The healthcare industry unveils some of the most complex databases in the world, leading others in the business to ask what are the benefits of custom healthcare software development.
For paper filing systems, it seems like the writing is on the wall. Patients are sick of filling out mountains of paperwork, and the lengthy process of organizing it gives healthcare clinics a major headache.
Handwritten paperwork also increases the likelihood of patient information errors. It’s time for a better system, but one obstacle stands in the way: what’s the alternative?
Thanks to the breadth of custom healthcare software development now available, it’s easier than ever to build a program designed specifically for your clinic or hospital’s unique needs. Investing in custom healthcare software development offers you the ability to define and measure the metrics and KPIs you value most.
In this blog, we’ll talk about the advantages of building your own software and how the right developer can help you reach your goals.
Why Not Buy an Existing Healthcare Program?
Healthcare providers face a number of challenges. While patient safety is the foremost concern, predicting health outcomes is becoming more and more possible thanks to the sprawl of integrated patient registries.
Suddenly, it’s possible to find a bone marrow donor across the country in seconds—something doctors could only dream of just decades ago. Because these registries encourage healthcare personnel to submit as much information as possible for the benefit of others, they are easily accessible to anyone who needs to know.
This creates a frenzy for database software companies. Analytics, as the field is called, has grown substantially over the last decade and is likely to keep getting bigger. Each year, new software is released that offers access to newer and better information.
So why not just pay for the software that’s out there?
Extreme Cost Concerns
If you want to purchase a license to one of these analytics programs, be prepared to pay out the nose for it. Many of these programs cost over $100,000 for an annual license, making it prohibitive to local clinics with a limited, lean budget.
Moreover, adding users or scaling up to care for more patients increases the cost. For businesses whose annual patient load doesn’t put them in a position to pay for it, the only solution is to create custom software or find an open-source healthcare program, leading to another issue.
Much Assembly Required
The existing healthcare programs offer a lot in terms of information visibility, but getting to it is no walk in the park. Many of these software companies have entire teams of customer success managers assigned and devoted to one client—usually one individual at a clinic—to train them on how to use the software.
Budgeting a salary for someone whose only job is to learn software and teach others to use it is just too much for some clinics. It would be easier to have a simpler, more customized program that serves the unique needs of an office.
Too Modular or Too Restrictive
Another problem with the pricey healthcare software lies in its customizability (or lack thereof). Many of these programs come out of the box with no emphasis on the clinics they serve. A marketing team figures out what sells best, and that’s what users are stuck with.
Customization on these programs usually costs too much to be worth it, pushing clinics to find ways around the limitations of their software. Sometimes, it can mean just buying another program!
In other cases, software is built-in modular pieces that ask healthcare personnel to pick and choose which of the available products would best fit their needs. Will the other pieces do what they’re supposed to? Will the problem be solved, or will the clinic have to buy yet another software license?
Why Custom Healthcare Software Is Better
After calculating the costs for all the software available out there, one might wonder if it’s more cost-effective to just develop software in house. We think so.
When hiring a software developer, you get the best of both worlds.
- The ability to dictate what your software needs
- The oversight to make sure it works just right.
In this process, you’ll be an integral part of the development of your software. You’ll know exactly how it works, saving you time and money in the long run.
Planning the Most Effective Healthcare Software
Once you decide to build your own program, it’s time to start designing what you need. The best way to do this is to brainstorm which tasks take up the most time at your clinic. Doctors reportedly spend nearly 20% of their working hours on non-patient paperwork. This is a huge (and unnecessary) time sink.
Network with other healthcare personnel to find out which features they use the most and if they fit your needs. Take time to consider how your program would replace the traditional paper method. Finally, consult with a software developer to see what realistic avenues can best help you reach your goals.
Use What’s Already There
Building custom healthcare software does not mean it’s time to invent everything from scratch. Enough time and money are required as is to build a product that works and tackles your most essential needs. You should not be considering advanced features unless they can be accommodated by someone else.
The good news is that using another company’s software is a tried and true practice. Using APIs (application programming interface), your custom software has the ability to incorporate the best parts of other programs.
Think of an API like a picture inside a frame—what’s inside can be swapped out while the frame remains. If you come across one program you can’t live without, there’s likely an API for it.
When you interview developers, ask about their philosophy when it comes to using APIs. They may have insights you can take with you to better plan your program.
Who Should You Pick to Build It?
Once you’ve ironed out all the kinks of your software idea, it’s time to find a developer. There are a million skilled programmers out there, but the right one for your needs will be the one with a background in healthcare software.
Working with a veteran in your field will help you avoid some of the common problems new software projects face. These problems include timeline confusion, misunderstood expectations, and platform compatibility issues. They can also help you ensure a problem-free deployment with your program.
Your developer should have a plan to take your software to a mobile app, should the need arise. This is why it’s important to work with a developer versed in multiple device platforms.
Ready to start your own custom healthcare software development?
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