Why New Relic

Easy-to-deploy APM solution provides instant visibility to optimise transactions and confidence in platform availability

  • Improved availability for MyTherapy platform, serving 500,000 people
  • Accelerated issue resolution with full transparency into app performance
  • Helped meet—and exceed—service level agreements
  • Enabled a true agile development process

smartpatient Relies on Real-Time Metrics to Ensure Availability and Performance

Managing a chronic illness and relying on daily medications can be challenging at times. Research by the World Health Organization shows that 50% of medications are not taken or not taken properly. Unfortunately, this so-called ‘non-adherence’ has fatal consequences: every year more than 325,000 people (across Europe and the United States) die prematurely due to medication non-adherence. Often patients rely on family members or caregivers to remind them. But this puts pressure on the support network and people can feel alone and frustrated in their predicament.

That’s where smartpatient’s MyTherapy app (available for iOS and Android) comes in. Delivered entirely as a digital service, MyTherapy is Europe’s leading digital medication adherence support platform, supporting more than 500,000 users. Not only does the service send users medication reminders, it can also be used as a health journal to help patients stay in control of their medications, measurements, and other aspects of their health. With intuitive dashboards and simple to-do lists, MyTherapy makes it easy for patients and healthcare professionals to manage treatment plans from any computer or mobile device.

Fixing issues with proactive monitoring

With thousands of users relying on smartpatient’s service, performance and availability are key to the success of MyTherapy. As Max Joas, head of operational excellence at smartpatient, explains: ‘For MyTherapy, server availability is of utmost importance. When user growth picked up some years ago, early detection of potential bottlenecks became hugely important to us. At that time we had a basic monitoring in place, which did not allow us to identify the cause of performance issues sufficiently early.’

New Relic APM was identified as a solution that could provide deeper visibility into the MyTherapy platform and easily scale as the platform grew. MyTherapy experiences extreme peak times for only a couple of minutes each day, as people tend to set their reminders on the hour around mealtimes. This puts strain on the platform, which needs to be carefully managed. New Relic gives the insight to plan for peak times and ensure the platform is robust.

Wolfram Kerl, head of product at smartpatient, confirms this experience: ‘Once we deployed New Relic, we suddenly saw issues before they could actually cause problems for our MyTherapy users. Even performance bottlenecks that were developing very slowly over time could quickly be uncovered thanks to the visibility provided by New Relic. Now we can recognise negative performance patterns as a trend and take pre-emptive action straightaway to address it.’

Interactions with the smartpatient drug database and between patient and doctor require an instant response time. New Relic is proving its value here by closely monitoring these transactions and alerting on any issues in the response time immediately.

Real-time metrics to support agile development

smartpatient operates an agile development model in which new functionality is continually tested and then pushed into production with a simple script execution. New Relic is closely integrated into the company’s development process. Developers can timestamp when a new version is deployed so that they can quickly compare whether new code has made an improvement or, conversely, has caused a performance degradation, in which case a roll-back can be quickly executed.

For Kerl, seeing that everything is as expected after a new version deployment delivers peace of mind. ‘We test everything very thoroughly but, at the end of the day, we work with software and it’s great to know that if a bug slips into the production version, New Relic alerts us about it as soon as is technically possible’, he says. ‘New Relic gives us the confidence to try new things, safe in the knowledge that it’ll provide that extra pair of eyes to ensure we’re constantly improving our service.’

‘New Relic gives us the confidence to try new things, safe in the knowledge that it’ll provide that extra pair of eyes to ensure we’re constantly improving our service.’

Wolfram Kerl Head of Product, smartpatient

Scaling monitoring to match growth

smartpatient’s future growth plans are aggressive and it’s vital that the underlying platform provides the scalability to accommodate a ramp-up in users. New Relic metrics support effective capacity planning so that smartpatient knows exactly when to add new servers.

New Relic APM is delivering the platform visibility, out-of-the-box traffic metrics, and the ability to monitor and improve key transactions between patients and their support network, including medical professionals, to ensure smartpatient is ready for the future. It has helped smartpatient move to a quality-focused but still truly agile development process and enables the team to deliver a service far beyond the service level agreements they are contractually obliged to.

Joas concludes: ‘As we continue to grow, New Relic has become ever more important since we want to use our development resources as efficiently as possible. We love the integral reporting and were amazed at how easy it is to seamlessly add new servers. In fact, once we started to add to our server load, we unlocked a whole new level of usefulness within the product. New Relic gives us peace of mind that MyTherapy is available for users to focus on what matters: living their lives in the best possible way.’

‘New Relic gives us peace of mind that MyTherapy is available for users to focus on what matters: living their lives in the best possible way.’

Max Joas Head of Operational Excellence, smartpatient

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