Developing healthcare software solutions is rewarding because such products create value for both businesses and end-customers. Also in 2022, optimising healthcare services is more crucial than ever. There are certain aspects, however, that can cause challenges during the development process and it is worth noting them especially when creating an estimation regarding your product, its future performance and ROI.
Before we jump into the healthcare software challenges, however, it’s important to discuss the rise of the patient-driven platforms as all technological challenges and solutions in healthcare revolve around them currently.
Patient-Driven Platforms Are Becoming a Trend Now
When you choose to develop a custom software solution for the healthcare industry that is going to appeal to potential business partners or end-clients, it is vital to consider the type of platform you want to create. The novel approach in healthcare is to aim at patient-driven platforms that center their functionality around the clients’ needs:
“By converging digital health and genomic technologies with everyday living, society and healthcare, the digital revolution is empowering new-age consumers to better manage, track and improve their health. Ultimately, enhancing the way healthcare providers interact and deliver care improves the health journey for each patient.” ~ The IQ Group Global
From a commercial point of view, patient-driven healthcare platforms offer elegant ways to increase patient engagement and deliver additional value. In fact, according to a report conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), telehealth usage is now 11 times higher than it was before the pandemic began.
“Digital engagement is here to stay. Consumers, doctors, and health care executives all say so.” ~ BCG
The options for static and dynamic user data input make it convenient to organise available data and extract meanings from it to further optimise the solution. An easy way to do so is to create user journeys that are easy to follow and make the patients (or platform users) the centre of all interactions. As social creatures, we want to connect to others in a meaningful way and learn new things from shared experiences. Reading real stories online, having direct access to medical professionals, coaches, and wellness experts, and quickly reaching out with few clicks is how modern healthcare solutions should look like.
That is exactly what the patient-driven approach is all about. These innovative platforms help patients cultivate new healthy habits through educative visuals (pictures, infographics, videos, etc.). In the 21st century, more and more people are becoming aware that their health involves personal responsibility and doesn’t just depend on healthcare providers. Thus, the vast majority of new generation citizens will want reliable medical information that respects their needs and is created in an engaging way. That is why creating valuable health-related content helps businesses expand their customer base and retain existing clients.
Major Challenges in Healthcare Software Development
The healthcare industry is changing rapidly due to Covid-19 Pandemic, technological innovations, patient needs and expectations, government regulations and what not. As a result, medical practice isn’t merely about treating patients anymore. It’s also about finding solutions to a whole new set of technological challenges some of which we will discuss below.
As a business executive or decision-maker who aims to develop a healthcare software solution, you should keep in mind that consent management is a vital functionality that you should take seriously. Due to many existing regulations in the healthcare sectors, such as general data privacy standards like GDPR and industry- and country-specific regulations like HIPAA (USA), DPA, PIPEDA (Canada), HITECH or NHS security policies (UK), each respectful healthcare solution should care about how sensitive personal data is being collected, processed, and stored. That is why integrating a dynamic consent management tool that asks patients for informed consent of sharing personal data is so crucial. Having such a feature embedded in your software helps you keep all gathered data secure, segregated and well-organised:
From patients’ perspective…
Consent management and compliance to different standard regulations is important to end-users because that will increase their trust and satisfaction. Increased trust leads to better treatment outcomes, so this aspect should be given special attention.
From a business perspective…
When you have consent management included in your solution, you make it incredibly easy to transfer the option to stop and share data with particular users or parties. This is key in order to keep the patient as the primary decision-maker, which once again follows the principles of the patient-driven approach.
Scalability of Healthcare Software Products
We just can’t stress enough how important it is to have a reliable and experienced technological partner when developing a custom software solution in healthcare. Think in advance and create a future vision of your desired product. This will help you prepare the crucial aspect of designing a product that is easily scalable as your business grows and expands. Sometimes that happens unexpectedly quickly, especially now with the Covid-19 restrictions making it hard to make long-term predictions.
In the case of rapid business growth, it is important to have a strong technological partnership with companies that will help you quickly scale your platform and stay competitive. Also, many companies choose to start products as MVP and test the market at first but from that point on, they find themselves in a situation where their technology can no longer maintain an increasing customer base. As the product goes to market, it constantly receives valuable feedback from users. To stay competitive, it should evolve by analysing market requirements, e.g., by adding new modules and adapting towards customers’ feedback.
Data Analytics as a Fundamental Part and a Challenge
Data analytics can easily be classified as the most critical part of every software product without exaggeration. Using cutting-edge data analytics tools powered by AI and ML problem-solving capabilities provides you with valuable insights. You will not only develop a product that is successful in business terms, but you will also improve healthcare for your end-customers. To obtain reliable data that can be analysed, you need to allow data sharing on your platform and add the option of data transfer from wearable devices that become increasingly popular.
✓ Combining different data sets and analysing cross-functional data means more valuable insights for you.
The aspect of data analysis is so essential to your business because it lets you keep track of the levels of user engagement, gather information about their behaviour and activity patterns, and make adjustments after the data has been analysed. Our health is our most valuable asset, and high-quality healthcare relies on accurate data to prevent and treat diseases. With ML and AI-enabled analytics, platforms can create customised marketing campaigns and assist in analysing accurate behaviour habits. Moreover, AI solutions provide businesses with powerful predictions about customer behaviour based on previously collected data and complex predictive algorithms. Consequently, when the product achieves higher personalisation levels by knowing their individual preferences and activity, this means that the particular solution saves time for users and creates a positive experience.
Integration With Other Systems
If your business is entering the healthcare sector with an innovative software solution, for best results, you should position it in a well-integrated ecosystem of software products, e.g. mobile apps, IoMT devices, online platforms, access to EHR (Electronic Health Record) provided by hospitals, etc. You should also be looking for ways to automate processes that will decrease time, minimise human mistakes, enable real-time instant communication between systems and increase transparency between different departments and outputs.
Bear in mind that users are looking for convenient, helpful, and easy-to-use digital products and your solution should be able to meet these market expectations. Always think about how the healthcare platform will make the user experience simpler and more enriching. For example, push notifications, scheduled reminders, automatic data collection from wearables, and analysis are good strategies for achieving this goal. With the accelerated global digitalisation of processes, future successful platforms will have to innovate by utilising technologies. Some of the most essential use cases for automation initiatives in a hospital setting can be:
- Hospitals ordering supplies from pharma trading companies
- Patient allocation in hospitals
- Post-treatment monitoring (e.g. remote monitoring platform)
The development of healthcare software in 2022 is challenging as it has to maneuver among patients and businesses’ needs, the ever-changing government regulations, the Pandemic and certain technological restrictions. After all, healthcare is an extremely sensitive industry as it affects our lives directly. However, boundaries and obstacles can be easily passed through should you be armed with the right mindset and a reliable technological partner.
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