The amount of global healthcare data increases every year. In 2013 it was estimated that there were around 153 exabytes of healthcare data generated solely in that year. Now, it is predicted that by the end of 2020 we will have 2,314 exabytes of new data.
The telemedicine market has grown significantly in the recent years - in 2019, it was valued at $45 billion, and by 2026 it is expected to be valued at over $175 billion. The increase of healthcare costs, funding of telemedicine and increase in digital health users, have all contributed to the market growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic will also have an enormous impact on healthcare systems. This health crisis has shut down the entire global economy. A lot of attention was directed towards the digital health community to provide health solutions for this time. Many solutions like international dashboards integrating information from WHO and CDC, or apps for the general public were created. They provide real-time statistics of active cases and inform you whether you have come in contact with a confirmed or suspected case.
Are you thinking about creating your own healthcare software? Keep on reading.
Why should you build healthcare software
Medical software is a leading solution for digital transformation in healthcare among virtual reality solutions, wearable medical devices or on-demand healthcare. There is an increasing demand for software development in the industry. The percentage of both medical practitioners and patients using medical software is also growing. Thanks to the digital solutions the medical system is more personalized, allowing continuous care at any place and any time.
The main goal of such applications is to create a customer-centred digital healthcare ecosystem. There is a need to create an information space that is scalable and can be used in both clinical institutions as well as regional networks. Information systems connect patients, medical consultants and healthcare providers, which benefits all the parties.
Apart from that, healthcare software brings benefits like:
Benefits for patients
- increase user satisfaction
- allows easy communication with doctors and gives access to lab results and medical history
- provides the ability to make appointments remotely
- aids self-management through symptom tracking resulting in better prevention
- remodels the patient-doctor relationship towards a more collaborative approach
- gives extensive information and educates about health issues
Benefits for doctors and health organizations
- eliminates daily paperwork
- allows easy management of practices thanks to electronic health records
- helps seamlessly manage all processes in hospitals
- provides communication tools for health organizations
- reduces costs by automating processes
- improves diagnostics and quality of medical services
Those benefits prove that medical companies should dive into healthcare software development in order to succeed in the market.
Types of medical software
There is no universal medical software type. Each case is different and serves different purposes. We can distinguish the following types of medical software:
Electronic Health Record (EHR) - eClinicalWorks, Allscripts
Software collecting patient’s personal information, medical charts that can be accessed by authorized users within a secure digital platform. Some of them also have a financial module for payments and invoicing. This is one of the most popular types of software used by hospitals and clinics. It is similar to CRM but adjusted to the medical industry.
There are two types of EHR software: Electronic Patient Record (EPR) software used internally by hospitals, and Electronic medical record software (EMR) used to store data like types of medication and dosage, planned procedures etc.
Medical Diagnosis - Human DX, OSP Labs, COVID Symptom Tracker
This software enables automated real-time exchange of information among different medical specialities. Thanks to this solution a fast and reliable diagnosis is possible. Medical specialists enter any information on a given patient. This software often uses artificial intelligence to analyze the available patient data and generate a diagnosis. Medical diagnosis applications are available for individual use which allow checking symptoms, and if a visit to the hospital is required. Those apps are getting very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Medical Billing - Epic Care
Software utilized in US hospitals to keep track of medical billing transactions. Those systems can be integrated with EHR software, which allows checking the patient medical records, tracking transactions and medical procedures. They help to prevent fraud and unnecessary treatments and procedures.
Medical Research - PubMed.gov
Software aiding in medical research development. They serve the purposes of education and sharing research with the medical community and can be used to train medical personnel. Medical research software can be integrated with EHRs which allows doctors to reference patient files for research purposes.
Similarly to EHRs, medical database software enables health professionals to enter patients’ data into a digital platform. The main difference between those two is that in medical databases cases are classified according to diseases, not patients’ profiles.
Medical databases help doctors make better treatment decisions as well as educating themselves.
