A Guide to Developing Custom Medical Software

Crafting Innovative Custom Medical Software: A Step-by-Step Manual

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26 Jun 2024

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1:49 AM

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26 Jun 2024

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1:49 AM

In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, technological innovations are revolutionizing medical practices and patient experiences. The rapid evolution of healthcare software development is at the forefront of this transformation, reshaping the industry’s approach to care delivery and administration.

Understanding the nuances of crafting innovative custom medical software solutions is more crucial than ever. From exploring the latest custom medical software or medical technology trends to dissecting the intricacies of custom healthcare software development versus off-the-shelf solutions, this step-by-step manual delves into the benefits, drawbacks, and the meticulous process involved. 

Whether you’re weighing the advantages of outsourcing or calculating the costs required to hire dedicated software developers, this blog aims to provide comprehensive insights to navigate the complexities of modern medical technology.

Healthcare Software Development: An Overview

Healthcare software simplifies and manages the numerous daily interactions and administrative tasks among patients, medical professionals, and health administrators. These platforms streamline operations, enhance care quality, and uphold the privacy and accuracy of records across hospitals, clinics, research labs, financial offices, and medical equipment providers. Healthcare software development creates an ecosystem where services are delivered with heightened precision and efficiency. 

Advances in machine learning have notably expedited this evolution, facilitating tasks such as digitalizing patient records and diagnosing illnesses. Concurrently, Big Data and e-health have significantly contributed to transforming the landscape of healthcare software development.

Types of Healthcare Software 

Electronic Health Record (EHR) Software 

Electronic Health Record (EHR) software is a crucial tool in the medical field, akin to CRM systems adapted for healthcare. Its primary function is to collect and maintain comprehensive patient data, including medications, medical recommendations, and past procedures. EHRs streamline hospital and medical practice operations by replacing manual record-keeping with accurate and accessible digital records. Two main types of EHR software are commonly used: electronic patient record software and electronic medical record software (EMR).

Hospital Management System (HMS)

Medical software operates as a fully integrated system that handles the entire hospital operations, including patient and administrative duties. It manages both the inpatient and outpatient departments’ appointments and electronic health records. Doctors’ schedules, surgeries, and procedures are arranged using hospital management software. It also manages the scheduling of rooms, labs, and pharmacies, designating certain rooms as occupied, vacant, or under maintenance. Patients receive SMS notifications for vaccinations and follow-up procedures in addition to accessing their health records, treatment plans, and medicines via hospital websites and mobile apps.

Tracking Apps

Health-tracking applications are becoming more and more popular as they enable patients to monitor their stress levels, dietary habits, physical activity, and meditation. If conditions worsen or an emergency arises, the app will promptly notify the healthcare providers. Apps for tracking medical care might also aid in patients’ recovery.

Medical Billing Software

Medical administrative staff can keep track of patient bills, transactions, and other cash activity with the use of this technology. Larger systems, such as hospital management systems or electronic health records (EHR), usually incorporate it.

E-Prescribing Software

Due to this software, medical prescriptions can now be sent straight to pharmacies and drug stores. It benefits the comfort of the patient and strengthens connections within the healthcare sector.

Medical Imaging Software

Medical imaging and visualization software analyzes MRI/CT/PET scans and generates 3D images. It enables:

  1. 3D modeling of human anatomy: Professionals create customized patient-specific images. For example, orthodontic surgeons use these tools to model patients’ teeth before surgery.
  2. Equipment or body part design and printing: This technology prints hospital device components or body parts such as prosthetic limbs or coronary stents for cardiac procedures.

Telemedicine Software

Healthcare professionals can use telemedicine software to schedule patient appointments online using web browsers or mobile applications. In this manner, medical professionals can treat patients and provide them with initial care, as well as electronic prescriptions and bills. This strategy has significantly expanded the healthcare sector.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)

The use of remote patient monitoring (RPM) has revolutionized the healthcare sector. The primary cause of this is the effective patient data collection provided by remote patient monitoring software, which gives hospitals access to accurate patient health information. It also facilitates doctors’ remote diagnosis based on gathered information. 

Laboratory Information Systems (LIS)

Hospital laboratories employ Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) as a type of tool to manage their operations and automate certain tasks, such as gathering patient data, maintaining test records, and providing results. LISs are intended to provide enhanced laboratory productivity and error-free operation. The software makes it easy to handle patient test orders, sample management, and reporting.

Radiology Information Systems (RIS)

Radiology departments frequently employ Radiology Information Software (RIS). With the use of this software, radiologists can gather patient reports, save them for later reference, and access radiology data, such as images. Any hospital’s radiology department can decrease human error, increase productivity, and provide better care with the help of RIS. 

Pharmacy Management Systems

Pharmacy management software is a technology used by pharmacies to handle several aspects of their business, including inventory control, billing, and patient prescriptions. It is possible for pharmacists to improve patient care, facilities, and operations with the help of this tool. 

