Project Summary

About Healthcare Bluebook

Healthcare Bluebook helps consumers navigate the healthcare system and find low-cost, high-quality care. Its goal is to protect consumers and companies nationwide from overpriced, low-quality healthcare. Combined with a proven engagement methodology, Healthcare Bluebook’s innovative suite of services empowers employees to become smarter healthcare shoppers, while decreasing costs and improving healthcare outcomes.


The Challenge

Partnered with IBM, Healthcare Bluebook was enlisted to develop a web application that would ensure they met upcoming compliance regulations. The timing of this engagement was critical because they had just 3 months to get from design to launch.

Healthcare Bluebook had an internal team of developers, but capacity limitations led them to reach for outside help. The CIO, Erik Nicholson, had worked with outsourcing partners before, but a number of failed attempts and the impending deadline made it clear they needed a different kind of partner who would get it right the first time.


Erik was brought to Acklen Avenue through a referral. The Agile Teams model could provide him with a proven process he didn’t have to manage, and the team was already working together, so they could make progress very quickly.


“You had a bench and a baked-in process, so you knew how to work with each other. That is a huge advantage especially when you have to do something quickly.”

From HCBB’s team

The Approach

Having a complete, pre-built team was essential for Healthcare Bluebook to meet its deadline. Acklen Avenue managed the engagement from start to finish: breaking down ideas into user stories, implementing an agile process to maximize value, and providing the technical expertise to deliver their next-generation product under budget and early.


Members of the Acklen team assigned to this engagement had healthcare backgrounds, so they were able to understand Healthcare Bluebook’s business and provide valuable insight along the way. We delivered a web-enabled shopping tool that uses machine-readable file source data, allowing end-users (healthcare consumers) to browse and compare the prices with their insurance plan on different services from multiple hospitals.

The Wrinkle

We were interfacing with both Healthcare Bluebook and IBM and there were many requirements happening in a short period of time. We successfully managed new changes and requirements by having a solid communication process and accomplishing tasks effectively.

Another challenge for us was the pace and the timeline that Healthcare Bluebook had, because this engagement was tied to legislation there was a big pressure to go to market at a very particular time. We had to make solid decisions on the fly, drawing on our collective experience to deliver on time.

Technologies Used

The Results

The web application delivery was successful, compliance was achieved, and both Healthcare Bluebook and IBM were able to meet their client needs. Healthcare Bluebook was satisfied with our Agile Teams and left an open door for working together on future engagements.

Erik Nicholson

CIO, Healthcare Bluebook

Acklen Avenue has teams who know how to work with each other and it’s a huge advantage. It was always very clear where the engagement stood. I could go to the Trello board or I could Slack someone and they would always have an answer. Their process makes it easy and they deliver on quality.

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