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Why Babylon Health Relies on Auth0 to Scale Globally

Digital health leader provides HIPAA-compliant login to 300K patients and doctors, and frees up a year of development time for a team of eight developers

About

Babylon is the UK’s leading digital healthcare service. Our purpose is to democratise healthcare by putting an accessible and affordable health service into the hands of every person on earth. In order to achieve this Babylon has brought together one of the largest teams of scientists, clinicians, mathematicians and engineers to focus on combining the ever growing computing power of machines with the best medical expertise of humans to create a comprehensive, immediate and personalised health service and make it universally available.

Industry

Healthcare

Region

EMEA

Digital healthcare has evolved at a crucial moment in human history.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that remote access to healthcare can save lives. Preventing sick people from taking unnecessary trips to public spaces benefits everyone. Plus, the pandemic aside, digital healthcare is often the most accessible option for patients living in remote areas, or for those suffering from disabilities.

Babylon Health (“Babylon”) developed technology to connect patients and doctors remotely, allowing patients to receive checkups, follow-ups, prescriptions, and ongoing tests from home. “We use a data-driven approach. We talk with a lot of doctors to make sure our product is leading the market and changing the way people view healthcare,” says Richard Grundy, Babylon’s IT procurement manager.

The firm is partnered with many organizations including the UK National Health Service (NHS), Samsung, Shell, and Bloomberg, each with their own distinct platform requiring authorization.

The challenge, Grundy says, was making login secure and convenient for all their users.

“We talk with a lot of doctors to make sure our product is leading the market and changing the way people view healthcare."

Richard GrundyIT Procurement Manager

The Home-Built Authentication Solution Couldn’t Scale

Babylon custom-built their own authentication solution which had evolved organically over time as they added new requirements. The system was very bespoke and required every new engineer to learn its quirks. In addition, time spent integrating with their partners’ bespoke systems made it difficult to scale.

“Our solution wasn't really suitable for the growth that we expect, and it was limited in functionality,” explains senior software engineer Jay Anslow. “Some of our partners produced their own apps, which have their own custom authentication systems, so we needed to be able to integrate our software with theirs.”

Babylon also needed to meet user demand for convenient access to their data. “We wanted to allow users to sign in using their own systems without having to register and remember another email and password,” Anslow says. “Quite a lot of users demanded social logins. Nobody likes to remember passwords.”

“We estimated that it would take a team of eight staff at least a year to meet our new requirements with a home-built solution. As well as the cost of having that team, it would have delayed our timeline so we wouldn’t have been able to get our functionality out the door as quickly.”

Jay AnslowSenior Software Engineer

Babylon Health Scales to 300,000 Users and Counting

After conducting a build versus buy analysis, Babylon scrapped their custom-built solution and chose Auth0 from 15 different authorization providers. The initial use case was offering an easy and secure login solution to their partners and users. Today this includes members using the Babylon - Healthcare Services mobile and web apps; partners and their users; and administrators and clinicians who need to access patient data.

They have since expanded their usage to include Auth0’s machine-to-machine (M2M) tokens, used to verify client credentials between system components. Anslow points out, “We've got lots of different systems and components which all need to communicate with each other,” adding “we're able to use machine-to-machine tokens to help prove to other components that a request is okay. And it has both a user and a trusted service involved.”

Facilitating communication between systems and swiftly onboarding partners has allowed Babylon to scale. Today their Auth0 deployment supports 300,000 active users and counting. “We’re actually able to focus on delivering Babylon-specific services, rather than having to build out what is a solved problem. We're now in a position where we can implement Sign in with Apple as well, and we're expecting that to significantly increase our user base,” Anslow says.

"We’re actually able to focus on delivering Babylon-specific services, rather than having to build out what is a solved problem. We're now in a position where we can implement Sign in with Apple as well, and we're expecting that to significantly increase our user base."

Jay AnslowSenior Software Engineer

Time and Money: Babylon Health Saves a Year

Anslow says Auth0’s pay-per-active-user pricing model was a good fit. “Often our members won't use our solution unless they're ill. With Auth0, we only pay for the users who are actually active.”

Babylon also saved money and resources in another way with Auth0. “We estimated that it would take a team of eight staff at least a year to meet our new requirements with a home-built solution,” Anslow points out. “As well as the cost of having that team, it would have delayed our timeline so we wouldn’t have been able to get our functionality out the door as quickly.” 

“Often our members won't use our solution unless they're ill. With Auth0, we only pay for the users who are actually active.”

Jay AnslowSenior Software Engineer

Complying With Regulations Made Easier

As a global digital health provider, Babylon needed to comply with HIPAA regulations in the U.S., meeting strict security and privacy standards for medical providers. Regulatory requirements add complexity, and they needed an authentication partner that would allow them to scale internationally. “Our members and our partners expect us to protect their data and to keep their health records private and accurate,” Anslow says.

He adds, “Regulatory compliance is one of the requirements for all of our partners. HIPAA compliance was one of the must-haves for us, along with the flexibility and customization options. Auth0 is the only solution that met our requirements for HIPAA compliance and allowed us to maintain our old system while we migrated to the new one.”

With authentication handled, Babylon can focus on improving the digital health experience for their users and partners.

"Auth0 is the only solution that met our requirements for HIPAA compliance and allowed us to maintain our old system while we migrated to the new one.”

Jay AnslowSenior Software Engineer

About Auth0

Auth0, a product unit within Okta, takes a modern approach to identity and enables organizations to provide secure access to any application, for any user. The Auth0 Identity Platform is highly customizable, and is as simple as development teams want, and as flexible as they need. Safeguarding billions of login transactions each month, Auth0 delivers convenience, privacy, and security so customers can focus on innovation. For more information, visit https://auth0.com.

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