The coronavirus pandemic has brought public attention to healthcare and accelerated the industry’s digital transformation. According to Statista, 74% of healthcare organizations have set digitalization as their priority for years to come. DX spending is projected to grow from $ 1.8 trillion in 2022 to $ 2.8 trillion in 2025. In this article, we’ve compiled information on technology trends in healthcare software development that healthcare providers need to consider in order to succeed in the market.
Healthcare market overview
Nonessential medical projects have temporarily been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations have dedicated all their efforts to combat the pandemic, working on the principle of “react – recover – resume”.
Healthcare facilities have focused on digital health projects to develop remote treatments. In 2020, digital health investment peaked at $ 21.6 billion.
Clinics, hospitals, and laboratories are focused on digital projects to interact with patients. The main goals of development are remote observation and treatment, as well as diagnosis of diseases before the onset of florid symptoms.
Medical institutions in collaboration with IT companies are working on healthcare software development of the following types:
- Electronic Health Records (EHRs);
- programs for medical diagnostics;
- medical database software;
- e-prescriptions apps;
- platforms for making appointments online;
- medical equipment management software;
- platforms for managing healthcare facilities;
- medical billing apps, and so on.
The industry is witnessing technological trends that respond to the emerging needs of the healthcare system and influence healthcare software development.
According to the HIMSS report on the future of healthcare, about 80% of healthcare providers plan to invest in the following technologies:
According to the Merritt Hawkins Review, in 2019, the average waiting time for a doctor’s appointment was 24.1 days, and people had to wait in line for about 20 minutes.
The pandemic is doubling the waiting time. Considering that tens of thousands of people fall ill every daу, medical institutions are experiencing enormous pressure.
Telemedicine helps healthcare facilities to:
- provide service to as many patients as possible;
- provide home treatment for patients with mild forms of diseases;
- reduce clinic visits during the pandemic;
- relieve the burden on doctors and medical personnel;
- improve workflows in clinics and hospitals.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the telemedicine market will grow almost 5 times by 2025 compared to 2020 and will amount to $ 191.7 billion.
IoT in healthcare.
The spread of connected devices has not bypassed the medical industry. Hospitals and clinics use IoT in order to remotely monitor patients and collect their vital signs, i. e. body temperature, pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, from sensors.
Connected medical devices (sensors, ECG devices, pulse oximeters, and so on) collect health data prior to patients’ visits to doctors. The processed and analyzed information is accumulated in a health monitoring app. They can be viewed by both app users and their attending physicians. The collected data is used to monitor patients’ health, medication intake, hospitalized patients, diagnose diseases before the onset of an acute stage, and so on.
According to MarketsandMarkets, by 2025, the global healthcare IoT market will almost double to $ 188.2 billion. The pandemic has spurred people’s interest in their health and the use of health and fitness apps. It is expected that platforms for interactive medicine, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring will be at their peak.
Virtual and Augmented Reality.
Virtual and augmented reality are transforming modern diagnostic, consultation, and treatment methods.
VR / AR apps are used for:
- Training. The technology simulates human anatomy so that doctors can study the location of organs, train to carry out procedures and operations on VR models.
- Carrying out operations. Virtual reality helps surgeons to plan and rehearse complex surgeries.
- Adaptation of people with developmental disabilities. Doctors are using VR technology to treat people with developmental disabilities in virtual environments.
According to Statista, spending on AR and VR technologies will grow almost 10 times from 2021 to 2024 and will amount to $ 300 billion.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning.
AI and ML algorithms are widely used in healthcare helping healthcare institutions to process Big Data, develop new drugs, improve administrative procedures, and treat patients. The most common uses for AI and ML are:
- medical data protection;
- robotic surgery;
- virtual assistant;
- medical institution management;
- search for fraudsters;
- elimination of medication administration errors;
- improved diagnosis of diseases, and so on.
Research suggests that AI share in healthcare will increase from $ 6.9 billion in 2021 to $ 67.4 billion by 2027. From 2021 to 2027, the technology will grow at a staggering 46.2% per year.
Chatbots are one of the technologies that enhance communication with patients and do some of the administrative work for medical personnel. They perform the following tasks for clients around the clock:
- make a presumptive diagnosis by symptoms;
- suggest medication regimen and dosage;
- provide information on diseases and methods of their treatment;
- make appointments with doctors;
- provide psychological help.
Hospitals and clinics use chatbots to manage queues. Chatbots are a promising technology in healthcare. According to preliminary estimates, the chatbot market is projected to grow to $ 520 million.
Benefits of healthcare software development
Hospitals, doctors, and patients benefit from innovation.
Benefits for doctors:
- Reduced paperwork. Healthcare apps automate making appointments, filling forms, record-keeping, file management, and data storage. Doctors are released from some paperwork and can pay more attention to patients.
- Improved interaction between doctors. Technology has removed geographic boundaries between doctors, giving them shared access to medical records and electronic health records. Patients can receive qualified assistance anywhere in the world.
- Effective management of patient data. Healthcare software automates patient records, facilitates data management, and protects confidential information.
Benefits for patients:
- Convenient communication with doctors. Patients contact doctors in a format convenient for them, i. e. via chatbots, video calls, and voice messages.
- Improved service. Patients receive high-quality medical services remotely, they don’t need to go to a clinic, wait in lines, and spend a lot of time making appointments.
- Quick access to personal data. Apps collect health data. Thus, people can view their medical history, treatment plan, laboratory results, and other medical information. Some platforms contain educational content to help clients take proper care of their health.
Benefits for healthcare providers:
Improved data management, customer service, streamlined administrative procedures, and the other benefits help hospitals have better control over their operations. When an organization is more efficient, its profits increase, costs decrease, and customers remain satisfied.
Stages of healthcare software development
Customers rarely implement such an ambitious project as healthcare software development themselves. Typically, healthcare providers seek help from IT companies with experience in healthcare software development. The IT partner takes over all stages of development from planning to support:
- Gathers software product requirements. This task is handled by business analysts. They communicate with healthcare providers to find out what their business problems, project goals, and software requirements are. These specialists formalize the collected information into a software requirements specification so that developers, testers, and other team members can work based on it.
- Creates a design.To make an app as user-friendly as possible, UI / UX designers think over the design of the interface, the location of the menu and navigation buttons, and the ways of user interaction with the product. This is an important software development stage as the efficiency of a medical institution largely depends on the app’s usability.
- Develops an app. The team implements the functionality stated in the requirements, finalizes the product at the request of the customer, organizes the work so that the software enters the market and works without errors and failures, and ensures data protection.
- Performs product testing. QA specialists check if the app has flaws in functionality, performance, security, appearance, accessibility, and other problems. They ensure that the software will function correctly and users will be protected in accordance with industry regulations.
- Releases and maintains the product. The team helps to implement the app into the work of the medical institution so that it works properly in the production environment. IT support specialists release updates, improve functionality, and fix emerging problems.
Outsourced healthcare software development is useful for those healthcare companies that don’t have their own developers, want to hire experienced professionals at a lower cost, and ensure faster time to market.
New technologies are constantly emerging in healthcare, and healthcare institutions need to adapt to innovation. Institutions need technology partners to help them develop the right IT solutions and implement them in their work.
Healthcare software development is facing changes. According to Deloitte, the healthcare industry will seek solutions for early diagnosis and prevention of diseases, rather than treating symptoms. Healthcare software companies can facilitate this progress.
Read more: 5 Rules For Successful Software Development