Developing Custom Healthcare SaaS: A Complete Guide

healthcare saas software

Technology has evolved exponentially over the last couple of years. However, healthcare is one of the few fields where technological and SaaS solutions haven’t made much progress. The reason for this is obvious: hesitation to adopt new tech.

Most people prefer physically visiting clinics, taking opinions, and consulting face-to-face. But 2019 has changed the game for healthcare SaaS.

In the past, thousands of people took virtual appointments, online consultation grew, and families were not allowed to be next to you even if you were giving birth or going for major surgeries. In fear of the Covid-19 infections, patients preferred to stay within their homes and take virtual health advice.

To make healthcare accessible during these difficult times, a host of startups developed ground-breaking technologies. Thus, the future healthcare landscape will likely boast the perfect blend of cutting-edge tech, including AI, ML, blockchain, and more.

Read on to learn the current SaaS market and how you can develop healthcare SaaS website:

The Healthcare SaaS Market Overview

SaaS continues to grow drastically as the healthcare industry seeks state-of-the-art software to increase versatility and accessibility. Currently, SaaS is dominating the cloud computing world and will continue to expand.

By 2022, medical professionals can expect the following growing trends to expand further:

  • Artificial Intelligence- AI is prevalent in cloud solutions and will likely develop in the SaaS world
  • API Connections- Integration capabilities with existing systems are a must in the healthcare industry; thus, API connections will grow dramatically
  • Mobile Optimization- Up to 80.69% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, and of those, 23% of mobile phone users have a health-related app on their devices. Thus, SaaS products need to have excellent functions for mobile users.
  • Telemedicine- Data suggests that the global telemedicine market will be worth $171.81 billion by 2026. Telemedicine has experienced significant growth because of its ability to provide convenient and accessible patient care
  • Vertical SaaS- Vertical SaaS is expected to grow because of its ability to address customer needs
  • The PaaS Model- Customer retention remains one of the main focuses for healthcare providers. The PaaS model facilitates the ability to create custom apps, making them increasingly popular

Why Design a Healthcare SaaS Product?

Below, we discuss a few reasons to invest in a SaaS product instead of traditional software:

  • Piracy of cloud-based software can be tricky, but SaaS helps businesses reduce the risk of piracy
  • SaaS products do not require you to invest in heavy hardware infrastructure
  • Maintaining a centralized platform like SaaS is simpler and more affordable
  • SaaS offers a broader user base and appeals to new users due to its simple accessibility
  • Offering comprehensive services and updates to consumers is simpler through SaaS products. Thus, you can upscale and boost your revenue with SaaS applications

Steps to Developing a Healthcare SaaS Software

Here is an in-depth guide to developing a killer healthcare SaaS software:

1. Analyzing the Market and Competitor Research

Before you develop healthcare SaaS software, you need to conduct intensive market research. It encompasses identifying the latest trends, essential requirements, and your competitors. Keep in mind that the development of SaaS starts with three main kinds of research:

  • Market Research
  • Competitor’s Research
  • Customer Research

These activities help validate your business hypotheses. Without this validation, you won’t be able to prove existing on-market demand for your software. And if you don’t find validated needs, you’ll waste your funds developing a useless app.

So, avoid jumping the crucial steps and try to answer the following questions:

  • What is the current market size? Does the market demand for a new product?
  • What are the customer’s pain points? Is it validated pain, and what are its current solutions?
  • What are the existing solutions lacking?
  • What does your product offer that sets it apart from its competitors? Does it have something better than other software?
  • Is your software’s USP enough to transform user behavior pattern

2. Creating Software Specifications and Wireframes

Developing a healthcare application is creating specification documents and wireframes that product users will love.

Functional specifications documents aim to inform developers what, how, and why they have to build. It describes exactly how the features will solve customers’ pain points outlined during the research stage.

In addition, wireframing helps you define the layout of UI/UX elements of your software before developing a detailed design. Wireframes allow you to make changes without tricky manipulations. On the whole, wireframing will enable you to juggle UI elements, their placement and judge the layout.

3. Designing for user Interface

Building medical software is complex and tricky.

On the one hand, healthcare apps aim to serve the patient, making user experience especially important. It has to provide valuable, serious information meaning the app has to look professional.

Then there are the general requirements of a good app: an unobtrusive design, adaptivity, intuitive navigation, and advanced searching features. The app also needs to look up-to-date and account for the latest healthcare trends.

