The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the use of digital health applications, especially in telemedicine, teleconsultation, and remote monitoring. A report by McKinsey indicates that the use of telehealth services has spiked to 38 times higher than before the onset of the pandemic. Another report, by the Randstad recruitment and employment agency, indicates that software development positions increased by 8% during the first months of the pandemic. The use of digital solutions, including healthcare software, is expected to continue in the coming years, and this is a clear indicator that investing in digital healthcare programs is essential.
What is healthcare software?Healthcare software comprises knowledge-based IT programs designed to offer medical professionals and patients information, guidance, and feedback. Hospitals are utilizing new technologies designed to cater to the current healthcare expectations. Having certain types of customized software applications can make specific medical processes more efficient.
Benefits of healthcare softwareHealthcare software programs provide users with a wide range of benefits. Patients can schedule online sessions, while certain simple diagnostics can be automated. There is also reduced paperwork, allowing healthcare providers to focus on patient treatments and primary healthcare. Besides that, doctors can collaborate with other specialists, leading to better-informed decisions.
For patients, such programs are critical in enhancing their ability to access healthcare. It’s possible to virtually access a doctor from anywhere without the limitation of geographical barriers. So, more patients now have access to high-quality medical care, and they can shift their focus to finding the best treatment options.
Types of healthcare softwareThere are several software programs, and each is designed to enhance certain processes. Some are patient-oriented, while others are designed for the needs of clinical management, diagnostics, and research purposes. So, what software is used in healthcare?
#1 Telemedicine softwareTelemedicine is a platform used by professional medical providers to remotely link with patients. This software is used to facilitate the provision of medical services online. With the rapid growth of technology, current telemedicine systems are technically virtual clinics with multiple integrated medical processes, including diagnostics, appointment scheduling, and others
#2 Medical diagnosis softwareMedical diagnosis software refers to intelligent programs powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and based on machine learning algorithms. They are designed to handle the medical diagnostic process with higher precision. Such programs follow sets of pre-defined medical procedures.
Huntleigh Diagnostics, for instance, has been able to use the latest technological innovations to develop a wide range of medical products to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of vascular diagnoses. Such medical programs can carry out automated as well as interconnected medical diagnostics with minimal chances of error. However, some diagnostics still can’t be fully automated; hence, they have to be performed by doctors.
#3 Medical image analysisMedical image analysis software is used for training, viewing, and sharing medical data, thereby increasing the efficiency of a chosen medical treatment. Imaging and visualization software programs are effective in aiding radiologists in handling the ever-growing amount of patient data. Such software makes it possible for medical professionals to accurately visualize MRIs and CT scans, leading to better evaluation of certain conditions.
#4 E-prescribing softwareJust like some disease diagnosis processes, medical prescriptions are also migrating to digital platforms. E-prescription is driven by convenience and ease of access, allowing doctors and patients to interact in a highly customizable platform. The popularity of this healthcare software is driven by the fact that it only takes a few minutes for the doctor to issue or renew a prescription. Another advantage is that prescriptions can be cancelled instantly.
In the medical sector, this type of healthcare software has significantly improved productivity. Doctors can handle dozens patients since there are fewer physical movements, as this type of software eliminates time-consuming traditional scripts.
#5 Clinical trial softwareThis type of software is primarily used for two purposes: sharing research with the medical community and education. It’s designed to provide comprehensive statistical analysis of various medical issues using statistical algorithms to analyze data.
Technology has played a crucial role in advancing the medical field, and this includes the research process. Previously, research was mainly based on medical knowledge, and it involved the use of manual processes. However, computerization of diagnostic procedures, and tools such as databases, have made it possible to effectively observe research results. They can also propose computerized hypotheses, as in the case of infection rates.
#6 Hospital management softwareThis healthcare software is designed to help manage daily activities in hospital administration. Generally, hospital management programs help to integrate various automated hospital processes, including medical billing, accounting, inventory, out-patient management, and bed management, among others. Most hospitals integrate hospital management software with EHR software to simultaneously keep track of their patients’ medical records.
#7 Healthcare claim processingOnce interactions between people involve some form of transaction, there will always be claims. In healthcare, hospitals and clinics have to be ready to react to complaints filed by patients. This may appear at any point in the healthcare process, and the claims must be handled and compensated accordingly.
Due to the many complaints, Healthcare Claim Processing software can help reduce the mess and improve service delivery efficiency. It’s worth noting that this type of software may be handy in eliminating medical errors, thereby protecting the patient from medical malpractice.
#8 Healthcare billing softwareThis is also known as medical billing software. This is a computer application designed to automate the billing process in the healthcare industry. For instance, Diagnoss, a California-based startup, has launched its coding assistant for medical billing to provide real-time feedback on coding and documentation.
Generally, billing software makes the billing process more efficient, i.e., billing to the patient, patient’s insurer, and other relevant entities. Additionally, it helps to improve the healthcare organization’s financial flows, especially those that affect profitability in the service delivery process. Some of the critical components of a healthcare billing software program include:
- Facilitating and improving reimbursement rates
- Sustaining the healthcare organization’s financial health
- Revenue optimization
- Monitoring and automating financial flows
#9 Healthcare CRM softwareThis is one of the best healthcare software programs designed to enhance the efficiency of service delivery in the medical sector. The optimized and customizable program can be used to systematize professional interactions between healthcare providers and patients.
A client relationship management system can be customized for use in healthcare organizations. As a result, it brings together multiple data sources to provide a comprehensive overview of the patients’ activities and habits. A healthcare CRM acts as a centralized data center holding patients’ information. It enhances patient management by minimizing the administrative errors that come with poor control of records. This is related to each patient’s health records, appointments, treatment history, contact information, etc.
#10 Electronic health record (EHR) and electronic medical record (EMR) softwareEHR/EMR is a computer program used by healthcare providers to effectively automate clinical workflows and manage patient data. EHR, for instance, facilitates the management of medical records that are related to patient logistics. This includes a patient’s records from more than one doctor, and it’s critical in providing a long-term view of the patient’s health, including the history of present illness (HPI), test results, demographics, and medications.
Meanwhile, EMR is ideal for directly managing individual patient data. EMRs are digital medical charts filled with medical information, such as treatment history from a selected healthcare practice. The information in the EMR can’t be shared, so if the patient switches doctors, then the new medical practice will have to establish a new EMR.
ConclusionA report by InTouch Health indicates that Telehealth will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.9% between 2019 and 2026. Besides that, current trends suggest that biosensors, predictive analytics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and robots are some of the expected trends expected to take the lead in 2022. All these solutions rely on technology, and states are trying to implement new healthcare legislation to make it possible for medical institutions to adopt new digital programs.