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Web-Enabled Mainframe: Modernization for New Users

Improved Usability, Productivity, Process, Reduced Costs

By Web-enabling legacy applications – CICS, IMS, and others – enterprise organizations modernize the mainframe for today’s employees, partners, and customers, providing these users with access to the highest-value business logic and data. Repurposing mainframe applications with familiar, intuitive Web interfaces can extend the mainframe to millions of new users, enable customer self-service, streamline business processes, increase staff productivity, reduce costs, create new business opportunities, and generate new revenue.

Web interfaces for the mainframe range from classic “green screen”-style for skilled power users to full-featured Web 2.0 composite applications that seamlessly incorporate mainframe application logic and data with Web and cloud feeds for the most advanced users.

Extending the Mainframe with Web Access

A state health services administration (HSA) serving more than one million Medicaid recipients uses CA Ideal applications and CA Datacom databases to manage its Medicaid system. Each day, one hundred staff work with these resources – retrieving policy information, updating records, executing client transactions – while fielding thousands of calls from recipients and insurance providers .

In response to increasing workloads and costs, HSA took staged approach to Web-enabling their health management application. Their first implementation gave Medicaid recipients Web access to mainframe applications to investigate plans, verify eligibility, enroll in or renew coverage, and update personal information. The next implementation allowed hospital personnel to access the application via the Web and register Medicaid-eligible newborns for immediate coverage.

Both user groups report higher satisfaction; they no longer wait in call cues, and with self-service access, they are more proactive and personally productive. Inside the call center, call volumes are down, response times are faster, productivity is up, and staff focus their energies on resolving the most important problems more quickly. From a technical perspective, choosing a modern, mainframe-resident Web-enablement product has allowed HSA to leverage its high-value legacy business logic with none of the high costs associated with changing the mainframe. For HSA, these user benefits mean more work completed at lower cost.

HSA is now planning a health information exchange – an information hub for hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, other providers, and residents that will allow HSA to aggregate information and present it with various levels of control across the community.

Web 2.0 Enablement: An eHealth Community

A health insurer faced similar challenges – and has brought the hub concept to fruition. The insurer houses information on policyholders and policies on its mainframe and depends on complex application logic representing decades of investment to run its business operations. Yet until recently these resources were accessible only to employees and insurance agents via terminal emulation.

Like many service businesses, health insurance is people-driven. Millions of policyholders interact daily with thousands of insurance agents in offices across the country. The agents in turn work with thousands of insurance product specialists, claims administrators, and business managers, who in their turn work with administrative personnel at healthcare facilities and government agencies, and directly with the healthcare professionals who treat those policyholders as patients.

Understanding that all of these stakeholders would benefit from improved access and process, the insurer asked the pivotal question. What could we build that would really make a difference – that would give these users more of the information they value and improve their interactions?

In answer to these questions, the insurer designed and developed an eHealth Community Platform and Portal – a robust Web-oriented architecture (WOA) connecting everyone involved in healthcare – physicians, other medical professionals, emergency personnel, pharmacists, product and service suppliers, government agents, insurance representatives, and patients/policyholders. So long as they have an Internet or telecom connection, they have the full capabilities of the community portal and platform at their fingertips:

Physicians consult with colleagues, submit ePrescriptions, or share records with administrative personnel who then submit claims. Patients/policyholders make appointments, check prescriptions, access their health records and insurance policies, and communicate with care or insurance providers. On the backend, the eHealth platform also makes it easy for provider-partners to integrate existing resources – data, content, application functionality, etc. – into this unified community framework.

Modern Web Enablement Capabilities
HostBridge mainframe integration software and HostBridge WIRE, the Web Interface Rules Engine enable the rapid development and deployment of Web interfaces for IBM mainframe applications and data. WIRE leverages the object-oriented capabilities of the .NET framework to make it easy to integrate data, services, controls, and objects from any XML/Web services-capable asset – mainframe, midrange, distributed enterprise applications, or feeds from Web and cloud – and deliver them as dynamic Web 2.0 composites via the most advanced Web interfaces.

HostBridge products support all leading browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Android – Web enabling mainframe access from desktops and laptops to tablet PCs, Chrome notepads, iPads, iPhones, and Android phones. Empowering organizations to Web enable the mainframe, HostBridge opens the door to every user everywhere.