The Vlaamse Sociale Bescherming (VSB) is a government instance that supports people with a greater need for medical assistance. They provide additional compensation to persons that need extra care during a longer period of time. For example to help them pay for a wheelchair or for staying at a nursing home.
The first application we developed for VSB is called EMMA. It enables truss makers to request, deliver and invoice all sorts of walking aids (simple walking aids, wheelchairs, electric scooters,…). A truss maker would send out a walking aid request for a person in need of one to VSB. Traveling through the eHealth platform, this request arrives at VSB where the compensation for that person and the chosen type of walking aid is verified and approved or disapproved. When approved, the truss maker can deliver the walking aid to the person and invoice the approved compensation amount to the care unit (Zorgkas) of that person.
The team started creating a service blueprint in March 2018, the release of a minimum viable product followed in December of the same year. Since the jurisdiction over compensation of walking aids was only just transferred from federal to regional government that year, the exact scope of the project and the needed functionality was not completely clear from the start. So the team and VSB needed to collaborate closely and respond to change quickly in order to make this application work well. The main technical challenge in this project was the integration with the eHealth platform, which provides secure traffic between EMMA and other VSB backend applications.
While EMMA was still being tweaked (start of 2019), VSB asked the team to start developing another application, APRO. This application makes sure that manufacturers of walking aids can register their products with VSB so that a compensation amount can be provided for these products. When a manufacturer develops a new type of walking aid or changes an existing one, he can use APRO to register this. Every month, an advisory committee gathers and decides which new or altered products will be compensated (according to the rules recorded in the law). When a manufacturer stops production of a product, he can also register this stop in the APRO application so that the product will be removed from the list of compensated products.
The main challenge in APRO was the time pressure. Manufacturers were eagerly waiting to register their new products and their product price indexations with VSB. A first version of APRO (with the needed functionality for the manufacturers) was released in April 2019. New versions with more functionality for VSB and the advisory committee are scheduled to be deployed to production in May and June of 2019.