U.S. HealthTek’s Partnership with Biobot Analytics: A Case Study
U.S. HealthTek President/CTO Robert Negosian and I just returned from L7 Universe 2023, an event hosted by parent company L7 Informatics. Held over four days in the company’s hometown of Austin, TX, the conference focused on numerous success stories presented by individuals and companies who are benefiting from their investment in L7 Informatics’ suite of LIMS applications. Robert and I attended the event at the request of Biobot Analytics, a U.S. HealthTek client that is fresh off their successful implementation of the L7|ESP (Enterprise Science Platform) product. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity that L7 and Biobot presented us, and we are equally excited to share our retrospective on what was a fantastic event.
We were in attendance to support Biobot, a global leader in wastewater epidemiology, founded with the goal of transforming wastewater infrastructure into real-time data observatories. Having worked at more than 1,000 locations across all 50 US states and several territories, provinces, and countries, Biobot uses advanced data analytics to provide insights from wastewater to improve the health of communities it serves. This is critical for potential pandemic-causing illnesses like COVID. One of their many great achievements was working with Clemson University, where they tested the wastewater from the campus, and their discovery of COVID-19 in that wastewater provided the school a two-week lead time to prepare for its inevitable spread, allowing them to separate students from the dorms that were showing signs of it with those who weren’t.
The topic of the presentation was Your Waste Isn’t Wasted: Implementation of L7|ESP and was presented by Sara Beckloff (VP Lab Operations) and Kelly Wahl (Research Program Manager).
“Your waste is not wasted, right? We often think about using the bathroom and it flushes into the sewers,” announced Sara, starting the session. “But we don’t often think about what happens after that. [Yet] this has been a really big focus of our society for a long time in multiple different fields.” She then explained that it was in 1865 when Dr. John Snow first identified a cholera outbreak due to a contaminated water source. And while it’s certainly been in the news lately, wastewater monitoring is not a new technology. “It’s something that we’ve really been focused on for a long time at Biobot. We are focused on leveraging the intelligence in our source.”
Biobot’s goals are as simple as they are ambitious: they want to protect communities across the globe by preventing the next pandemic and monitoring epidemics like the opioid crisis. “We want to be able to partner with public health officials or private players who are really interested in protecting population health and getting treatment administered quickly and efficiently; and we want to look at illicit drugs and how they’re used in society.” Explaining that their company is only six years old with only about 100 “very scrappy” team members, they are processing about 100,000 results a year. “We have three chemists at the bench and nine molecular technologists that do this, so we’re super focused on being lean and efficient.” This means always looking to do things better and more affordably. “We’re really keen on partnerships,” she continued. “And when we thought about implementing the LIMS, we quickly realized we didn’t have an internal IT department to do it. So, we were referred to U.S. HealthTek, and this collaboration has been magnificent. They have far exceeded our expectations in terms of collaboration and hearing our needs.”
Then Robert took to the podium and explained how for the past 20 years U.S. HealthTek has focused on all facets of the healthcare spectrum from application development, staff augmentation, project management and business analytics, cloud hosting, and more. “Our focus has always been on the customer coming first,” he said. “The solutions we provide are always based on careful assessment of what the client needs and wants, not just now, but in the future to help them grow.”
He then explained how we were excited to partner with Biobot and support their mission. “Initially, what we were asked to do was focus on the deployment of the system itself from an infrastructure level. L7 worked with Biobot to work through the workflow and the development, while we were the partner that would get the hand off from L7 and deploy that to the architectural and infrastructure.”
Kelly then detailed their L7 journey to date. She noted that the company had an aggressive product road map and needed to update their systems. “We took a deliberate phased-in approach as this really had a lot of pieces and parts,” she said. The first phase was working with the team to sort through a build-versus-buy analysis. Also, in general, since there are few wastewater companies, there were few models to look at. “By having this analysis and going through it in phases, we had maybe a few colleagues that were like, ‘oh, we should really build, we can go faster.’” Then she described how in the analysis the company could save money and time doing it this way.
The conference was thoughtfully done with all the sessions videotaped and posted on the L7 website in what felt like real time. This was the first time in a long time that a group of industry leaders weren’t just talking about digital transformation barriers, but were instead sharing concrete evidence of how they overcame those barriers. Getting to spend time with our client in support of their digital transformation initiative was an invaluable opportunity. I understand that L7 is planning a third meeting for next year – and you can bet we will be there! Special thanks to Sara and Kelly from Biobot for the invitation and to the entire L7 team for this memorable experience.