The healthcare industry has been going through a massive shift since a decade ago. This transformation has reached its pinnacle during the COVID-19 pandemic starting in 2019. According to research conducted by Meticulous Market Research, the healthcare software industry will get a whopping $511 billion by 2027 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8%. AI is further easing the healthcare transformation.
Considering the rapid advancement in healthcare technology, clinics and hospitals have started adapting to the trends to stay competitive and deliver top-notch patient care.
Before exploring how software in healthcare is transforming the industry, let's define what healthcare software is and its various benefits and types:
What is healthcare software?
Healthcare software consists of IT programs and web/mobile applications that help physicians and patients in various aspects of medical treatment, from appointment scheduling to diagnosis to post-care procedures.
Custom healthcare software is not only a technological landmark but a significant development that has reshaped the healthcare industry. The software for hospitals helps in patient care matters and managing staff, automating hospital processes and streamlining financial matters with greater accuracy.
The most common types of healthcare software are Electronic Health Records (EHRs), Medical billing software, Electronic Prescription Systems (EPSs), and Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS).
A brief healthcare history
The first software that changed the shape of the healthcare industry was EHR software. From 1990 onwards, the data privacy regulations urged IT vendors to come up with innovative software solutions that could provide enhanced security for PHI. These two events were significant milestones in the history of the healthcare software industry.
Here's the healthcare record-keeping history in a nut-shell;
- 1920s - detailed record keeping of patient care
- 1928 - ACOS established AHIMA, which created standard practices for keeping medical records
- 1965 - medicare social program
- 1967 - HELP Health Evaluation through Logical Programming
- 1972 - first EHR but costly
- Late 1980s - widespread use of EHRs
- 1996 - HIPAA law by Bill Clinton
- 2009 - HITECH by Barack Obama
From the record-keeping efforts in the 1920s to the adoption of EHR technology in the 1980s to the recent upsurge of telehealth software during COVID-19, the healthcare software industry has constantly evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of doctors, patients, and hospitals.
The significance of software in revolutionizing healthcare
The software is changing conventional methods and generating solutions for longstanding problems in the healthcare sector. It influences operational efficiency, patient empowerment, and predictive analytics. It means that for a change in the healthcare industry, this impact makes it a must-have tool.
Here's a detailed insight into some key reasons that highlight the importance of software in healthcare:
Software for healthcare has replaced traditional methods consisting of time-consuming manual efforts. It has automated scheduling of online consultations to manage medical records. Patients can access healthcare services in mere moments from their own homes using customized portals.
Physicians can generate electronic prescriptions, making it easier for patients to receive their treatment with reduced risk of human error. But that's not all. Patients can easily send online feedback by utilizing the interface of software for clinical use. This feedback allows doctors to address patients' concerns and identify areas of improvement.
The process of keeping track of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals is likely to get more complicated in the coming years. Healthcare facilities can effectively address this problem by using custom software for hospitals.
Inventory and maintenance schedules are easily managed in real time using medical software. It makes the hospital's day-to-day task management easier and lowers the expense of resources. In the end, hospitals can avoid delays and provide high-quality care.
Medical software can drastically reduce the need for paper-based documents. The manual recording of patient data is time-consuming and tiring and poses a high possibility of security breaches. Health software provides an effective method for collecting patient information while also allowing the secure transfer of the PHI (Protected Health Information).
Benefits of healthcare software
There are several benefits of using custom-developed clinical software. They support not only individual practitioners but also the working of healthcare organizations and hospitals at a broader level. AR & VR are further innovating the healthcare industry.
Let's have a look at the benefits of medical software for all three parties: doctors, patients, and organizations:
Benefits for doctors
Here's how healthcare software helps doctors;
- The latest diagnostic tools can help doctors assess the onset of ailments or diagnose existing diseases more accurately.
- By utilizing telehealth software, doctors can deliver remote patient care and consultation for patients who cannot visit onsite.
