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How Healthcare Software Development Enhances the Medical Industry

Healthcare software opens up opportunities for clinics in both management and patient care

Published: Monday, May 16, 2022 - 12:03

The digital transformation of healthcare is under the influence of trending technologies, from IoT devices to AI algorithms. Some healthcare providers are just getting acquainted with innovations. Others (93%, according to Accenture) are already actively implementing and creating software solutions. Thus, companies improve medical practice and enhance their capabilities. Let’s take a look at how to organize healthcare software development to get the most out of your application.

Healthcare software market overview

Statistics from the last five years show that institutions and patients are interested in digital healthcare.

According to Statista, in 11 developed countries of the world, 70 percent to 100 percent of therapists use electronic health records in their practice.

One in five Americans tracks their health with the help of mobile apps. During the pandemic, the need for medical platforms has skyrocketed. According to IQVIA, in 2020, 90,000 healthcare software solutions entered the market. In some countries, the number of installations has grown from 20 percent to 135 percent.

With such demand for technology, investors are heavily investing in digital health. In 2020, Statista researchers recorded a peak funding of $21.6 billion.

By 2022, businesses expect a tenfold return on investment. Researchers predict that digital health market revenue will reach about $150 billion.

Those figures confirm that patients, healthcare professionals, and institutions are open to innovation. Therefore, a business should organize healthcare software development to respond to the needs of the target audience.

The benefits of healthcare software development

Information technology and applications are creating a new model—a customer-centric, digital health ecosystem. Electronic health services are relevant during the pandemic when people need to:
• Get professional help from home
• Limit social contacts
• Comply with quarantine restrictions
• Constantly monitor their state of health
• Get personalized care
• Obtain available services

Software solutions create a secure space for communication between patients, doctors, and clinics. Digital interaction is beneficial for everyone.

Medical workers: Freed from time-consuming paperwork
Patient information is stored in electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR), and automatically extracted from the appointment system. A doctor only needs to add clarifying details and prescribe a treatment. It’s easier for physicians to do their work because programs help to monitor patients and perform certain procedures faster (e.g., to search for a free ward or equipment, register a patient, and analyze data). Some platforms allow doctors to share knowledge, consult on the treatment of complex diseases, and improve their skills.

Patients: Under medical supervision 24/7, even at home
With the help of IoT devices and sensors, a healthcare platform collects vital signs and transmits information to an attending physician. The doctor analyzes the received data, corrects the treatment, and issues prescriptions and sick leaves. Patients have free access to their medical histories and the results of laboratory tests. If they are taken to a hospital, they open access to the EMR to a physician, even if the institution is in another city or country. The apps host educational content from treatment experts.

Medical institutions: Easier to coordinate internal work, control assets, and treat patients
Healthcare software automates manual processes, quickly processes huge amounts of data, and optimizes the management of administrative, financial, legal, and other issues in hospitals. In some cases, applications enhance the productivity of clinics and increase revenue from 5 percent to 11 percent during the first six months of use.

Types of healthcare software

To start a healthcare software development project, you need to understand what type of application your company needs. What software will improve the workflow and provide a decent level of customer service?

The choice of the application type depends on the needs of the customer company and the target audience. The functionality, size, and complexity of software for medical institutions, doctors, and patients differ. Here are some common software solutions.

EHR and EMR

EHR and EMR store information about the state of health: personal data, chronic diseases, medical history, or vaccination information. Physicians use these records when examining patients, monitoring them in hospitals, or prescribing treatment. Patients can access EHR and transfer them to physicians from other hospitals.

Digital records are needed by medical institutions because they help to easily exchange data, reduce the number of medical errors, and allow remote control of the patient’s treatment regimen.

Medical practice management software

This platform streamlines administrative and clinical work. It helps an organization effectively manage internal processes such as physician scheduling, data processing, billing, and more. The app automates manual tasks, so doctors have more time for patients.

Telemedicine platforms

Telemedicine applications ensure that patients will receive quality medical care at home. Such platforms connect patients with their doctors via video, telephone, or online chats. The systems are integrated with IoT sensors that collect physiological parameters and transmit them to healthcare professionals.

