Custom Healthcare Software Advantages for Medical Group Providers
Legacy systems are still in place around the world and are holding many organizations back. Healthcare is an industry where old systems have remained in place for decades.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities are notorious for having legacy systems because they cannot take time off. People continue needing care, and interrupting systems can lead to drastic consequences for these facilities.
Moving to custom solutions is key for many companies that need to access old sets of data while maintaining high levels of compliance.
When transitioning to custom software, businesses have a lot of questions before deciding to hire a developer.
5 Answers to Common Questions About Custom Software Development
1. What’s the Benefit of Custom Development?
The primary benefit of custom development is that it addresses your organization’s unique needs. When software is tailor-made for your business, it can improve efficiency by targeting weak points: through process automation, third-party integration, or adopting innovative technologies like Telehealth. Off-the-shelf software may not fit with your existing software, or it may not address all of your needs.
Custom software is also:
- Easy to scale, allowing it to expand as your business expands.
- Less expensive in the long run. With an off-the-shelf solution, your organization may spend more on customizing that solution or purchasing other software to make up for deficiencies.
- Uniquely yours. No other organization will have the same software. You won’t have to pay recurring fees simply to license software that you may or may not need to use a year from now.
- Supported for as long as you need. With off-the-shelf software, the developer can choose to stop updating the product or supporting the product, and you have no recourse. With custom software, you can support and maintain your product for as long as you desire.
You invest a great deal of time and resources into your business, so why not invest in a custom software solution that will meet your brand’s unique needs?
2. What Costs are Involved in Development?
Developing a custom software solution is a time-consuming process, and for this reason, it comes at higher cost compared to an off-the-shelf solution.
While it’s impossible to estimate the costs of development without knowing the details of your project, there are several factors that will impact the final cost:
- Scale of the software. The greater the project, the greater the cost.
- Complexity. Simple software solutions will naturally cost less to develop. Complex software will require more complicated logic and more time spent coding and testing the program.
- The migration of your existing software. If you have data in your current system that needs to be moved to your new system, you will need migration services. This adds to the overall cost.
- Integration into other systems. If you want to integrate your new solution with external software, this will take more time and add to the complexity of the project.
Simple software solutions with basic functions will cost less to develop than complex software with multiple functions and features.
Still, it’s important to remember that your software should be making your operations more efficient and address your unique needs. The costs may be higher upfront, but ultimately, your custom solution should save you money in the long-run.
3. Will I Own the Software?
Yes, when you have custom software built for your business, it’s important to own the source code. Your contract with a developer should be explain any restrictions to Intellectual Property, but typically there’s no restrictions. Owning the source code allows you to hire other developers in the future to continue updating and maintaining the system.
4. Why Does Development Often Exceed Timelines?
Software that’s rushed leads to bugs and errors. Custom solutions take a lot of time, and while it’s possible to foresee some issues, it’s not possible to forecast every issue you’ll face in development.
Oftentimes, it’s when development is well underway that issues arise.
When these issues do arise, this will add to the development time. It’s important to have milestones and goals, and developers will do their best to accommodate these goals, but even the world’s largest developers have to push back products.
Game developers, for example, often have to delay their games even when they’re very close to release. Bugs and issues found in the testing phase can lead to major functionality or security issues.
User experience issues may also arise.
It’s vital to correct these issues before the product release. While some projects will be complete before deadlines, other projects may have to be extended even longer to ensure the best product reaches the consumer.
5. Should I Hire a Freelancer or a Development Company?
Freelancers can do an amazing job in the development industry. A lot of freelancers can code amazing software, but in the health industry, you need a team of developers. Working with a team makes it possible to have specialists in:
- User experience
- User interface
While one freelancer may be very talented, a team provides the specialization needed for large-scale solutions with better optimization.
Our Solution When Working With a Mental Health Group Provider
When the company came to us seeking a solution to their current system issues, we started by identifying the key issues facing the company.
The process started with learning about the company’s operations and issues that were introduced with the new procedures required from mental health organizations that contract with Kaiser, as from now on they would need to integrate Tridiuum One platfrom into their processes.
Dissecting Key Issues
No one knows the issues in workplaces like the people that deal with them every day inside an organization. When we sat down with our clients, we learned of a few key issues that the organization was facing:
- System integration into one system is difficult
- Utilizing multiple systems in an organization is redundant and complex
- Difficulty managing the requirements set by Kaiser Permanente
Operating multiple locations make it difficult to join systems together seamlessly. The workflows from Kaiser require complicated, expensive changes to systems that are often custom designed for health organizations. Moreover, the solution msut be HIPAA-compliant and meet many other industry standards and requirements, such as HL7 and PCI.
Key Issues of System Merging
Healthcare providers spend a lot of resources to build out systems that work well for them and train their employees how to use each system efficiently. The error checks and security measures in place are often a result of years of input.
Adding in the requirements of Kaiser was sure to cause a few issues that can make operations less efficient and far more cumbersome:
- Two calendars for appointments
- Two calendars for scheduling
Of all the issues that can bog down a system and lead to chaos, double booking is one that can ruin a company’s customer experience, lead to being overworked and cause unnecessary wait times for clients.
Small operations can dedicate a person or two to double checking and managing all of the calendar and scheduling. Larger operations will find that the lack of cohesion among calendars and scheduling can lead to significant issues with quality control.
When systems have to be upgraded and merged, like in this case, it’s imperative that as developer be brought in to help correct the issue. Our team consists of highly skilled developers that are accustomed to creating custom solutions for clients.
Creating a seamless experience, especially in today’s fast-paced world, often means having a web-based system in place.
A web-based system allows for:
- Rapid deployment
- Ease of use
- Easy expansion and growth
Scaling up web-based systems, when using the cloud, enables resources that can be ramped up and down as demands rise and fall. Databases can be shared among multiple offices to ensure that calendars are synced up across offices and there’s no concern of double booking.
It was important that there was no decoupling of the scheduling and calendar system because these two tools balance each other.
Developing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system allowed us to streamline the system and ensure that it met all of the requirements of Kaiser. The existing system was still in place, allowed to handle all of the processes that have been running smoothly for years, while adding a robust ERP system.
Integration into the new and old system was a key concern because it allowed for the calendar and scheduling issues to be rectified.
The system allowed for:
- Scheduling and calendar functions under one system
- Visual dashboard
- Appointment reminders
Incorporating changes took a four-step process where we analyzed the business, created a statement of work and moved into the alpha version of the software within 7 months. In less than a year, the product was implemented in all offices.
Our team’s biggest challenge was integrating the new system with the existing system without interrupting workflow in the process. Staff training was also put in place to keep a streamlined process with as little of a learning curve as possible.
With a compliance-focused approach, it was possible to keep the system in compliance while streamlining workflow and ensuring that data integrity remained high.