Custom software development has been around for decades, keeping pace with (and sometimes being responsible for) massive leaps and advances in technology. It’s uncontroversial true that custom software development has brought about much good, streamlining complex processes and improving patient healthcare. Nevertheless, it’s also been burdened with misconceptions that often deter organizations from taking advantage.
Every healthcare firm has to make its own decision about whether custom software development is right for them. But at the very least the decision should be made on the basis of good information. Here, we examine and dispel five myths about custom healthcare software.
Myth #1: In-House Developers are a Better Option Than Outsourcing
At first glance, it might seem foolhardy for a healthcare company to rely on outside software developers. The thinking might be that remote developers are not able to effectively coordinate with in-house teams, resulting in a less centralized development process that will inevitably lead to suboptimal outcomes. Remote teams, goes the thinking, don’t have the same interests as domestic ones, leading to a lack of accountability when it comes to the usefulness of a software product.
None of this is necessarily true. Technology companies have long championed the ability of remote teams to deliver high-quality software development outcomes, and this trend has only grown in recent months and years. Agile development teams, in particular, are relatively decentralized, yet are skilled in quickly developing usable, testable products.
The key is to partner with a custom software development firm that is committed to working closely with clients on a long-term basis, like illumisoft. We have extensive industry expertise in healthcare and can draw from our diverse pool of engineers to put together custom teams whose sole job is to develop, test, and scale products for particular clients and use cases.
Myth #2: It’s Too Expensive
At first glance, custom software does appear to be expensive. There’s no doubt that a high-quality custom development company is likely to cost more in the short term than a commercial off-the-shelf solution that does something similar.
But there is a way to calculate your investment. Many organizations use the Return on Investment (ROI) formula; dollars divided by the savings–whether that be time (efficiency) or some other measurement.
Sometimes, this cost analysis must be performed over a sufficiently long timescale, and attention must be paid to other factors that are likely to be impactful.
Custom software solutions leave room for growth, allowing for flexibility and resilience in the face of change, whether in terms of scalability or functionality.
Commercial off-the-shelf software is often brittle. It isn’t easy to scale, upgrade, or hack, which means it very often needs to be replaced over relatively short periods. Replacement, of course, amounts to additional costs that likely weren’t considered in the original analysis.
Piecing different commercial software options together with a current system might save money in the short term. However, in the long run, such a move is likely to cost more than an upfront investment in flexible custom software that can grow and change with your company’s needs.
Myth #3: The More Developers the Better
A common misconception is that adding engineers to a development team ensures that the work will be done faster. This simply isn’t the case. Software developers do, of course, tend to put a premium on speed and overall product lifecycle rates. However, that virtue is not necessarily correlated to the size of the team that is working on a particular product.
Much of the time, large development teams engender a diffusion of responsibility and result in more people to train and manage, all of which leads to an inferior product and more time to create it.
There is an optimal number of engineers for every particular software project. Agile healthcare software developers are attuned to the challenge of balancing speed of development with usability, all with an eye toward putting together the perfect team to achieve that balance.
Myth #4: Developers Must Stick to the Plan
In prior years, software development was often treated as a sequential, linear, centralized process. Changes to development, especially in midstream, were traditionally frowned upon. The logic was that only a sufficient amount of planning coupled with rigidity in following the plan would result in a stable, usable product.
Today, however, many developers, especially those steeped in Agile methodologies, favor flexibility and adaptability in the development process. Changes to the plan should, of course, only be rooted in the careful, periodic empirical examination of the development process. But flexibility is now widely viewed as a virtue in software development, not something to be avoided.
Maintaining flexibility in a system’s scalability and functionality isn’t only important for monetary reasons. Developers may also need to add features and capabilities to an existing system for regulatory reasons or to enhance the impact for patients.
Myth #5: When The Software is Live, The Job is Done
Healthcare organizations may be reluctant to hire custom software companies on the grounds that the developers are likely to stop paying attention once the product is live.
In reality, good software developers continue extensive quality assurance even after the product has been launched and is in use. A good custom software company will test for bugs and continue to work out any kinks in usability well after deployment. Software is constantly working, and will inevitably require new features and updates. Much like anything important, it needs to be maintained.
Custom software development is complex and requires good engineers, innovative solutions, and good communication. It takes a team of people with unique expertise in the healthcare field to be able to create a product that is directly in line with your business needs.
illumisoft fits the bill. We are an industry leader in healthcare solution consulting and have extensive experience helping healthcare companies achieve better patient outcomes through custom software development.
Importantly, we are committed to long-term client engagement. Not only do we have the expertise to develop and implement your healthcare software solutions, but you can rest assured that we won’t leave you in the lurch after deployment.
illumisoft is the quality assurance you need. We get the job done and continue as backup and support for your company, even as it grows and changes.