And How Custom Solutions Can Help
Nearly overnight, healthcare providers around the world were forced to respond to the unpredictable events of the 2020 pandemic. These responses included new product development, the mass adoption of telehealth and telemedicine, and EHR integrations with existing healthcare systems.
While technology is not a new concept to the healthcare industry, this sudden shift to virtual healthcare pushed many healthcare providers into adopting advanced technology systems at lightning-fast speeds. Some providers were successful and quick to adopt these new systems, but many providers are still struggling to catch up and implement the right technology that meets the requirements of their patients, physicians, and industry regulations.
Through research and in-depth interviews with our existing healthcare clients, we were able to consolidate an extensive list of technology pain points into 3 major categories. Here are the 3 major challenges healthcare providers face and how custom solutions can help alleviate these burdens.
1. Data Management
The future of healthcare is data-driven. Smooth data aggregation combined with robust data storage is vital to providing world-class patient care, at scale. As a traditional healthcare provider, it’s critical to have the right systems in place with the capacity to automate patient intakes, test results, treatments, billing, scheduling, and patient progress. Furthermore, you need the abilities to securely store and protect confidential patient data.
In recent years, companies had to invest in expensive custom data centers to store mass amounts of information. Today, cloud-based solutions like Google GCP, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure have empowered providers to take evolutionary leaps in data management without the price tag of building a custom solution.
What’s important to note, is that each platform hosts its own set of benefits and risks and offers its own set of limitations. When thinking about data management, it’s important to consider all of the data you will need to gather and how that data will be used by both physicians and patients. Recognizing the type of data you need will set the foundation for a strong technology roadmap.
One of AppIt's partner development companies worked with a Colorado-based healthcare provider that needed to gather and store very specific patient data. They developed a custom solution that utilized image processing, object detection, pdf processing, data mining, and HL7 and XML parsing. This solution allowed their client to gather and store patient data in a way that complimented their unique workflows. The solution also granted physicians easy and secure access to large amounts of patient data, allowing for better conversations between doctors and their patients.
2. Automated Reporting
Automating reporting is one of the most common headaches our clients in healthcare (and other industries) face. They’re aware of the many benefits automation can provide such as optimizing operational efficiency, improving patient accountability, providing a competitive edge, and reducing risks and liabilities, however, the path to get there is not always clear or straightforward.
Here’s the thing. In order to effectively automate your data reporting, you first need to understand that great data outputs (analysis), come from great data inputs. In other words, without a strong process for data aggregation and data storage, reporting and analysis become obsolete.
For healthcare providers and hospitals looking to scale or even maintain their current operations, the ability to view, analyze and process reports is absolutely critical. Like we said before, the future of healthcare is data, and reporting is the next step is the data evolution driving healthcare forward. Physicians will come to expect this feature, as will patients. Rest assured, your competitors will as well.
The Colorado-based healthcare client required the ability to view, analyze and process robust reports in real-time. In order to help them meet this requirement, the development team designed a full-stack web application that allows professionals to access stored patient data and move the data through a guided workflow to streamline diagnosis and patient billing. Additionally, the development team built a custom database structure using Mongo DB. The result was a fully secure database that could analyze specific sets of data points, transmit them to another secure platform, and produce a user friendly report for daily physician use in patient meetings.
3. System Integration and Legacy System Upgrades
Modernizing legacy IT infrastructures and systems is yet another major pain point healthcare providers face today. Providers using legacy systems are still carrying out a decent amount of their processes manually, they can’t process multiple data types, and they often experience a lack of transparency of data flows (among other data and process related issues). Additionally, these legacy systems can be labor intensive and expensive to maintain, costing providers both additional time and financial resources.
Providers looking to digitally transform may be after the well-known benefits that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can offer. Other benefits of integrating existing systems or upgrading a legacy system include automated reporting and predictive analytics, enhanced performance and agility, and data security. All of these benefits ultimately allow for organizational growth and scalability.
In order to effectively overcome the legacy system challenges in software, providers first need to define their critical processes and requirements. The next step is choosing a tech stack. You can move your non-critical operations to the cloud, but continue to use your on-premises infrastructure resources for the core clinical and administrative workflows.
The healthcare client had a legacy system that needed to be upgraded as well as a critical need for a custom integration. They needed to unlock the ability to access their device manufacturer’s data stores. The development team used secure APIs, an automated web integration, and EHR export to interface with multiple cardiac device manufacturers.
While data management, automated reporting, system integrations, and legacy system upgrades are three technology challenges healthcare providers face today, there are many more both related to and unrelated to these topics. For more information about custom solutions to improve your workflows or operational efficiency, contact us.