What is Custom Medical Software Development?

No two healthcare institutions are alike, making custom healthcare software development essential to meet specific needs. Custom solutions offer a secure, unified platform for storing medical information, resulting in enhanced inclusiveness, performance, and scalability.

Clients typically request custom healthcare software development to address specific challenges, such as:

  • Optimize patient record management
  • Facilitate caregiver-patient communication
  • Promote collaboration among healthcare professionals
  • Integrate with existing systems
  • Comply with regulatory standards like HIPAA
  • Ensure smooth creation and exchange of individual health plans
  • Support telemedicine and remote care
  • Improve diagnostic accuracy
  • Reduce costs
  • Incorporate new technologies such as chatbots, VR, and AR

Why Healthcare Companies Go For Custom Medical Software Development?

Many healthcare companies opt for custom solutions to precisely address their specific requirements. Unlike off-the-shelf options, which can feel impersonal and require adaptation, custom software development ensures that workflows, patient management, and unique processes are finely tuned to meet exact specifications. This flexibility allows healthcare companies to effectively navigate changes and maintain ownership and control over their software solutions.

Healthcare data is highly sensitive, and strict regulations like HIPAA underscore the importance of robust security measures. Custom software enables companies to tailor these measures to their exact requirements, ensuring compliance without compromise. While off-the-shelf healthcare software may offer basic security compliance, it’s essential to thoroughly assess its features and security protocols. Unlike commercial software that may restrict access across platforms, custom solutions guarantee consistent access and functionality whether users are on desktops, tablets, or mobile devices.

The medical industry is ever-changing. The healthcare industry is quickly embracing emerging technologies. Without being constrained by the features of off-the-shelf solutions, custom solutions enable enterprises to stay ahead of the curve by integrating the newest technologies and techniques.

Custom Medical Software Development Trends 

The most recent software innovations in the medical field will undoubtedly signal the advancement of digital health solutions. Let’s examine the latest trends in healthcare software development.

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are transforming healthcare software development. These technologies process large datasets, provide predictive insights, and enhance patient care. Medical institutions are updating their systems with AI tools to:

  • Analyze medical images (CT scans, X-rays) for precise diagnosis
  • Identify treatment plans based on patient data and genetics
  • Accelerate drug development and forecast health risks
  • Improve patient experience with chatbots for reviewing medical plans and requesting information

AI implementation in healthcare enhances predictive analytics, patient care strategies, and personalized treatment plans.

2. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) encompasses interconnected devices and applications that collect and transmit real-time patient data. Examples include wearable health trackers like fitness bands and smartwatches that monitor vital signs, blood pressure, blood glucose, and heart rate. Many medical institutions use IoMT for enhanced remote patient monitoring, allowing healthcare professionals to track patient information in real time and reducing hospital readmissions.

3. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

AR and VR technologies are revolutionizing healthcare by enhancing medical training and treatment quality. Surgeons use these tools to plan complex procedures by visualizing patient anatomy beforehand. Additionally, AR and VR help patients understand complex treatments and medical conditions through interactive and informative visual content.

4. Big Data Analytics

Big data processing tools are transforming healthcare by analyzing patient records, medical imaging, and genetic information to provide valuable insights. They help identify patterns to forecast disease outbreaks and health risks, enabling personalized treatments and medications. Additionally, big data aids in disease prevention and management, proving invaluable to healthcare institutions. However, robust cybersecurity measures are essential to protect patient data.

5. Telemedicine

Telehealth and telemedicine technologies enable healthcare institutions to provide remote services, reducing manual processes. These platforms allow for:

  • Remote consultations, minimizing patient wait times
  • Emergency medical consultations
  • Remote health data monitoring
  • Post-treatment follow-ups, reducing hospital visits for patients with mobility issues
  • Remote education and training for healthcare professionals to enhance their skills and knowledge

Custom Medical Software Development: The Complete Process

We will now examine the process of developing custom medical software. 

1. Define your target market

When creating medical management systems, understanding the target market and its needs is crucial. By considering these needs and preferences, both clients and sellers can have a clear vision of the future solution. This makes selecting features and technologies like virtual reality, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things straightforward. Strong relationships between software developers and potential clients lead to superior products.

2. Gather all the information required 

Make sure you have all the information needed to create a product appropriate for medical use, like EMR software, before you start developing your medical software.

3. Prototype designing 

Medical software design, including hospital management systems, relies heavily on prototypingan interactive model of the final product. Prototypes use computer interfaces to allow user interaction, offering the following benefits in medical device software development:

  • Testing the product’s functionality and usability before full development.
  • Proactively addressing issues throughout the development process, minimizing risks and optimizing outcomes.
  • Gathering early feedback to ensure project alignment and identify improvements.

