approach. We’ve cleared this distrust in our introductory meetings. After delivering the system’s first alpha version, they had no doubts. During the development, we progressed quickly. The development was done in a few planned sprints. But no plan ever works out perfectly. The team tries to ensure that everything will fit together on deadline like a puzzle piece. Our cooperation will take three years. That is why we wanted to build a correct and professional relationship right from the beginning. And we did.

The legacy software, various data storages, data structures, and unavailability of the documentation complicated the migration of around 100-120 thousand sequences with a volume of around 16 terabytes. It was necessary to analyse the data, make migration scripts for pairing with the new, better data structure, and secure the migration so the workers of ŠÚKL would have all the data they were accustomed to with a new look right on the day of the production launch. And we managed to do it.

Term in which it would be problematic to implement boxed software and almost impossible to create custom software for the processes of a big state institute. Thanks to well-chosen project management, we delivered the project in the contract stated term, with no delays or complications, so it could run as expected.

03

The Result

The information system is successfully implemented in the ŠÚKL interface. It’s regularly used by hundreds of users who, on a daily average, upload 90 sequences with volumes of several GB. Thanks to complex custom software, we can speed up processing documents and registration processes, which pharmaceutical companies often complain about. We’ve transformed the “data chaos” into a strict and simple logic described in detail in the software’s technical documentation.

Thanks to this, every supplier coming after us will have easier work and can follow up on our delivered product. At the moment, we provide 3-year support, guarantee the availability of the software, and work on finishing on-demand requests because, as in other cases – the delivery of the software is not the end of the cooperation – it’s the beginning.

The success or failure of the project doesn’t solely depend on the supplier. The management and the responsible people from the client’s side are also important factors that can positively or negatively affect the project. The recreational times for requests, competency of the responsible people, orientation in IT, and understanding of the development processes are some of the basic preconditions for successfully finishing a project – regardless of the supplier. We’d like to thank the management of ŠÚKL, who were very helpful during the development and, with their professionalism, greatly contributed to the whole – positive – result of the project.

Our procurement guidelines state that everything specified in the initial conditions must be fulfilled; otherwise, we can’t close the project. Everything was fulfilled 100%, so we completed the project on schedule. Our internal stakeholders were satisfied with everything. The Altamira team was friendly, skilful, and highly professional. They’re experienced in software development.

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