Technological developments are revolutionizing the world—and the healthcare industry is no exception. The global market for medical software applications will soar in the coming years from $2.4 billion USD in 2017 to more than $11 billion USD in 2025.
This growing demand for healthcare software is perhaps not surprising. The healthcare industry generates an estimated 30 percent of all data worldwide, requiring applications to manage and use this data effectively. By 2025, the amount of healthcare data generated yearly will likely increase at an incredible annual rate of 36 percent.
Moreover, the healthcare staffing shortage has prompted many organizations to look for software systems that can help automate and streamline processes. USC has called the healthcare staffing shortage a “public health crisis” that will likely worsen as the population ages and nurses continue to leave the profession.
In particular, healthcare organizations can see many benefits from adopting custom healthcare software. This article will discuss everything you need to know about custom healthcare software development, including its definition, types, advantages, and how to get high-quality custom healthcare software for your own business.
What Is Custom Healthcare Software Development?
Custom healthcare software development refers to planning, building, implementing, and maintaining custom-built software applications that meet the unique needs of healthcare organizations. These solutions can automate various healthcare processes, improve patient care and management, and support the work of healthcare professionals. Custom healthcare software allows for improving patient outcomes while offering cost-effective pricing for businesses in the healthcare industry.
The kinds of custom healthcare software are limited only by the imagination. Some popular examples include:
- A hospital management system (HMS), also known as a hospital information system (HIS), for overseeing the functions and operations of a hospital or healthcare facility (electronic medical records, scheduling, billing, laboratories, pharmacies, etc.).
- Practice management software for managing the administrative and clinical operations of a healthcare practice, such as a doctor’s office or clinic. This includes scheduling appointments, handling billing and insurance, and providing a patient portal.
- Mobile app development for improving patients’ health and wellness. Developers can build mobile apps for various purposes, such as managing medical conditions, contacting healthcare providers, tracking fitness or weight loss, and handling insurance claims.
- Wearable medical devices that provide real-time information about the wearer’s health data and status. These range from simple fitness trackers and smartwatches worn on the wrist to monitors for an individual’s glucose levels or heart rate.
Healthcare software is unique not only because of its functionality but also because healthcare organizations must follow patient data privacy and security regulations outlined in theU.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Specifically, a medical organization must secure a patient’s protected health information (PHI). PHI consists of any data that could identify a specific patient, such as medical records or discussions between healthcare professionals about a patient’s treatment.
Any custom software developed for the healthcare industry must comply with HIPAA. This may involve implementing access controls so that only authorized individuals can view and modify a patient’s data. PHI should also be encrypted while at rest and stored in a secure physical location.
Furthermore, healthcare technology organizations must rapidly embrace FHIR compliance regulations to meet the 21st Century Cures Act and CMS requirements. This necessitates a comprehensive approach including navigation of many complex facets such as patient-provider relationships, clinical teams, equipment systems and various healthcare topics like problems, medications or financial resources.
What Are the Types of Custom Healthcare Software Development?
Custom healthcare software comes in several forms. The main distinction in custom healthcare applications is between clinical and infrastructure software:
- Clinical software is used in healthcare specialties such as cardiology, radiology, and orthopedics to support patient care. For example, electronic medical record (EMR) systems can store and retrieve patients’ medical records, while decision support systems help physicians make diagnoses and develop treatment programs.
- Healthcare infrastructure software supports the operations of a healthcare organization. These applications are typically enterprise software platforms deployed in larger organizations and used by healthcare professionals and administrative staff.
There are specific types of custom healthcare software as well. For example, telehealth software connects patients with healthcare providers remotely, helping deliver healthcare services over the internet through video meetings and messaging.
The Future of Healthcare Software By The Numbers
The broader healthcare software market is poised for an explosion in demand. Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates that innovative healthcare technologies could create $350 billion to $410 billion in additional value by 2025. Between 2022 and 2030, the global healthcare IT market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 29 percent.
In particular, the emergence of several new digital technologies could radically transform the healthcare software landscape. Here’s what you need to know:
- AI and machine learning: The global artificial intelligence market is expected to reach a value of $191 billion by 2025, growing by 37 percent annually. Technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) can make processes like data entry and recordkeeping dramatically faster and more efficient.
- Telemedicine: The global telemedicine market is projected to grow by 20 percent between 2022 and 2030.
- Internet of Things: The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), (i.e., internet-connected medical devices that can exchange information), is worth an estimated $158 billion in 2022.
- AR and VR: The global market for augmented and virtual reality in healthcare will be worth roughly $11 billion in 2025.
- Chatbots: According to Accenture, 64 percent of healthcare executives say they have already implemented a chatbot system or plan to do so—the highest of any industry.
5 Benefits of Custom Healthcare Software Solutions
Custom healthcare software solutions come with a variety of advantages over off-the-shelf software. Below are five of the most significant benefits of building custom medical software:
- Tailor-made to your business: Off-the-shelf software has a “take it or leave it” philosophy, often requiring changes to your business processes to use it effectively. When you work with a custom healthcare software development company, on the other hand, you receive a final product that is precisely what you need, tailor-made to your business goals and requirements.
- Cost-effectiveness: Custom healthcare software can be surprisingly cost-effective. For one, outsourcing to a development partner means you don’t have to pay the overhead that would be part of any in-house development project, such as employee salaries and benefits. Custom software solutions also save on the costs of hiring and training the developers you’d need at different stages of the app’s development process.
- Higher productivity: Much has been written about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or “Industry 4.0,” with new technologies like 5G, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things altering the way companies produce goods. Similarly, “Healthcare 4.0” leverages these technologies in the healthcare sector, redesigning custom software to take advantage of new developments and improve employee productivity.
- Greater operational efficiency: In these uncertain times, especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic, healthcare organizations need to be agile and patient-centric. Custom healthcare and telehealth solutions can offer a more user-friendly approach, providing a high-quality patient experience that leaves a positive lasting impact.
- Compliance and security issues: As discussed above, healthcare organizations must obey regulations, such as HIPAA, that govern how they use patient data. Custom healthcare software development companies can design applications to be fully compliant with HIPAA, HL7 FHIR and other standards, providing a safeguard against any potential issues. These agencies provide a reliable way for healthcare providers to protect their patients’ information while providing top-level services.
Reducing Costs While Maintaining Quality in Custom Healthcare Software
There’s no shortage of benefits of custom healthcare software—but is it cost-effective for your organization? The good news is that custom healthcare software development services can meet any budget for organizations of all sizes.
In particular, offshore custom healthcare software development helps organizations save on the expenses of developing custom applications. Fifty-nine percent of business leaders say they outsource to cut costs. While the rates of custom software development vary depending on the skills and expertise required, companies can generally save between 40 to 70 percent by outsourcing. Given this potential for cost savings, it’s no surprise that the global healthcare IT outsourcing market will reach a value of $62 billion by 2027.
The next question is: how can you find a reliable and capable partner for custom healthcare software development? KMS Healthcare is an industry-leading provider of custom healthtech software solutions with a team of highly experienced and knowledgeable developers. We offer a full suite of software development services, from software engineering and testing to mobile app development and platform modernization. We also have domain-specific expertise in fields such as interoperability to help our customers enhance their applications with the latest technologies.
Want to learn more about how KMS can help with your custom healthcare software needs? Get in touch with our dedicated team of experienced healthcare technology consultants & developers today to chat about your business goals and requirements.