A Structured Guide on Healthcare Software Modernization

The pandemic forced healthcare facilities to rely more on medical technology and digital health, thus paving way for healthcare modernization.

Healthcare software modernization banks on the idea of using technologies such as telehealth, IoMT (Internet of Medical Things), health informatics, etc, to develop efficient, cost-effective and better healthcare services.

Mobile and remote healthcare are key drivers of digital health. The rise in healthcare modernization has lead to an increase in digital health market size, which was valued at $200 billion in 2020.

Key Drivers of Healthcare Software Modernization

The need for better healthcare outcomes and well-being is driving the need for healthcare software modernization. In addition to this, gaining a competitive edge over other care facilities and to retain patients is increasing the rate of investment, for healthcare modernization.

More and more healthcare facilities are opting to boost patient engagement , through content, medical apps, feedbacks, and keeping a tab on treatments. To ensure seamless engagement, facilities are turning to technologies for healthcare software modernization.

As per Deloitte’s research, major driver of healthcare modernization is the growing demand of an integrated care journey by patients, rather than specific care outcomes.

Further, healthcare ecosystems work effectively with digital first approach, are highly interoperable, and focus on patient experience. Digital first approach helps to deliver highly extensible and interconnected healthcare systems, plus radical interoperability paves way for a rich source of data.

Rise in the adoption of wearables by patients, to better manage their health, along with remote monitoring solutions are fueling the growth of healthcare modernization as well.

Healthcare Modernization Approaches

According to a research by Deloitte and McKinsey, factors to achieving modernization are – shifting the cultural mindset and setting a clear strategic direction.

In addition to this, there are multiple approaches to achieve healthcare software modernization, and these can be applied to the IT Legacy Systems as well for better functionality. These go as follows –

a. Migration to Cloud

Cloud is one field where AI (Artificial Intelligence) can be integrated in healthcare services. Cloud computing supports the transition of AI in mainstream healthcare functions, and aid users to manage surplus data.

Since, healthcare facilities have to deal with EHR (Electronic Health Records), big data analytics, patients portals, etc., there’s a lot of data to analyze, manage, and store.

Cloud computing allows healthcare facilities to store data and avert extra costs of maintaining hardware to store it. Furthermore, cloud is known for its scalability, and allows providers the flexibility to decrease or increase data storage, as per patient flow.

b. Software Rewrite

This is a time consuming approach, and old legacy logics can be rewritten. This code is further customized for current IT needs.

Rewriting software is a good option if an application has a long deployment cycle, as it adversely affects healthcare IT needs and negatively impacts business side of a healthcare organization.

Further, prior to rewriting, for healthcare software modernization, ensure that there’s sufficient test coverage and all features are documented.

c. Reuse of APIs/Legacy Components

Creating a new API from scratch takes a lot of time, and the development team could use that time to put in their efforts to bolster productivity. Building a new API for every project and integrations, results in creating countless APIs, which is time-consuming, and requires maintenance too.

Reusable APIs are an ideal choice for healthcare organizations, as it contains wide array of databases connected together. Building new APIs for every database is painstaking, hence reusing APIs helps staff to utilize information from all databases at a regular basis.

Crucial Technologies for Healthcare Software Modernization

a. IoMT

IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) are changing healthcare delivery through their ability to analyze, transmit, and collect health data. IoMT is capable of providing accurate diagnosis, with few mistakes and low costs of care. When paired with smartphone apps, this technology allows patients to send their medical data to healthcare providers, to diagnose and treat illnesses.

As per a research conducted at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Fitbit activity tracker demonstrates its ability to accurately examine patients with ischemic heart disease. This is done by recording their heart rate continuously.

Furthermore, IoMT enabled devices such as connected drug delivery and smart packaging assures that patients strictly follow their prescribed medication.

b. Healthcare Analytics

As healthcare organizations are challenged to improve care coordination, offer quality care, and reduce medical costs, healthcare analytics plays a crucial role in providing actionable insights to overcome these challenges.

Healthcare data insights drives fact-based decision making for healthcare providers, thereby ameliorating management, planning, and treatment of patients. Furthermore, in healthcare organizations, data is gathered through varied sources, hence need automation to manage data better.

Lack of data management significantly harms patient outcome and can cause medical errors as well, thus impacting overall patient outcome. Healthcare analytics software can be designed to overcome this issue, thereby resulting in better data management.

Data analytics positively impacted the Washington State Health Care Authority. They faced issue of overcrowding and overuse of ER departments, leading to deteriorating staff. Data analytics helped to capture patient data to detect frequent patients and to share their information across multiple care facilities. This data was used to improve patient care in the ED and outside it.

c. Artificial Intelligence

AI proves to be beneficial for the healthcare sector for disease diagnosis, development of new pharmaceuticals, and processing huge medical data.

However, its not restricted to only this, Harvard University and MIT researchers have used ML (Machine Learning) to track mental health in correlation to the pandemic. With an AI model they were able to examine thousands of Reddit messages to locate topics on loneliness and suicides, and the numbers on these issues had doubled over a period of time.

Additionally, AI driven chatbots have the ability to improve telehealth efficiency. Researchers at UCLA amalgamated chatbot technologies with AI to make a VIR (Virtual Interventional Radiologist). This helped patients to self-diagnose themselves and assist physicians in diagnosis.

d. Extended Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) are quite useful in a healthcare organization. One of the applications of this technology include usage of mixed reality headsets. These headsets provide real-time information to surgeons, leaving their hands free for performing vital surgeries.

Additionally, real-time information can assist in training purposes and help doctors to observe surgery procedures. The 3D tools of this technology enable surgeons to collaborate with teammates and study surgery issues prior to the actual one. It showcases the draw, incision, and measure tools necessary for a real surgical procedure.

Risks of Not Modernizing Healthcare

Some of the issues that can arise for not modernizing healthcare software are –

a. High Maintenance Costs: There are labor, vendor, and operational expenses for keeping legacy systems running smoothly. Additionally, there are times when IT staff have to spend more than half of their time managing outdated systems.

b. System Integration: Integration of multiple systems results in inconsistencies as different systems have varied programming languages, communication protocols, and architectural standards.

c. Cybersecurity Risks: Old software may not be compatible with new versions of operating systems, which have upgraded security standards. Thus, this creates a gap in security, and hackers can easily gain access to sensitive patient data.

Healthcare software modernization can help your clinic and care facilities to achieve high patient experience and satisfaction, thereby enhancing their retention rate. Arkenea is an experienced healthcare software development company, and can help you to recreate and modernize your healthcare organization with cutting-edge technologies.