Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 01, 2018

How Software Vendors Are Changing the Face of Healthcare

Delivering value-based care has become a high priority in today’s world. Seeing technology as a major driver of success, hospitals heavily invest into medical software solutions. In 2016, the global digital health market was estimated at $100 billion with all the signs to double in 2020.

Indeed, the majority of US hospitals have long ago opted for the digital form of maintaining health records. And you can hardly find a person who has never tried to manage their own health via an mHealth app.

A close look at innovation

You can hardly find a custom healthcare software development company that is not deep into the healthcare game. Vendors help hospitals deliver better care and boost employee efficiency by providing impactful, best-in-class solutions.

As the boom in digital health is very much in evidence, let’s now examine in detail what IT providers have to offer doctors and patients alike.

Software systems

The reign of paperwork in hospitals is over. Today’s clinicians prefer managing inventory and keeping protected health information (PHI) in digital form.

From EHR (electronic health records) and EMR (electronic medical records) to HIS (hospital information system) and healthcare CRM, IT providers have altered the way hospitals work. With such solutions in place, caregivers can easily store, update, and share health data, devoting more time to sufferers and their needs.

The list of software able to revamp medical workflows wouldn’t be full without narrow-focused solutions tailored to specific departments. Cardiovascular information systems (CVIS), dental practice management software (DPMS), picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), radiology information systems (RIS), and more — all of these enable better data management and improve patient outcomes.

mHealth apps

The mHealth app market continues growing apace, reaching $23 billion in 2017 alone.

Physicians use mobile apps for different purposes. For instance, clinical assistance apps let them access lab results or other related information. With monitoring apps, doctors control patient behavior and symptoms anytime and anywhere. Communication apps allow connecting with peers and sharing health data across different medical facilities.

The variety of patient apps is also impressive. It can be health life apps to control weight or sleep, wayfinding apps to guide patients and their families through the labyrinth of hospital hallways, education apps, or those reminding of appointments or when to take pills.

There are also a number of disability apps helping hearing- visually-, and mobility-impaired people lead a better life.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables

The modern treatment is all about smart: sensors and smart beds to accommodate a patient’s lying position, smart lenses to correct bad vision, and even smart pills to control medicine-taking by patients with acute conditions. And this list of IoT devices is not complete.

Wearables have also been fast to catch on. They are useful in gathering biometric data to control a patient’s heartbeat, pulse rate, and glucose level, as well as to evaluate a patient’s quality of life during cancer treatment.

Medical portals

Patient engagement is another area where technology is advancing in leaps and bounds. To wit, online portals give sufferers 24/7 access to their health data — recent visits, medication doses, allergy lists, and lab test results, to name a few.

Such websites also enable patients to ask for prescription refills, improve their health literacy, hold e-consultations with doctors, complete online forms, and more.

Big data

Another novelty changing the landscape of healthcare is big data. Many medical centers treat it as a strategic asset able to refine decision-making.

The recipe for success is simple. Connected devices collect all the necessary information, passing the baton to big data analytics responsible for scrutinizing these mounds of data and offering physicians meaningful insights.

Empowered by this information, caregivers can identify inefficient treatments and processes, uncover better alternatives, define the factors leading to reduced readmissions, as well as aggregate clinical, financial, and operational data to evaluate outcomes and balance costs.

Augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR)

Such disruptive technologies as AR and VR have also contributed to the digitalization of healthcare.

For example, AR- and VR-enabled solutions are being widely used in medical training. Students don’t have to peek from behind a doctor’s shoulder during the surgery any more. They can train by simulating an operation using VR gear or enhance their knowledge by watching a live streaming from a surgeon’s VR camera.

In addition, these technologies could help reduce anxiety, relax chronic patients, and even relieve pain during complicated medical procedures.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is far from being a behind-the-scenes player in healthcare. It has already received its share of hype, and for a good reason.

This technology is able to automate repetitive tasks, which becomes extremely useful in detecting cancer at early stages. Moreover, AI-enabled imaging platforms assist clinicians in analyzing and diagnosing heart anomalies. When coupled with speech recognition, AI helps refine medical workflows and boost employee productivity.

Capitalizing on new opportunities

From mHealth apps to virtual reality, IT providers are giving hospitals ample room for improvement. If we weave together the benefits healthcare organizations can reap by employing these innovative techs, the list will be pretty long:

  • Advanced diagnostics and treatment
  • Improved patient outcomes
  • Revamped workflows
  • Enhanced patient engagement
  • Ongoing medical training
  • Detailed analytics
  • Better inventory and supply chain management

Any pitfalls on the way to success?

Any technological endeavor has a flip side. And before adopting any healthcare software, pay particular attention to the following issues:

  1. HIPAA-compliance. The majority of medical solutions are responsible for storing, processing, and sharing PHI, but who guarantees the safety of this sensitive data? To avoid unwanted headache related to data leakage, make sure your software is HIPAA-compliant.
  2. Interoperability. When it comes to integrated solutions (e.g. PACS+RIS or EHR+medical portal) or sharing PHI between multiple healthcare organizations, the interoperability ill is what may queer the pitch. So make certain your vendor follows the FHIR initiative to deliver an interoperable solution.
  3. Technology acceptance. Despite an array of positives Health IT provides, physicians and patients may be reluctant to accept technological novelties due to some barriers. And if you want technology to reign in your hospital, you’ll need to contrive a comprehensive and coherent strategy.

About the Author: Yana Yelina is a Tech Journalist at Oxagile, a custom healthcare software development company based in New York. Her articles have been featured on Becker’s Hospital Review, Medical News, Datafloq, Healthcare Works Collective, Medgadget, to name a few. You can reach Yana at [email protected] or connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.

Edited by Mandi Nowitz
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Yana Yelina, Tech Journalist at Oxagile ,


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