Ultimate Guide to Custom Healthcare Software Development

A system for tracking medications. 

An application for orthopedic rehab. 

An API that permits communication between several platforms. 

What ties these three items together? They are all the result of specially created healthcare software. 

Custom software solutions play a big part in how technology is changing the healthcare sector. 

 

Numerous software-driven modifications target one or more of the four objectives listed below: 

  • Save time
  • Prevent mistakes 
  • Improve patient health 
  • Increase cybersecurity 

 

Healthcare professionals often have unique demands and care objectives in addition to these overarching aims. When businesses cannot locate ready-made software to fulfill their requirements, they turn to bespoke software development firms for specialized programs that may fill the gap.  

This software development guide examines the value of bespoke software development and the areas where it has the most influence. We also discuss how healthcare professionals may develop their concepts into superior software that satisfies their requirements.  

 

The Effects of Developing Custom Software

The COVID-19 epidemic is one of the biggest problems facing the healthcare sector.  

Healthcare organizations were already having trouble keeping up with government quality care requirements. Patient portals have been implemented. They looked for ways to increase patient involvement. Interoperability was a problem for them. 

The epidemic then broke out. New technology and software updates were placed on hold as patients poured in. 

The need for telehealth services has increased dramatically. Data breaches and ransomware assaults increased as thieves seized the world’s turmoil. 

Healthcare providers resorted to bespoke software development firms when their IT departments lacked the time or resources to provide the urgently required software solutions. 

 

Fulfilling Urgent Needs

Custom software enables providers to address urgent demands without existing or prohibitively expensive commercial solutions.  

 

These essential requirements include: 

  • Enabling a decreasing pool of healthcare professionals to work harder with fewer resources according to regulations intended to improve healthcare quality 
  • Increasing patient education and involvement by meeting new interoperability requirements for swiftly and securely exchanging health data  
  • measuring the quality of service to increase government funding reimbursement 

 

Many healthcare companies need bespoke apps since few commercially available products meet these demands. 

To link a healthcare company’s medical records system with other organizations’ systems, the interoperability problem necessitates using bespoke APIs. 

 

Meeting Specialized Healthcare Needs

Additionally, custom healthcare software development improves healthcare delivery requirements for which prepackaged software is not accessible. 

A prime example of this is the concussion management software that an expert in orthopedic rehabilitation created. Everything a clinician needs to assess a patient and provide top-notch treatment physically is provided through the application. The customized application addresses the shortcomings of current rehabilitation programs and provides cutting-edge options for orthopedic treatment, performance improvement, and neuromechanical wellness. 

Given the small market, a large software business would not be motivated to create such a specialized application. Applications developed specifically for the healthcare industry meet specialized demands or improve upon existing ones. 

 

Major Impact Regions

Custom software may satisfy any healthcare demand since it is created to a client’s specifications.   

However, there is a higher need for creating bespoke software in four crucial areas: interoperability, workflow optimization, data security and integrity, and automation. 

In a 2020 Deloitte assessment, doctors highlighted these four categories as having the most digital technology requirements.

 

Interoperability

Healthcare organizations are searching for safer and more effective methods to exchange patient data. 

For instance, many predict that patient-generated data from wearable fitness and consumer health devices will be included in healthcare delivery over the next ten years.

Doctors view interoperability as a crucial first step toward additional healthcare advancements. Building vendor-neutral applications with user-friendly front ends and smooth back-end connections with existing electronic health records (EHR) and clinical systems will be necessary for health organizations and startups aiming for interoperability.

Enhanced Workflow

More than half of the doctors Deloitte polled said they needed technology to streamline their daily operations.  

They envision possibilities to improve job satisfaction among healthcare employees by using artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and other cutting-edge technology. 

 

Technology to improve processes and boost employee happiness is becoming increasingly important due to the pandemic’s toll on the industry and the large migration of healthcare personnel it has caused.  

