Everything You Need to Know About Healthcare Software Maintenance and Support

Key Takeaways

  • With Agile and DevOps methodologies, developers fix bugs at every software development stage. Thus, ensuring that there’s no excess workload at the last minute.
  • Corrective, adaptative, preventive, and perfective are four popular software maintenance strategies used by developers.
  • On average, healthcare software maintenance and support cost $3,000 – $5,000 per week. The cost highly depends on the maintenance team, the time taken for maintenance, and the complexity of the healthcare software.

Robust healthcare software maintenance and support are needed to support resources and care quality. Patients are satisfied with better and faster healthcare services. To ensure seamless care services, it’s essential to have smooth operating healthcare software to access medical records, connect with patients, and access e-prescriptions.

Healthcare software maintenance and support assures that all software is upgraded and is of the best quality. According to a report, the most-used maintenance strategies include preventive, reactive, and CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Systems). Let’s look at healthcare software maintenance and support in detail.

Reasons for Healthcare Software Maintenance and Support

1. Fixing Bugs

Healthcare software maintenance and support system tracks and fixes bugs. Tracking bugs allows checking which ones are a priority, and which ones are minor and can be fixed later. A bug-tracking system helps to reduce workload management.

The development team ensures that all bugs are identified, assigned to team members, and fixed in time. Further, unfixed bugs tend to camouflage other bugs, and this hampers healthcare software operations. Hence, discover bugs as soon as possible and fix them.

Bugs are fixed at every stage of healthcare software development as this reduces workload at the end of the process. Agile and DevOps methodology compels developers to conduct bug fixing at every stage of the development cycle, thus, ensuring a quality product.

Zero bugs enhance user experience and they’re more likely to refer the software to other people as well. A seamless running software is preferred by users over a damaged one.

2. Improve Performance

In healthcare facilities, the staff is continuously attending to patients, monitoring their health, and conducting surgeries. Healthcare software plays a major role in providing essential medical records, real-time vitals, and remote care options to healthcare providers.

A high performing software ensures that all the tasks go smoothly without any interruptions. However, poor healthcare software performance impacts care quality, diagnosis, and treatment. Hence, it’s necessary to improve the performance of healthcare software regularly.

Researching the scope of software problems can help to identify areas that need improvement. Additionally, consider making upgrades and optimizations that are ‘future-proof’. Include codes that can last for a few years, after which they can be upgraded. Optimize UX and choose flexible infrastructure such as the cloud to improve performance.

3. Technology Updates

One of the crucial aspects of healthcare software maintenance and support is technology updates. Developers can add new features and integrate the latest technology in healthcare software. Usually, the software is updated based on current trends and demands from users.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, big data, metaverse, and more are being used in the healthcare sector. Healthcare developers can seek these technologies to update their software and provide a better, more advanced and more effective version to users.

Technology updates also protect vital ePHI (Protected Health Information) by building robust firewalls. The security gap is the biggest vulnerability of any software and it’s easy for hackers to infect and extract crucial data. Hence, by including updates in data encryption methods and user authorization, cyber crimes can be prevented.

Types of Healthcare Software Maintenance

1. Corrective Software Maintenance

Corrective software maintenance addresses issues such as faults and errors in the designs, code, and logic of the software. Hence, this type of maintenance is also called bug fixing.

Corrective maintenance is needed when software isn’t working the way it is expected to work due to minor problems such as faulty logic, invalid or incomplete tests, and incorrect implementation. These issues affect the users once it is launched in the market.

Furthermore, bug reports are sent by the users to the software development company. Then the developers review the code and make changes accordingly. The purpose of corrective maintenance is to improve overall software.

If the errors are fixed before the users report them, then the maintenance type is either adaptive or preventive. Moreover, if corrective maintenance is used frequently, then adopt a rigid testing practice, anticipate problems, and develop a high-quality code.

2. Perfective Software Maintenance

Perfective software maintenance is preferred when developers update software to improve its value as per user demands. This encompasses:

  • Improvement in the user interface
  • Speed optimization
  • Improvement in software usability
  • Improvement in software performance
  • Enhancement of software functionality

Perfective maintenance includes making changes in software functionality by incorporating new or altered user needs. It is usually, but not always initiated by user feedback and it accounts for almost 50 percent of the maintenance activities.

3. Preventive Software Maintenance

Preventive software maintenance is used to avoid errors that may occur in the future. Tasks of preventive software maintenance include:

  • Code Optimization: Codes are modified for quick execution of programs and to make efficient use of storage space.
  • Documentation Updates: All software documents are updated as per the current state of the system.
  • Reconstructing Code: The structure of the program is changed, so it is more easily understood.

4. Adaptive Software Maintenance

Adaptive software maintenance is used when the software platform changes continuously due to laws, policies, technology, rules, and operating systems. It is also used when developers have identified defects that will impact users in the future.

Additionally, if developers modify the environment in which software is present, then it will trigger changes in the other parts of the software as well. For instance, updating processers, servers, etc., affect the functionality of software too.

Examples of adaptive software maintenance include minor functionality enhancements, restructuring code logic, and improving system documentation.

7 Stages of Healthcare Software Maintenance and Support

Healthcare software maintenance and support is an important step of the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). It is incorporated through a software maintenance process known as the SMLC (Software Maintenance Life Cycle).

All the stages of the software maintenance and support can be altered for convenience and extended so that customized products are included too. The stages of healthcare software maintenance and support are as follows:

1. Identification Stage: In this stage, requests for software modifications are detected and analyzed. Every request is assessed to classify the type of maintenance activity required (corrective, adaptive, preventive, and perfective). This is created by the system itself or via logs or error messages by the user.

2. Analysis Stage: The scope and feasibility of every validation request are analyzed, based on which a plan is prepared to implement changes in the software solution. The input attribute encompasses an initial estimate of resources, modification requests, repository information, and project documentation.

3. Design Stage: New modules that need to be modified or replaced are designed as per the requirements mentioned in the earlier stages. Test cases are created for new designs including security and safety. The purpose of these test cases is to validate and verify the software.

4. Implementation Stage: In this stage, the actual modification codes are developed, new features that support the software are added, and the modified software is incorporated. The new modules are coded with the help of designs created in the previous stage.

5. System Testing: Regression testing is performed to assure that the healthcare software has no defects, or flaws, and is bug-free. It validates that no new errors are found in the software as a result of the maintenance work. Integration testing is carried out between new modules of the software.

6. Acceptance Stage: Acceptance testing is done on the fully integrated healthcare software by the user of the third party. The main aim of this testing is to verify that all features are as per the requirements stated in the modification phase.

7. Delivery Stage: Once the acceptance stage is completed successfully, the modified software is delivered to the users or clients. The user is provided with manuals that describe software operations. The final testing of the software is carried out by the client.

Healthcare Software Maintenance and Support Costs

Healthcare software maintenance and support costs vary depending on the following aspects:

  • The number of application users.
  • Type of software maintenance adopted: corrective, adaptive, preventive, or perfective.
  • Scope of maintenance activities and time invested in software maintenance.
  • Software complexity, type, faults, and availability requirements.
  • Availability of comprehensive software documentation.
  • Team composition and seniority level of the team members.

Additionally, cost also depends on the experts involved in the project and the amount of time spent on a weekly/monthly/daily basis with the healthcare software. On average, healthcare software maintenance and support cost $3,000 – $5,000 per week.

If you’re looking to develop healthcare software for your organization, then get in touch with Arkenea, a leading healthcare software development company. Our team of experts is trained to deliver cutting-edge software according to the suitability of clients.