UCLA Health: revitalizing the online experience

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UCLA Health partnered with Slalom Build to reimagine and rebuild their patient digital experience platform, retiring more than 250 legacy subsites and modernizing their tech stack in the process. Prognosis? A vibrant and healthy future.


Software Engineering, Modern Web Development, Experience Design, Quality Engineering, DevOps,
Agile Coaching


Cloudflare Workers, Drupal, PHP, JavaScript, Storybook, Bitbucket, Acquia

Customer relationships, beyond the point of purchase

Imagine that you’re in line at your favorite coffee shop. You watch as customers ahead of you fumble through their wallets looking for debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards. You finally get your order in: a carafe of coffee for a work meeting and an espresso for—oh. Wait. You forgot your wallet. No problem! Using your phone, which you never forget, you scan the shop’s unique QR code at the point of sale (POS), and the screen reminds you that this is your tenth coffee so this one is on the house! With a few taps on the screen, you add a tip, approve the payment, and save the receipt to your digital wallet so you can email it to human resources for reimbursement later. Grab the coffee and you’re done. That’s the idea for eQR.

What if your digital wallet could do more?

Modern customers are digitally savvy and busy. They want technology that makes everyday tasks faster and easier. But convenience can mean managing another username, password, and security question, not to mention several plastic cards and printed receipts. Sometimes “convenience” feels like more work.

Enter Beem It, by eftpos, a company focused on creating genuine convenience. Its digital payment solution already served more than 1 million customers in Australia, but it wanted to add a next level of service.

The idea: What if QR code use could expand beyond in-app and ecommerce to self-service kiosks, in-store checkouts, and cash withdrawals at ATMs to span the complete payment landscape for card transactions? The solution wouldn’t replace near-field communication (NFC) for tap-and-go or contactless payments, but it could add new possibilities.

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Specifically, using QR codes would look like this: at participating merchants, customers exchange SKU-level data, striking up a connection that—instead of stopping at a one-time transaction—can grow into a long-term relationship. The customer can connect loyalty programs, gift cards, and multiple payment cards to the wallet, and ultimately store itemized digital receipts that can later be used for warranty services, refunds, or help with fulfillment issues. The result would be a seamless, secure, and tightly integrated experience. Instead of rummaging for multiple cards in a physical wallet, everything a customer needs to make a purchase lives on the cloud. It’s a simple QR scan away. And with no little plastic cards to misplace, no deals or sale prices are missed.

But to pull it off, Beem It needed help to build a fast, secure platform that could integrate with any merchant’s POS.

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Through the engagement, we helped upskill the Beem It team in the latest technologies and workstyles. As Dave Campbell, Director at Beem It, says, “Slalom brought that experience to us and educated our staff not just on AWS, but in making us better as an Agile delivery group.”

Together with the Beem It engineering team, we successfully built an application on an AWS serverless stack with a secure PCI DSS compliant transaction mechanism for merchants and consumers in a highly available and scalable environment—all while keeping operating costs low.

Says Campbell, “We had a tight timeframe. Slalom Build said it was tight but not impossible…they came in on time and on budget—what more could you ask for?”

About that “impossible” timeline

When teams at AWS heard about this project, they introduced Beem It to Slalom Build.

We kicked off with a discovery workshop to better understand the Beem It teams’ desired technical implementation and keys to success, which was to deliver a scalable, resilient, secure, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant platform that processes transactions on the double. We also learned that eftpos planned to launch the new platform in 12 weeks.

Challenge accepted.

Understanding the reliable flexibility and scalability AWS offers, we knew quickly we’d take a cloud-native approach and transform what others had called an “impossible” timeline into simply a tight one.

We also introduced our Product Engineering Methodology (PEM)—a custom approach to modern Agile development that provides a repeatable framework for driving effective products with the highest quality and velocity. But our goal wasn’t just to race to the finish line. Rather, we set out to create something with Beem It that could accommodate its long-term vision and growth in 2022 and beyond.

First, some subsites had the same look and structure as the main site, however they led patients off the domain or to dead-ends that lacked clear navigation and integration with the main site, generating a user experience that could be confusing and frustrating.

Second, there were redundancies among the subsites. We needed to examine subsite content to eliminate duplicate information and pages.

And third, some subsites were owned by doctors or organizations that were no longer active or whose sites lacked current information. We needed to eliminate the inactive sites, and for the others, identify new owners and train them on the new platform to ensure consistency and relevancy.

UCLA Health was intent on creating a more cohesive, navigable experience for their patients.

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When the eQR platform launched in July 2021, Beem It found it could achieve an estimated several billion transactions annually at a transaction per second (TPS) of 500 and a lambda P95 response rate of 60ms, while incurring an incremental, usage-based total cost of ownership (TCO). In a word: vroom!

Even better, a modern, microservices-based architecture allows Beem It to roll out future features and functionalities faster, in a true iterative fashion, with a platform that is easy to enhance, maintain, and run.

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Beem It also plans to integrate eQR with other products that can show customers realistic data on the global impact associated with their purchases, such as carbon footprint and water usage. This information can be used to educate customers about merchants’ commitment to sustainability.

At the end of the day, customer satisfaction isn’t just about exchanging money and moving through the line faster (although, we’ll have that too please!). Real fulfillment comes from more personalized and accommodating experiences where payments are easier, shopping can be convenient and conscientious, and loyalty is rewarded.

With Slalom Build expertise and AWS technology in its pocket, Beem It is raising the bar for digital payments.

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