Article | April 1, 2020
Although it was widely reported that several ransomware threat actor groups have pledged to not target healthcare providers until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, BakerHostetler’s Digital Assets and Data Management Practice Group and Healthcare Privacy and Compliance team continue to see ransomware attacks launched against healthcare providers. In order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers have had to radically change their normal business processes, which could make them more vulnerable to ransomware attacks. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has required healthcare providers to make difficult choices related to workforce staffing. Some healthcare providers have been forced to furlough or lay off nonessential workforce members. Healthcare providers also are permitting some workforce members to work remotely. As previously reported by the Data Privacy Monitor, having a reduced workforce and a remote workforce could put healthcare providers more at risk for cybercrime, including ransomware attacks.
Article | January 8, 2021
Prioritizing health and managing it, has become highly important because our lifestyle is continuously evolving in ways that take a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, the major issue for the patients lies in the inaccuracy of treatment due to the lack of complete health records in any hospital. With the recent changes in privacy legislation and data management, patients are even unable to retrieve their own health records.
For example, someone had an accident and was taken to the emergency room. The first thing they will need to do in their condition is to fill the hospital’s form. Then, for the treatment, if the injured person is conscious enough, doctors ask questions like if they are allergic to some medicines or do they suffer from diabetes or any other disease. Besides, what if the individual denies having allergies or diabetes in their half-conscious state? And the previous hospitals where they have already had treatment before have denied sharing the medical details of the person either due to privacy issues or data corruption. Well, it can create a lot of fuzz.
Solely, to improve the health industry without compromising the security of the individuals, blockchain has remained in the discussion. It has the potential to address the operability challenges present in the healthcare industry. But, what is blockchain, what are its underlying fundamentals, why blockchain, and what are its advantages?
Today’s blog will help in understanding every aspect of blockchain and its impact on the healthcare industry. So let’s get started!
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a P2P or peer-to-peer distributed or decentralized ledger technology. It stores a chain of data called blocks of information. These blocks are chained together by cryptographic signatures. These signatures are called hash that is stored in the shared ledger and backed by a connected processes network - node. These nodes reserve a copy of the complete chain and get continually updated by synchronization. Though, to include blockchain in the process it’s necessary to hire a developer who has prior experience and knowledge about its architecture and can work with the components efficiently as blockchain is a designed pattern that consists of three major constituents - a distributed network, a shared ledger, and all the digital transactions.
a. Distributed Network
As discussed before, blockchain is built on peer-to-peer networks. While having no central point of storage, it makes the information on the network less vulnerable to being lost or exploited.
Unlike the traditional client-server model that has a centralized storage point or controlling party, all the information in the blockchain network is constantly recorded and transferred to the participants of the network that are also known as nodes or peers. These peers also own several identical copies of the information. That’s why blockchain is seen as a huge improvement to centralized models and is considered the future of data storage and ownership.
b. Shared Ledger
Each authorized participant in the network records the transactions into the shared ledger. If they want to add any transaction, it is important to run algorithms that evaluate and verify the transactions. If the majority of members agree to the transaction’s validity, a new transaction gets added to the shared ledger. The changes done in the shared ledger is reflected in minutes or even seconds in the copies of the blockchain. Once the transaction is added, there’s no way to modify or delete it. Also, as the copy is shared in the form of a ledger to each member, no single member can alter data.
c. Digital Transaction
Transactions are information i.e. data transmission to one block. During the process of data transmission, each node acts as a central point to generate and digitally sign the transaction. As the nodes connect each other in the network, each of them has to verify the transaction independently for its conflicts, validity, and compliance. Only after the transaction passes the verification, the information is added into the shared ledger. The major element that makes digital transactions successful is cryptographic hashing that encrypts the data for security.
Why Blockchain technology in healthcare?
It has happened so often that the patient remains unable to gather all of their previous medical records in one format from one place swiftly or sometimes cannot even collect the required information at all. Unfortunately, in most cases, the information of critical patients remains scattered across several different institutions of healthcare that too in different formats. Besides, the data management systems along with the security regulations also vary in different institutions making it difficult to trace and fix mistakes.
But, what can blockchain do?
A blockchain is a system used for storing and sharing information with security and transparency. Every block in the chain is an independent unit of its own and a dependent link among the collective chain that creates a network controlled by participants rather than a third party.
As blockchains are managed by network nodes instead of central authority, they are decentralized that prevents one entity from having complete control over the network. With the incorporation of blockchain, the need for a central administrator will be removed by cryptography. Healthcare providers will be able to promote data management processes beyond perception. It will help in collecting, analyzing, sharing, and securing medical records. It will provide the access to healthcare workers for retrieving health records with the cryptographic keys provided by patients from anywhere without creating any privacy or security problems.