Thus, your SaaS application needs to implement the following UX practices:

  • First impressions matter. So, simplify registration by only asking for the most vital information
  • Poor onboarding often leads to confusion and canceled memberships. A positive onboarding, on the other hand, engages, teaches users how to complete various tasks, and provides a strong impression
  • Streamline information architecture and navigation to help users find the information they need
  • Often, the first thing a user notices when logging in is the dashboard. So, spend time improving dashboard user experience by answering the following questions for users:
  • What is my current state?
  • What are recent activities?
  • What are the common problems?
  • Where is my ‘To-Do’ list, and what items are on it?
  • How can I begin essential tasks?
  • Modern consumers expect support within seconds without speaking to someone on the phone. Thus, successful SaaS applications should have intuitive help and around-the-clock support systems

4. Developing the SaaS MVP

Developing a minimum viable product (MVP) for your SaaS project helps you get your idea validated. It’s also helpful for receiving feedback to develop in the right direction.

Here are critical characteristics of MVPs to keep in mind:

  • Provides value to attract your target audience and make them want to purchase your product
  • Demonstrates the product’s benefit
  • Creates a feedback loop to collect valuable information to improve the current version

MVP development is a low-risk investment that helps you learn what your audience thinks of your product. In turn, you can tweak your final product to meet their needs best.

5. Match With The HIPAA Compliance Checklist

HIPAA compliance is critical when using any electronic medium to exchange patients’ confidential health care information. Despite this, healthcare institutes fail to comply with HIPAA.

Here we’ve listed the four points you need to remember while ensuring HIPAA compliance:

a. Find Applications that Contain Private Health Information

Most healthcare departments buy or implement new software without consulting their IT department. The majority of the departments in healthcare organizations use SaaS applications that contain electronic-protected health information.

Thus, it is essential that you go through each application to ensure that they are HIPAA compliant. This way, you can maintain security and patient data privacy.

b. Review Your Contracts

Before you decide to transfer your system to a SaaS application, read your contracts thoroughly to ensure HIPAA compliance.

Make sure you sign the HIPAA-compliant Business Associate Agreement responsible for:

  • Setting permitted uses of electronically protected health information
  • Adding permitted disclosures of electronically protected health information
  • Ensuring the security and privacy of confidential health information

c. Set Compliance Standards

For SaaS applications, you need to set the following standards:

  • DICOM
  • GDPR
  • SNOMED CT etc.

These standards are not equal to HIPAA compliance; however, they help:

  • Ensure security
  • Ensure privacy
  • Create enhanced auditing efficiencies

d. Conduct Audits

According to HIPAA compliance, audit controls are necessary for:

  • Monitor access attempts to electronic protect health information
  • Record the usage of information
  • Implement security measures
  • Maintain cybersecurity protection
  • Examine security breaches

6. Test the Beta Version

Beta testing is an essential part of developing your healthcare website and helps you receive valuable feedback from users. In addition, it enables you to determine what your SaaS is missing and improve your software.

Finding beta testers can be challenging and time-consuming. To save time and energy, follow these steps:

  • Use email to find beta users
  • Join Facebook and Reddit beta testing groups
  • Benefit from Product Hunt, Beta List, and other beta testing sites
  • Write guest posts to increase product visibility
  • Connect with social media influencers

7. Deploy At HIPAA Compliant Servers and Maintenance

After beta testing and tweaking, it’s time to make your app live. Make sure your software is HIPAA compliant before you release it. Your healthcare SaaS software is not fully HIPAA compliant if it’s also not hosted on HIPAA compliant servers. Make sure you sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with your HIPAA hosting server.

Conduct scheduled SAAS maintenance to upkeep your website and ensure it’s always up-to-date with the latest HIPAA requirements.

Why Do Healthcare Tech Startups Prefer Using SaaS Business Model?

Let’s find out why healthcare tech startups choose a healthcare SaaS business:

1. Cost-Effective and Budget-Friendly

One excellent advantage of choosing the SaaS business model is that it doesn’t require much investment for infrastructure. It is because most of the work occurs over the internet.

At the same time, customers can cut costs on hardware purchases as they only have to pay the SaaS subscription fee. In addition, customers can transfer their medical records to different specialists without wasting money.

2. Scalability and Integration

Another benefit of choosing the SaaS model is that it ensures easy integration and scalability. SaaS website provides you don’t need to buy server software or waste your resources. Instead, when you want to expand, you can increase server capacity.

Moreover, healthcare companies use SaaS models to easily integrate insurance companies in the mix to make treatment plans affordable.

3. Upgrades

SaaS models make upgrading your current website and app a walk in the park.

As soon as the latest model launches in the market, SaaS automatically makes it available for customers without additional costs.

How to Gain Competitive Advantage in the Healthcare SaaS Space

Smartphones and wearables are slowly becoming an integral part of our everyday life. Thus, modern patients require the same convenience in their treatments. Patients now expect their doctors to offer instant treatments without having to sit in the waiting room for hours on end.

