The healthcare industry represents a large and complex sector of the overall economy in the United States. Businesses are not only responsible for providing direct care to patients but are also involved in manufacturing drugs and medical devices, providing medical insurance, and managing hospitals and other facilities. The diversity of data-reliant business models and services within the healthcare industry presents both opportunities and challenges for individual companies. It isn’t easy to stand out from the crowd.
In recent years, businesses in many sectors have recognized the importance of custom software solutions that enable them to become more efficient, more productive, and more resilient in the face of change. Given the sheer number of businesses in the healthcare industry and the relative ease with which custom software can be implemented, individual healthcare companies would be wise to consider the potential benefits of this investment.
1. Simple Software Integration
Analysts recognize that holistic, business-wide software integration plays an important role for enhancing the user experience of both customers and employees alike. Seamless software integration for cross-functional business operations is the preferred model, but many companies face difficulties achieving it.
Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software can sometimes do the job for one aspect of a business’s operations. However, that same software is likely not optimal for handling other needs, at least not efficiently. Many businesses are thus forced to attempt the integration of two or more COTS software platforms to achieve full operational functionality.
Integrating software packages from two or more distinct developers makes a system vulnerable to technical glitches. Consistent and unforeseen software integration problems create unwanted headaches for employees and may even require investment in a robust and expensive IT presence to deal with them. Those outcomes hurt efficiency and productivity within an organization and take away from its ability to deliver quality healthcare services.
Custom software solutions can mitigate the likelihood that these issues will ever occur as it’s specifically designed to work in a coordinated way with your current system, ensuring integration with existing operational needs and practices.
2. Improved Patient Care
The healthcare industry prides itself on being patient-centric. Industry outcomes, however, often fall short of that ideal. Patient experiences are affected by a complex network of interacting players within the healthcare services industry, each facing challenges in their ability to coordinate data and ensure a positive patient experience.
Patients can experience long wait times, intricate or arcane processing procedures, informational gaps between institutions, billing mistakes, and other medical data-related problems. Alleviating these issues requires that hospitals, clinics, and other providers make every effort to modernize the data management systems that store patient records and medical histories.
Customized electronic health record (EHR) systems ensure a more holistic approach to patient care through integrated data management. EHR systems can be tailor-made for your hospital or clinic and are designed to ensure accuracy and efficiency in medical records, billing, and claims processing. An integrated records system gives patients more control over their own care by providing increased access to medical records from different sources and by making it easier to get in touch with their providers. The result is better patient care overall.
3. Enhanced Security
Healthcare is an information-rich industry. As such, data protection, as well as patient privacy and security, are crucial responsibilities for healthcare companies, no matter their business focus. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was put in place for the protection of patients, but it does create a compliance burden for companies in the healthcare sector.
Hybrid, unintegrated healthcare management systems composed of multiple COTS software platforms are fundamentally less secure than more integrated systems. The ability for software to coordinate data across diverse functionalities and databases is crucial for ensuring that there are no breaches in the security or privacy of patient data. HIPAA-compliance is more easily verified and maintained in an integrated software environment.
Security breaches are not only a risk to the personal and financial lives of patients, but also put company credibility and reputation at risk. Customized software solutions ensure that medical records remain secure and ease the burden of HIPAA-compliance.
4. Leaves Room for Growth
Businesses in quickly-changing industries must be resilient and must stay equipped to take advantage of new opportunities and technologies as they arise. In today’s healthcare marketplace, a small business that hits on the right model for service can grow quickly. Likewise, large, established businesses need to be flexible within their market niche to maintain profitability.
The ability for businesses to scale their products and services up or down as the need arises is critically important for their continued success. Most COTS software is brittle; it simply isn’t built for scalability and flexibility.
Flexibility is an essential attribute of custom software, which ensures that a company isn’t limited by brittle platforms. Customized software is more of an upfront investment, but it does grant your business much more freedom to be able to scale in a way and on a schedule that you determine.
Any investment in scalability for operations and services should be able to accommodate more than one round of change as a company pursues its goals far into the future. Customizable software is flexible enough to allow that, ensuring that your company won’t be stifled by choices made in reaction to fast-changing present circumstances.
COTS software solutions are ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive, so businesses are incentivized to use them. However, every business’s needs and operations are different. The healthcare sector is diverse, incorporating divergent practices in hospital and clinic management, patient data management, supply chain and logistics, and more.
“Plug and play” COTS software isn’t targeted specifically to any one business’s operational requirements. Using it increases the likelihood of outcomes that do not benefit efficiency, profitability, and best practices within your organization.
COTS software may force you to adapt to it, as opposed to doing its part to help your company implement whatever functionality is required. Unnecessary or arbitrary software constraints limit a business’s potential for flexibility and dynamism, making it harder for a business to grow naturally. Additionally, if COTS software doesn’t support business needs and best practices in full, your company may be required to patch together external, ad hoc processes, creating more variability and less integration in the operational system as a whole.
Clearly, being in control of your software’s functionality gives your company a lot more flexibility when it comes to choosing the right path for future growth. Custom software solutions ensure that your capabilities are aligned with your current operational practices and projections for future needs as it is precisely tailored to your business processes and can adapt and grow with your business as required, giving you a decisive competitive edge.
illumisoft offers custom software technologies for businesses of all sizes. Their engineers have proven experience providing healthcare-related business services such as software development, software strategy analysis, and technology consulting. They offer customizable software services for medical records management and remote patient monitoring.
Analyze your software capabilities and design custom solutions to meet current and future operational needs with illumisoft.
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