These solutions must, however, be user-friendly and well-designed. Healthcare professionals will quickly stop using any technology that interferes with patient connection.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Healthcare providers believe that augmented intelligence applications may significantly boost healthcare delivery’s efficiency, precision, and caliber.

Both regular medical picture reading and interpretation technologies and AI solutions that will aid in disease diagnosis and acute illness prevention are anticipated by doctors. 

 

Additionally, these service providers think that solutions using artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, enhanced wearable sensors, and remote care would increase patient involvement.  

Doctors think they would be better able to motivate patients to lead healthier lives by using augmented intelligence technologies. 

 

Data Integrity and Security

Healthcare firms often worry about cybersecurity risks and data breaches. And with good cause. 

During the epidemic, cyberattacks have dramatically escalated. Healthcare assaults had an impact on 45 million people in 2021 alone.  

One hospital was forced to stop operating and give over its computerized medical record systems. Other health institutions also experienced network or software compromises.  

 

Even the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a call to action for healthcare providers and allied entities to strengthen their cybersecurity posture. 

Healthcare businesses will be seeking software solutions that meet or surpass their existing cybersecurity standards as the relevance of data security and integrity grows.  

Startups and solution providers must be open and honest about the security features they’ve included in their programs. They could also need independent third parties to confirm it. 

 

Telehealth

Remote healthcare and telemedicine solutions became urgently necessary due to the epidemic.  

The 2021 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Survey by J.D. Power found that telehealth use increased from 9 percent in 2020 to 36 percent in 2021.  

 

According to a separate poll (McKinsey & Company research), utilization of virtual healthcare is now 38 times higher than before the pandemic and is steadily increasing.  

Their preference for telehealth shouldn’t come as a surprise to healthcare consumers. After all, telehealth is nothing more than a practical, efficient, and secure medical treatment method. Patients may consult a doctor at home, at work, or even while traveling.

 

Telehealth offers simplicity and security for healthcare providers as well. Additionally, they view it as an additional tool for enhancing patient involvement, which enables them to achieve their objectives for value-based care.  

Even though numerous companies offer telehealth solutions, telemedicine is still expanding. Consequently, there are many chances for development and innovation in this field.

 

Clinical Compliance

For a good reason, the healthcare sector is highly regulated. People’s lives and most private information are on the line.

As a result, every healthcare institution or startup that requires specialized software for its operations must prioritize healthcare compliance.  

Whether a healthcare information technology team develops the software internally or contracts out to a specialized software development partner, the developers must understand the regulations governing healthcare data, including HIPAA. 

Understand HIPAA.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is known by the initials HIPAA. Patients’ protected health information (PHI) must be stored, shared, managed, and recorded in accordance with the requirements of this legislation.  

If an organization offers services for healthcare treatment, payment, or associated activities, it must adhere to HIPAA regulations. An organization is regarded as a Business Associate if it offers a third-party service that uses PHI. Health organizations and their business partners must adhere to the rules under HIPAA. 

 

What Is Covered Under HIPAA?

Generally speaking, the following elements make up HIPAA’s core requirements:  

 

  • Health software must abide by all HIPAA regulations, including the Omnibus, Security, HITECH, and Privacy Rules. 
  • Software developers must follow the administrative, physical, and technological security precautions outlined in the Security Rule. 
  • Before being transferred or shared electronically, all electronic patient health information (ePHI) must be encrypted.
  • Backup: If it has to be retrieved or restored, all ePHI must be safely backed up. 
  • Authorization: Restrictions must be in place to ensure that only authorized individuals are given access to ePHI. 
  • Storage Encryption: ePHI must be encrypted during transit and while it is being stored. 
  • Integrity: ePHI can’t be changed without authorization, destroyed improperly, or interfered with in any other way. 
  • Disposal: Once the ePHI is no longer required, it must be securely erased.
  • Software businesses must establish partner agreements with the organizations they will work with before storing or transporting ePHI. These contracts must be kept on safe servers. 