4. Build your final prototype

Once you’ve used prototyping tools to design your healthcare app, the next step is to build the final prototype. As a medical developer, staying updated with industry technology changes is crucial. A clear vision of your software’s final design is essential for successful healthcare software development.

5. Write code to develop your software

Creating an app from scratch demands time and effort, but developers can accelerate the process by integrating third-party software or a software development kit (SDK). Understanding the target audience’s needs is crucial for building an efficient medical app. This insight helps in selecting suitable programming languages and ensures client satisfaction with the final product.

6. Gather user feedback and refine your software

Before releasing medical software, it’s crucial to test and gather feedback from users. Compile a list of improvements based on their reviews to enhance your medical software applications.

7. Project delivery 

The final step of the process involves ensuring optimal delivery of your project. Deliver your software with necessary updates and comprehensive documentation. Allow sufficient time for users to test the product and provide feedback, even when under tight deadlines.

Why Outsourcing Custom Healthcare Software Development is Better?

According to Deloittes 2022 Global Outsourcing Survey, over 76% of companies favored outsourcing software development over in-house development. Here are five compelling reasons to outsource custom healthcare software development.

Cost Efficiency: Managing an in-house software team entails high expenses including salaries, benefits, office space, hardware, software licenses, and ongoing training. Outsourcing healthcare software development offers substantial cost savings. Partnering with outsourcing firms in regions with lower labor costs grants access to top-tier talent while minimizing expenses.

Faster Time-to-Market: Developing software internally often causes delays because of recruitment, onboarding, and technical challenges. Outsourcing provides a quicker path to market. Experienced healthcare software firms have established workflows, can assemble teams swiftly, and navigate regulatory requirements adeptly for faster software launches.

Quick Hiring: Hiring talent for healthcare software development is often time-consuming. Sourcing, interviewing, and onboarding developers can often delay your project. Outsourcing solves these challenges by providing access to a pool of highly skilled professionals experienced in healthcare software development. This swift access accelerates project timelines and minimizes the risk of skill shortages.

Getting Access to Expertise: By outsourcing the creation of healthcare software, you can instantly access a pool of expertise. Reputable outsourcing companies might have a history of working with healthcare organizations, so you can be sure that the people handling your project are knowledgeable about the complexities and quirks of the field.

Focus on Core Aspects: The internal teams can concentrate on their core activities, like research, strategy planning, or patient care, by outsourcing their software development needs to professionals. This helps your company stay true to its vision while simultaneously increasing efficiency.

Healthcare Software Development Costs & How to Reduce the Costs Involved

More healthcare practitioners are recognizing the benefits of custom medical software and custom integrations for existing systems. Custom software offers enhanced customization, a better user experience, and increased flexibility. However, cost concerns often deter providers from pursuing custom solutions. The cost of developing custom healthcare software depends on several factors, including:

  • The complexity of the solution
  • The type of software being developed
  • The necessary compliance measures
  • The development team

Let’s explore each of these factors in detail.

Complexity: Development costs increase with the complexity of your custom software. Each additional feature adds to the app’s complexity, extending development time and, consequently, raising the overall cost.

Software Type: The type of software you want to build can also impact the cost. Solutions incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning require highly specialized skills. Additionally, developing both web and mobile applications can double your costs. Mobile development involves creating separate apps for Android and iOS or a hybrid solution that works on both, each requiring distinct expertise.

Compliance Measures: Healthcare software in the United States must be HIPAA-compliant, which requires meeting standards for data security, accessibility, and more. The more compliance measures your software requires, the greater the development effort and cost. Each additional layer of security further increases the price.

The Team: The team you choose to build your custom healthcare software also affects the cost. Hiring an in-house development team is the most expensive option.

Organizations need efficient strategies to lower healthcare software development costs while maintaining safety and quality. Here are eight strategies to achieve cost reduction in healthcare software development.

  • Requirements that are precise and well-defined can prevent expensive scope adjustments throughout development.
  • Software development costs can be decreased by using Agile development approaches.
  • Using open-source frameworks and technologies helps lower the cost of creating software for the healthcare industry.
  • Offshoring or outsourcing certain aspects of healthcare software development can be effective.
  • By identifying flaws early on, continuous testing and quality assurance can lower the cost of resolving them later.
  • Infrastructure expenses can be decreased and the need for significant initial investments can be eliminated with cloud-based solutions.
  • Software compliance and security can be integrated from the beginning to save expensive retrofits and legal problems.
  • Users can learn more quickly and prevent costly errors by investing in training programs.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, crafting innovative custom medical software requires careful planning, the right expertise, and a clear understanding of your unique needs. Partnering with a reputable software development company can streamline this process, ensuring that you hire developers who are skilled in the latest technologies and compliance standards. Additionally, making use of their QA consulting services can enhance the quality and reliability of your software, providing a robust solution for your healthcare practice. By following this step-by-step manual, you can successfully develop custom medical software that meets the demands. Have any queries? Feel free to contact us!

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