Using smartphones, apps, and other technologies within your healthcare provides you with an incredible competitive advantage. This section focuses on a few ways you can leverage SaaS software to increase customer outreach and retention rate:

1. Pay Per Use Mode

The pay-per-use revenue model has been used for centuries and is effective for many businesses. Customers pay for what and how much they consume in this payment model.

With metered revenue model, the customer makes a single purchase at a fixed price for a limited time with the commitment of not using it further. PPU offers businesses various benefits, including:

  • Pay-per-use offers users easy access to the subscription service with the ability to use or not use it. Its flexibility attracts more customers towards the SaaS services. In addition, its cost-effectiveness engages customers for prolonged periods.
  • PPU enables you to earn ROI within a shorter period. After this, you can jump to the phase of maximum profiting.
  • Pay-per-use models help you understand current market trends by providing data on service usage. This way, you can identify which service is most popular among users, add value, and increase the lifeline of the SaaS service

Another subscription model that has gained traction is the subscription model. It is due to its scalability, predictability, and stability. However, what puts it at a disadvantage is that it requires a lot of resources, tweaking, and continuous persistence.

Subscription models require a research-based struggle to re-shape various plans, pricing, services, and more to stay on top of its competition. In addition, there is a higher risk of subscription in the subscription model as users often develop a sense of guilt of overspending on resources they are not using.

2. AI/ML and Blockchain

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have self-learning capabilities, making them a growing trend in Healthcare SaaS. At the same time, blockchain technology helps users connect data blocks in chains or databases.

This state-of-the-art tech helps optimize:

  • Internal healthcare processes
  • Improve productivity
  • Ensure security and privacy
  • Increase capacity for automation
  • Automate repetitive tasks

With machine learning algorithms, AI assists healthcare providers in identifying healthcare information patterns. It offers you a competitive edge as you get to spot newer and better ways to provide patient care.

In addition to this, healthcare facilities can improve their services with the help of SaaS by:

  • Integrating voice-enabled assistants that can detect human speech patterns. This way, you can streamline everyday processes like adding new information to records or data searching
  • AI helps you identify trends that help your organization identify potential threats to patient data security
  • Machine learning allows you to automate processes, as well as enhance overall responses by boosting the speed of internal procedures
  • Blockchain safeguards your confidential patient data from breaches by adding an extra layer of security

3. Vertical SaaS

Vertical SaaS is an all-in-one, highly customized software solution for specific industries. For instance, Guidewire is a vertical SaaS software as it offers a robust platform to insurance carriers.

Since vertical SaaS is customizable, it is a more economical than horizontal SaaS. Here’s how vertical SaaS helps you stand out from your competition:

  • You can easily integrate analytics, business intelligence, etc. to access critical data insights
  • It enables you to incorporate valuable KPIs to assess long-term performances of vital processes
  • Organizations can easily access patient data and healthcare-specific intelligence to understand patient insights effectively
  • It helps ensure your software meets the industry’s standards. This way, your business provides better value and performance
  • Since vertical SaaS is customizable, it allows organizations to provide higher quality services

4. Integrations and Interoperability

In today’s world, customers find themselves using a collection of solutions that cater to their needs instead of a ‘rule them all’ kind of one solution. However, having to use multiple software at one time can inhibit business. Thus, modern users seek more connectivity and work efficiently on one system while collaborating across multiple platforms.

Luckily, integrations and interoperability allow users to streamline workflow and run operations more efficiently. In addition, it enables them to collaborate effectively across numerous cloud platforms.

Not just this, but integration and interoperability also offer the following benefits:

  • It gives customers new ways to utilize your software and enables them to move from one software to the other seamlessly
  • Often SaaS companies that integrate tell their consumers about all the new ways to use their software, services, and products. This way, your product gets marketed in front of a brand new audience, which can help scale your business much quicker
  • From the user’s perspective, integrations are easy-to-use and helpful, considering it only requires a couple of clicks to set up and start running

The Cost of Developing and Maintaining a Healthcare SaaS Software

Your budget for healthcare SaaS software depends on three main things:

  1. The functionalities you wish to provide
  2. The SaaS provider you connect with
  3. The development and technical supports you require

Apart from this, you need to factor in the following costs:

  • Implementation support
  • Updates, improvements, and new features
  • Ongoing support for hardware security
  • Quality assurance

Typically, a healthcare SaaS platform costs between $50K and $500K.

The Bottom Line

According to research, your business will likely grow by a whopping 19.63% if you move to the cloud. Since SaaS solutions are taking over the cloud computing market, it’s a brilliant idea to invest in it.

Plus, by investing in SaaS software to develop your healthcare app, you can unlock various benefits, including cost-effectiveness, greater security, reliable backups, and quick scalability.

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