The Vlaamse Sociale Bescherming (VSB) is a government agency that supports people with greater medical assistance needs. They provide additional compensation to those who require extra care for an extended time by helping them pay for a wheelchair or a nursing home, for example.
The first application we developed for VSB is called EMMA.
What is EMMA?
EMMA streamlines the delivery of walking aids by enabling suppliers to request, deliver and invoice all sorts of mobility devices (simple walking aids, wheelchairs, electric scooters, etc.). This solution allows suppliers to send out a request for walking assistance to VSB on behalf of a care recipient. Then, as the client moves through the eHealth platform, a request arrives at VSB, where the compensation and the chosen type of walking aid are verified and approved or disapproved. In the case of the former, the supplier can deliver the walking aid to the individual and invoice the approved compensation amount to the care unit (Zorgkas) of the care recipient.
How did we develop EMMA?
Our Kunlabora team started by creating a Service Blueprint in March 2018, and it released a minimum viable product in December later that year. However, since the jurisdiction over the compensation of walking aids was only just transferred from the federal to the regional governments, the exact scope of the project and the required functionalities weren't completely clear from the start. As a result, Kunlabora and VSB had to collaborate closely and respond to change quickly to get the app to perform optimally. The integration with the eHealth platform was the main technical challenge of this project, which provides secure traffic between EMMA and other VSB backend applications.
Next came APRO
While EMMA was still being tweaked at the start of 2019, VSB asked the team to develop another application, APRO. This application enables suppliers of walking aids to register their devices at the VSB so they can provide compensation. When a manufacturer develops a new type of walking aid (or changes an existing one), he will use APRO to register the alteration. Every month, an advisory committee comes together and decides which new or altered products will be eligible for compensation in accordance with the law. When a manufacturer ends a product's lifecycle, this status can be reflected in the APRO application, hereby removing the product from the list of compensated products.
The main challenge for this APRO project was time pressure. Suppliers were eagerly waiting to register their new products and product price indexations with VSB. As a result, the first version of APRO (with the needed functionality for the manufacturers) was released in April 2019.