User Stories

With Elasticsearch, NowPow connects the ‘caring ecosystem’ to people in need

NowPow is short for "Knowledge is Power," and the Chicago-based startup is clearly living up to its name.

The company’s mission is partnering with health systems, health plans, and community-based groups to facilitate patient referrals to hyperlocal organizations that help people stay well, address social risk, manage illness, and care for others.

The company envisions itself in a future where its resource directory is fully integrated into hospitals, public health departments, and community-based organizations across the United States. For the moment, NowPow supports more than 174,000 care professional users in at least 10 states.

Elasticsearch is at the heart of NowPow’s search and resource matching technology. It enables caregivers to quickly search for and book health and social service resources matched to patient needs around housing, food, employment, and more by partnering with organizations across the caring ecosystem.

NowPow’s project is slowly replacing an antiquated care system in which hospitals and other care facilities use paper binders with lists of out-of-date resources that are not tailored to where patients live.

“Elastic is at the foundation of our search technology. That’s the way we're able to match people to resources quickly and easily. It lets us do our geo-location based searching. It helps us with our matching algorithms,” says Michael Wolf, head of technology at NowPow.

Based on the project’s inspiration for bettering the world, we recently acknowledged NowPow with an Elastic Cause Award.

Using Elasticsearch, NowPow greatly improved its search speeds to generate results instantly — significantly faster than NowPow’s previous SQL Server and API-based algorithm. What’s more, prior to embracing Elasticsearch, there was a core problem of matching people to resources, of being able to search and render results in real time — all of which was remedied after NowPow moved to Elasticsearch.

“Without Elasticsearch, I think we would be behind our competitors. I think, in the market out there, there are a lot of people trying to provide similar things to what we do, and I think this is just one of the key components of what makes us a success,” Wolf says. “By implementing Elasticsearch, we were able to really quickly denormalize our data structure, make sure we were able to quickly and easily and efficiently pull back results. And we've slowly been integrating it more and more into our front end, so that we could use it as the primary source for our data, because it can quickly scale and quickly get us all of the results we need as we grow and grow as a company.”

More power to you NowPow. Congratulations on your Elastic Cause Award.