Advantages of Healthcare Blockchain
Although applications of blockchain in the healthcare industry are inceptive, some early solutions have shown the possibility of reduced healthcare costs, improved access to information among different stakeholders, and streamlining the entire business process. So, keeping aside the buzz, let’s see the real advantages of blockchain in healthcare.
1. Master Patient Indexes
The master patient index helps in the identification of patients across separate administrative systems. It is often created within the EHR or electronic health record system. As these EHRs have different vendors, there are several irregularities of MPIs. In many cases, the data of a patient between these healthcare systems become mismatched. However, with the nature of decentralization in Blockchain, it possesses the ability to solve the issue. In the blockchain-based MPIs, the data will be hashed to the ledger and content will remain unique as only the authorized nodes of the data can make changes to the hashes while all parties with access can only check the related information.
2. Single, elongated patient records
Blockchain technology is potent to transform health care by placing patients at the center of the system while increasing the security and privacy of health records. It provides a new model for health information exchange by forming electronic elongated patient records secured and efficient. Additionally, the fact that the data is copied among all the nodes of the blockchain network creates an atmosphere of clarity and transparency that enables healthcare providers and patients to know how their data is handled by whom, how, and when. It can also help healthcare from potential frauds, data losses, or security attacks.
3. Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management in healthcare is a challenging aspect. With scattered settings for ordering drugs, medical supplies, and critical resources, there’s an inherent risk of compromising the supply chain that might impact patient safety. Indulgence of blockchain technology in the transactions can tap into the complete process of medicine or drug products movement. As all the transactions will be recorded onto the shared ledger with every block recording and maintaining every transaction, it will become easy to verify the vendor, distributor, and origin of the drug within a matter of seconds. It will also enable healthcare physicians and officials to check the authenticity of the supplier’s credentials.
4. Claims Justification
Currently, the insurance claim processes face difficulties like lack of transparency i.e. most customers don’t even know how insurance works; human errors and inefficiencies i.e. insurances are full of confusion along with human errors that create inefficiencies that lead to the increased cost to customers; higher frauds in claims. But, blockchain technology can simplify and enhance recordkeeping, payment processing, claims registration, contract management, and closure with its immutable ledger.
Interoperability is the capability of distinct healthcare information technology to interpret, exchange, and use data. Due to the privacy issues, the alphanumeric code to identify a patient has been revoked that caused problems in gathering the required record of the patient. Enforcing measurement standards for industry-wide interoperability is also a challenge in interoperability. With blockchain in healthcare interoperability, data can be shared in real-time on the trusted network and provides access to the patient’s record in a secured manner. Moreover, with the pri
Article | March 15, 2021
The world is moving towards digitalization in every domain. And now COVID-19 has imposed a need for remote work and communication environments. In that case, healthcare organizations have started utilizing medical software with cutting-edge technologies that could offer mobile health solutions. And they could cater to such needs through a healthcare software development company.
Therefore, the medical institutions must opt for the right healthcare software vendor that is familiar with the new trends in the healthcare sector. Such companies can help optimize digital patient care through health care application development.
Importance of healthcare software development company Or why you need one?
Healthcare software development companies process applications to store, retrieve, and share user data. They are connected globally through cloud services. Partnering with a healthcare software company can avail you of many benefits like:
Better Patient Experience
A professional healthcare software developer can manage your medical software very smoothly and effectively. This could help in delivering better patient experiences. It also enables you to get access to the patient’s information before the appointment.
A dedicated healthcare development company will ensure to deliver faster patient checks with lesser paperwork. The information is filed electronically and considers order prescriptions smoothly.
Easy Scheduling and Maintenance
Healthcare software development services offer a strong scheduling system. It helps in finding out the convenient date and time for the patient’s appointment at their comfort. The medical software is flexible to perform such tasks smoothly. It also solves the issues of overbooking through proper scheduling.
Easy Billing and EHR
Billing is an intimidating task in the healthcare industry. A good healthcare software offers easy billing and EHR facilities. It also helps you automate the processes involved in the EHR model.
Healthcare software development services: Important factors to consider
Focus on usability and ease of use
Healthcare employees have a busy job. So, they prefer a user-friendly and easy-to-navigate interface. Only such an interface could ensure a high user adoption rate.