The doctor remotely adjusts the treatment, writes out prescriptions, and advises the patient. Virtual visits are relevant for the elderly, people with reduced mobility, residents of remote areas, and quarantined patients.

E-prescribing (eRx)

This software is an addition to the basic medical applications and can be integrated with EHR/EMR, hospital management systems, and other programs. Doctors fill out prescriptions and send them in one click directly to pharmacies. It’s faster than writing by hand, and safer because it reduces medical errors. A pharmacist doesn’t have to read illegible handwriting; thus, they dispense the right medicine at the right dosage.

Medical diagnosis software

This is an additional tool for detecting diseases by defining symptoms. Such a system is based on machine learning and AI algorithms because it collects and analyzes a lot of biometric indicators. CT scans of the lungs are used to detect cancer. Based on the results of the ECG, such software evaluates the risk of heart disease. A photograph of the eye helps to identify signs of diabetic retinopathy. These applications allow people to check by symptoms whether they need to seek medical help.

Doctor appointment apps

These applications also help to prevent missed appointments. No-shows cost U.S. healthcare $150 billion a year. A medical institution is losing money, and people in need are losing the opportunity to visit the doctor. A booking system allows the patient to schedule an appointment. Reminders about the visit are sent by email or phone. The patient either shows up at the appointed time or cancels the visit in favor of another person.

Medical equipment management software

A large share of physicians’ work is tied to software and hardware. When important devices fail, clinic processes stop. If the equipment is available but difficult to find inside the hospital, this also slows down the work of the institution. That’s why healthcare facilities use systems that automate inventory, help to schedule device maintenance, and seamlessly find the right equipment.

Healthcare software development guide

Custom healthcare software differs in purposes, functions, and complexity but is developed according to the same principle. You should take the following steps to build an efficient healthcare software solution.

1. Create a portrait of the target user
Before starting a healthcare software development project, it’s necessary to decide who will be using the application. It’s also important to understand what the target audience wants before implementing useful features. Working closely with customers helps to create a much better product that will be successful in the market.

2. Determine the requirements for your software
After getting to know the target audience and the market, a company elaborates the idea of the product. Specialists define a set of priority features, plan the structure of the application, and define the requirements for the software.

3. Think over a convenient UX/UI design
Before software development, UI/UX designers think about how to organize the pages of the application for user convenience. They design an intuitive interface with a harmonious combination of colors, fonts, text, icons, and images. If the user path is complex and illogical, patients and doctors will abandon the app.

4. Consider data protection
Applications collect personal data, information about the state of health, and bank card data. When sharing information with healthcare providers, customers risk losing it. The rights and privacy of users are protected by industry legislation: HIPAA (U.S.), PIPEDA (Canada), or GDPR (EU). A developer of a healthcare application should be guided by these rules when designing custom healthcare software.

5. Plan integration with existing systems
Before starting healthcare software development, consider the necessary steps for integrating a new application with the old systems. They must work together without downtime and failures. Therefore, you should think over a pool of technologies in advance to seamlessly connect several systems created at different times by different vendors.

6. Find an experienced healthcare software development company
If it’s difficult to carry out preparatory work on your own, you can transfer the project to an IT partner. When choosing a technology expert, you should pay attention to their:
• Experience in developing healthcare applications
• Portfolio of medical projects
• Tech stack
• The size of their company
• ISO, HIPAA, or GDPR certification

The development team will take over the preparation, conduct a discovery phase, and plan the project work. Specialists will create a secure software solution that complies with HIPAA and other industry laws.

Conclusion

Custom healthcare software opens up great opportunities for clinics in both management and patient care. But for a software solution to work for the benefit of an organization, it’s necessary to properly build the development process, from planning to implementation.

The success of a product is largely determined by the healthcare software development company in charge of the project. It will not only implement the planned work but subsequently support the application and develop additional functions on demand.

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About The Author

Alexander Khomich’s picture

Alexander Khomich

Alexander Khomich is CEO of Andersen Lab. He collects and works with data in a diverse set of interests across machine learning, finance, and technology. His aim is to transform IT processes in support of business transformation.