A high-level summary of HIPAA compliance may be found in this list. Review the accessible documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a more thorough overview and checklist.  

 

How Can a Healthcare Organization Develop Custom Software?

Custom software development for the healthcare industry sometimes starts with a concept. 

Sometimes a practice can no longer sustain a paper-based procedure because it is too time-consuming, costly, or prone to errors. The clinic may have an idea for streamlining the procedure with a unique web-based solution but lacks the funds to implement it. 

Or it can begin as a rough idea for a novel way to address a particular medical issue, with no clear plan for what to do next. 

Even after the initial version of the software is created, a healthcare institution may discover that it lacks the resources or expertise to make the necessary modifications. 

Whatever the route, they eventually realize they need more assistance. 

 

Internally or externally?

An organization has two options when it reaches this stage. 

They may employ the necessary people and handle all of the growth internally. Or they might contract a business that creates specialized software to do the task. 

 

Putting Together an Internal Team

With the in-house option, the company may employ full-time workers, giving project stakeholders access to people with the necessary skill sets and expertise. It’s a team made specifically to develop a specific answer. 

It can take an internal team several months to become proficient, but once they are, they will be able to maintain and improve the product throughout the duration of its useful life. They’ll develop productive work approaches as they get used to working together. Additionally, they will get a deep understanding of the software they create, making it simpler to enhance it and add new features. Due to all of this, internal teams are best suited for complicated, large-scale projects. 

Even if the application is minimal in scale, few small or cost-conscious firms can afford the overhead of employing a staff of full-time software engineers. 

Outsourcing to a bespoke software development firm can be preferable for some businesses.  

 

Outsourcing

There are several benefits to using external software development firms. Long-term cost reductions are undoubtedly the biggest advantage, but additional positives include improved security, quicker deployment time, ensured compliance, and an already assembled workforce. 

If speed is important, a freshly recruited in-house team takes less time to come up to speed than a bespoke software development company. This is so because outsourced teams are used to cooperating and have a set procedure. These elements allow outside teams to finish projects more quickly than internal teams.

 

They could have developed comparable medical applications and could apply what they’ve learned to the current endeavor. If so, they have an understanding of emerging healthcare technology developments as well. 

A staff with HIPAA knowledge will also be aware of the requirements the program must fulfill for compliance. Additionally, data thieves are less interested in one-off, specialized programs since they search for vulnerabilities they can deploy on several targets. It is uncommon for custom software to be compromised because of this reality and good software security. 

Unlike commercially licensed platforms, there are no yearly fees to utilize customized software. When development is complete, the customer company will own the program.

 

What to Look for When Choosing a Healthcare Software Development Company

Building an effective healthcare solution requires finding the ideal software development partner. Finding a bespoke software development business that is aware of the particular needs of the healthcare sector is crucial as a result.

Understanding healthcare data rules is the most important need for choosing a software development partner in the healthcare industry. Of course, a possible spouse does not have to be an authority on all things medical. Nevertheless, they require a thorough comprehension of PHI to guarantee that their development solution complies with HIPAA. 

 

A strong healthcare software development partner should be familiar with HIPAA and have information security policies to reduce data risks and safeguard patients’ health information. PHI requires high levels of security since it is the most sensitive information to be sent and kept electronically.

Interoperability is a concept that good healthcare software developers are aware of. They can develop software with simple e-health record system interfaces. Additionally, they are well-versed in HL7 standards. 

 

Conclusion

The expense of developing a healthcare app may appear prohibitive to startups and healthcare institutions seeking a custom software solution. However, these firms often discover that it is more cost-effective in the long run when they consider the benefits. Partnering with a specialized mobile app development company in NYC can further streamline the process, providing expertise in both the healthcare and technology sectors.

Providers may achieve particular care objectives more effectively by employing custom software instead of the labor-intensive, erroneous manual processes they have used. Additionally, they own the program after development and can sell it again. This appeals to many enterprises more than paying recurrent seat licensing fees to get by with ill-fitting commercial software.

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