- Having instant access to patient health records helps doctors understand patients' history even if they have been treated elsewhere earlier.
- Some medical software supports physicians' decision-making by analyzing patient data and offering substantial recommendations.
- By signing up for online collaborative platforms, doctors can keep themselves updated by attending virtual webinars, accessing medical research studies, and networking with peers.
- AI-based software assists healthcare practitioners in creating personalized treatment plans for patients.
Benefits for patients
Here's how healthcare software creates ease for patients;
- Many healthcare software offer educational resources where patients can learn about various diseases and treatments and tips and guides to make better decisions regarding their health concerns.
- Automated billing and payment options relieve patients' financial stress as they can efficiently manage their treatment costs.
- Reminders and alerts can help patients better manage their medication routine, resulting in positive outcomes.
- Patients can monitor their progress by using health-tracking apps, setting goals, and staying motivated by achieving various milestones determined by the software.
- Patients can avail of online consultations and provide instant feedback without the need to leave home.
Benefits for organizations
Here's how healthcare software facilitates organizations;
- The top benefit of using healthcare software for organizations is reduced costs.
- Healthcare organizations become more efficient by delivering error-free and timely software services.
- As most software is developed keeping the cybersecurity landscape in view, it helps organizations secure sensitive patient data from external threats.
- Incorporating medical software in the infrastructure helps organizations scale their operations without compromising the quality of services.
- Healthcare software assists in data-driven decision-making by offering unique insights and stats.
- Using software can improve patient satisfaction through efficient communication, quick treatment, and hassle-free payment options.
Healthcare software types with examples
Several types of healthcare software address different sections of medical procedures. While some healthcare institutes prefer using all-in-one medical software handling all of their requirements, some prefer going for customized software tailored to meet the unique and diverse needs of clinics and hospitals.
Let's have a look at these software and their examples to understand how they help with medical proceedings.
EHR is like a healthcare CRM. It is used to store patients' medical history. Some of the famous EHR software in the market are CareMD, Kareo, and CareCloud Health.
Telehealth software is used for online consultations between doctors and patients. Whereby and Spruce Health are some of the popular telehealth software in the market.
Appointment scheduling software
This type of software helps automate and manage appointments for patients. Some of the commonly used appointment scheduling software are Acuity Scheduling, SimplePractice, and NextGen Office.
With the help of electronic prescription software, physicians can generate prescriptions with a few clicks. They can also share them with patients and pharmacies.
Remote patient monitoring software helps physicians diagnose and monitor their patients in real-time. It's mainly used for monitoring chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, mental health, and heart issues.
Medical billing software
The most commonly used software is medical billing software. It helps automate and streamline payment and insurance-related tasks of healthcare entities. Some of the reputed medical billing software are Kareo Billing, AdvancedMD, and DrChrono.
Similar to EHR, this type of software records patients' diagnoses. The only difference is that it's categorized with respect to diseases instead of patients' names.
Medical imaging software
Imaging software helps in analyzing images to detect any anomalies in the body. They can scan images from tests like CT and MRIs and diagnose any issues.
The diagnosis software is built on the latest AI/ML principles and helps doctors accurately diagnose various types of diseases.
Hospital management software
This software helps manage administrative tasks: Invoicing, appointment scheduling, patient portal management, etc. Sign In Scheduling and DocPulse are popular software used for hospital management.
Health tracking apps
This category loosely falls under the healthcare software category. These apps help in tracking health-related activities. People can monitor activities like their physical movements, sleep duration, diet intake, meditation, etc. Headspace, Noom, and BetterHelp are some of the famous health apps in the market.
In this write-up, we discussed the impact of medical software on the healthcare industry. Since the 1920s, medical software has constantly evolved to meet the healthcare industry's ever-changing needs. The benefits of clinical software are diverse, ranging from diagnostic accuracy to streamlining appointment and payment processes.