E-prescribing - MediTab, ScriptSure
This software has been used by hospitals for a long time now. It helps to provide medications and limit any errors to improve patients’ safety. It allows doctors to communicate directly with pharmacies for prescriptions.
Imaging and Visualization - Materialise, Vepro
Imagining and visualization software is designed to visualize CT scans, MRI as well as surgical plans and telesurgeries. They allow evaluating different body systems and designing 3D models. Some of them are used to print elements of medical equipment or body parts.
Appointment Scheduling - SimplyBook.Me
Currently used by hospitals, clinics and healthcare facilities to minimize the waiting time of patients. Patients can schedule an appointment on the online platform, which reduces crowding and increases staff’s work satisfaction. Those systems also allow checking doctors’ availability, cancelling appointments and rescheduling.
Hospital Management - Availity
Hospital management software aims to assist administrators in performing everyday management tasks. They can be integrated to monitor the workflow of medical professionals as well as help in financial and administrative operations, inventory, bed management etc.
Medical Equipment Management - Sortly
Aimed to track and monitor the functionality and maintenance of medical devices. Helps to reduce equipment downtime. The software supports automatic maintenance scheduling and inventory alerts.
Health Applications - Fitatu Calorie Counter and Diet, Calm, Tulipa
Health tracking applications are used to track fitness, diet as well as medication intake of individuals. Among health apps, there are also those dedicated to meditation and stress reduction. Some of them are integrated with IoT devices such as smartwatches and sleep tracking wristbands or glucometers.
Medical diary applications are used to monitor diseases like Parkinson’s, they allow noting down symptoms, medications, and generate reports that can be forwarded to a doctor.
Telemedicine software allows healthcare professionals to carry out appointments with patients via a web browser or a mobile app. Some of them are also integrated with e-prescriptions and billing modules.
How to develop medical software?
So how do you build a medical application? You can create a custom solution or opt for numerous open-source ready-made solutions. In general, the process can be narrowed down to five simple steps:
1. Define your target audience
This is the crucial step for development as it will influence the category of your application. A deep analysis of the target audience’s needs will help you come up with the right solution and decide what technologies to use. Once you establish a strong connection with your potential clients, you will be able to deliver a much better product.
2. Define the features and functional structure
Some of the most popular features of medical software are dashboards, reporting and charting or real-time chat. Those features should be chosen according to your target audience and category of your app.
The software structure depends on its functions so as soon as you define what functionalities your application is going to have you can visualize its structure. Decide which modules and submodules to create and how to connect them.
3. Design the app
Create a user-friendly UI/UX as it is crucial for creating successful software. Your application should have an intuitive interface. Pay special attention to color schemes, fonts, size of buttons, icons and images.
Your app should seamlessly flow, so take into consideration the amount of data it is going to handle. It should be customer-centric, deliver important information with the minimum number of interactions and simplify process workflows.
4. Protect sensitive data
Collecting medical data through software creates a huge risk of sensitive personal information leakage. You have to assure top-notch security to gain credibility and users’ trust. You should also remember that any healthcare software has to comply with the standards and requirements of the country and region it is produced and implemented like GDPR in European Union, HIPAA in the US or Data Protection Act of 1988 in the UK. Also, think about methods of data encryption.
5. Develop and integrate with other systems
If you know your app category, have a technology platform, and most importantly, a development partner, you can start the development.
You should not forget about integration with other systems as it is super important for documents and services to be transferable between systems. Remember that any migration should be performed in such a way that will not delay the user experience and cause downtimes. Include integration strategies in your development plan at the very beginning.
Developing medical software brings a lot of benefits not only to your business but also to the general public. Healthcare systems are gaining lots of recognition due to the ongoing pandemic and will be growing even stronger in the next few years. The demand is increasing and in order to succeed in the medical industry, companies should start building their own solutions.
The most important part of the development is determining what type of medical software will best fit your target audience’s needs. They all have unique features and are used for different purposes.
If you are looking for a medical software development partner, contact our experienced team of developers. Together we will create something great that will change the lives of patients.