Provincial Health Services Authority

Ensuring BC residents have access to a coordinated provincial network of high-quality specialized healthcare services.

Faster Builds with Gesso

In healthcare, time is of the essence. PHSA has many initiatives for digital health resources; getting development projects off the ground and launched as quickly as possible is critical. 

Using our decoupled accelerator Gesso, we were able to meet the deadline for an MVP launch in 85 days and continue to make feature improvements in Agile two-week sprints after the deadline.

Gesso - Built for Speed

Building The Future of Virtual Healthcare

PHSA provides British Columbia residents with a coordinated network of specialized provincial healthcare services.

To improve their offerings for healthcare practitioners and patients alike, they are creating digital hubs to provide practitioners and patients with a central source of truth for practices, education and treatment information.

This ambitious goal represents an industry-leading new model in virtual health, providing clinically relevant resources and standards to support equitable access to evidence-based care. 

The Goal

Deliver massive amounts of healthcare information to the province and create a leading-class user experience. FAST.

Virtual health is complex and new; it takes time to demonstrate its value. PHSA’s Office of Virtual Health (OVH) and its partners across the sector recognize there is an opportunity for better coordination and collaboration across the province. Such an approach would support leaders with a better understanding of how various virtual health initiatives can be integrated and benefit care delivery.

To make this happen, PHSA needs a development partner that can manage many individual projects/products while working closely with PHSA’s various internal teams. 

Tight deadlines and massive amounts of planning and development had proven too much for other agencies, so PHSA was searching for a company that could match their exhaustive needs. Their window for proof of concept was running out, and they were under a lot of pressure. They needed a partner that could prove an accelerated development process and be able to repeat it.

When PHSA reached out to Acro Commerce, they had two websites mapped, with one already partially built.

Ultimate desires and deliverables for both projects

  1. Create and optimize shared development, hosting, and maintenance strategies for both initiatives;
  2. Create and execute product development plans;
  3. Deliver the next Atlas and Hub MVP iteration, built on the digital and virtual health content management platform, within 120 days.
Provincial Health Services | Atlas & The Hub | Connecting BC patients & practitioners | Acro Media
PHSA - Atlas Logo - Digital & Virtual Health BC

The Atlas, as PHSA dubs it, is a first-of-its-kind and readily accessible online compendium of all virtual care initiatives in BC with specific, actionable information and insights for providers, patients and health system planners to accelerate the implementation and adoption of virtual care in BC.

Atlas-specific development requirements

  • Improved map display
  • Faceted search 
  • New resources section
  • Initiatives & Stories
  • Health System Planning 
  • Clinical & Professional Practice
  • Patients & Community
  • Digital Health Innovation Exchange 
PHSA | The Atlas | Home Page mock up | Acro Media
PHSA | The Hub | Homepage Mockup | Acro Media
Provincial Health Services | Atlas & The Hub | Connecting BC patients & practitioners | Acro Media

The Hub is an online resource system for perinatal and newborn health professionals. It enables easy access to current, evidence-based information and peer connections, promoting high-quality, standardized care for pregnant individuals, newborns, and families.

Hub-specific requirements

  • Faceted search 
  • Timeline function (trimesters)
  • My Hub
  • Libraries
  • Favourite articles
  • Suggested resources
  • Offline access
  • Email alerts

"It has been a true pleasure collaborating with the Acro Commerce team on the Digital and Virtual Health Atlas for PHSA. From the moment we engaged their services, it was clear that this team was both highly skilled and competently resourced team, consisting of experts in various roles (such as product owner, project manager, developer, UX/UI, account manager, etc.), they demonstrated a remarkable ability to address the diverse needs of our project.”

- Emily Chan, Project Owner, Provincial Health Service Authority


Choosing a partner with a proven iterative and repeatable process that shortens time-to-launch.

Due to tight timelines to prove the value of these two sites and meet government funding requirements, PHSA had to find a partner with streamlined, Agile web development processes to create a repeatable, iterative experience for these two sites and a multitude of future virtual resources. 

While other web development agencies fell short, in Acro Commerce, PHSA found that partner and the Drupal experts they needed.

Using our decoupled accelerator Gesso, we were able to meet the 85-day deadline for an MVP launch and continue to make feature improvements in Agile two-week sprints after the deadline.

Gesso — How a development accelerator makes the difference

Gesso - Decoupled Ecommerce Accelerator

Advantages of a headless accelerator

  • User experience design, frontend and backend work can be carried out in parallel, significantly reducing development time.
  • Gesso’s design system is a single source of truth for all components and a reusable library for all PHSA projects.
  • Gesso is not married to any one technology, so integrations with a new or existing service are seamless.
  • Built for iteration — Gesso makes future-proofing and scaling easy with Agile-backed processes between aligned projects.
Most viable product acro pyramid diagram.

What do we mean by MVP?

In development, we use a lot of acronyms. One of the most common ones we use at the early stages of a project is MVP or minimum viable product. 

An MVP is the first iteration of a solution, containing all of the critical functionality and a good portion of the "nice-to-have" features. Once the MVP is launched, projects continue in an agile manner, making improvements or adding new features in sprints.

PHSA Logo Stacked

"Overall, I cannot express how pleased I am with the partnership for the development of this electronic information management system. The team's professionalism, expertise, and dedication were exemplary, and I look forward to the minimal marketable product this fall.”

Kyla Pongratz - Senior Clinical Leader, Provincial Partnerships and Clinical Innovation, Provincial Health Services Authority

Building the future of healthcare quickly & efficiently.

PHSA needed a web development agency to rise to the challenge where others fell short.

  • Accelerated time-to-value for a proof of concept.
  • Ability to handle multiple ongoing projects at once.
  • Agile, iterative and repeatable processes.

Meet with our team today if these sound like your website development goals.