Additionally, healthcare institutions need to prepare their employees for any changes in their working process that the new software solutions might bring. For that, they need to provide adequate training and support, so that when the time comes, they can derive the maximum advantages out of the software solutions according to Vishal Shah from TatvaSoft.com
Integration with various applications
Various system integration requirements are used to make sure the new solutions work properly with other systems. You should also look further for whether current legacy systems need any upgrades to integrate them with the new solutions.
A professional administration
Access to the data by specialist doctors to update the data is necessary. However, access to the data should be strictly restricted with proper arrangements.
Medical care organizations need proper security measures with laws on data, protection, and other security principles. A leak of patient information is a critical issue that may cause weighty business misfortune. Only the approved staff with rights to oversee the admittance to information and patient records can approach the necessary data.
Development costs depend on the size and complexity of the software or applications which is directly connected to the specific business needs of the healthcare organizations. First, an organization needs to identify key problems that require software solutions.
Also, consider the future IT needs of healthcare institutions such as potential business expansion and its scalability and integration requirements. A mobile workforce can help your organization attain more efficient workflow and enhanced productivity.
Healthcare IT infrastructure
IT infrastructure includes hardware, devices, internet connection speed, and/or mobile 4G connection, and many more. Healthcare agencies need to consider whether such infrastructure will be offered by the development company or if the organization has to use its resources.
While using employees’ resources may compromise security, it is suggested that employees must be given the devices and technologies by the companies. The devices and technology need to be updated on the regular basis.
Questions to Ask Healthcare Software Development Company
We have compiled a list of some questions that could help you get the best and most suitable medical IOS and Android app development partner.
Do you know/understand how HIPAA privacy protection rules might apply to healthcare software products?
HIPAA can be subtle and complicated. Federal and state laws have included HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules for the privacy and security protections for hospitals and medical institutions.
There will be many healthcare software developers who won’t be familiar with HIPAA and how it is applied to the products. You must check that out.
Can we sign an NDA?
If your business idea is precious from the IP (Intellectual Properties) perspective then you must ask the app development company to sign the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) before you discuss any details of the project. It is also signed to protect sensitive business details from any third party.
Can I have the contact information of your former clients?
It is vital to have a look at the mobile application development agency before you consider them to hire. However, you won’t get the entire picture and other details but to get that you can ask the company for the contact information of some of their former clients.
Get in touch with their former clients, ask them about their experience working with the agency. The goal is to not only have a great app at the end but also go through an app development process that is stress-free, easy, and enjoyable.
Checking for reviews and references is the key when it comes to hiring mobile application developers.
What is your Software development methodology?
Latest best practices like scrum and agile development are far more reliable compared to conventional methods. Software development companies nowadays practice them to be more efficient and productive. They understand that the market changes quickly and to cope up with it, they need to be capable of adapting to the changes quickly.
How experienced are your healthcare software developers?
Check for the experience of the developers employed by your medical software development partner. They need to be qualified to build medical solutions and deliver them within a predetermined budget and timeline.
How to choose?
Even if you have decided to work with a healthcare software development company, there are hundreds of companies out there, and all claim to be the best in the field. How would you choose the one that can help you achieve your goals?
Analyze their Area of Expertise and their Experience as a Healthcare Software Developer
Quality is the one thing that should be never compromised no matter how complex your demands are. In the software development healthcare industry there are many standards and compliance requirements like HIS and HIPAA that need to be catered to.
Therefore, you need to analyze their area of expertise and their experiences. Only experienced healthcare software vendors can understand and fulfill the critical needs of customers.
However, expertise isn't enough. You also need to look at the certifications to gain deeper knowledge about the healthcare solution developers’ level of professionalism.
Go Through Their Healthcare Software Development Portfolio to Get a Better Idea of Projects and Quality
Go through the portfolio of the potential healthcare software development partner. Look at their past projects in the healthcare domain and check if it matches your requirements. Research about their market reputation and reach as well as find out whether they serve the organizations in your niche.
The key factors to look for in the portfolio:
Types of healthcare software they have delivered in the past
Clients they have served- names, strength, and value
The complexity of projects they’ve handled
The kind of experience they provide to the users
Technologies they excel in
Reviews and Ratings Could Be Helpful
Find out what the customers are talking about this company. Analyze their reviews and ratings. Understand how a particular healthcare software development company deals with their clients and cater to their services.
Carefully Understand their Process
Almost every company has a unique process to provide their healthcare software development services. But all processes generally consists of the following:
1. Requirement analysis
2. Scope freezing
3. Product prototyping
4. Product development
5. QA and testing
7. Post-launch support
These software development processes could follow any approach from waterfall to agile methodology. Know the details of the process from your healthcare software development partner and understand how it aligns with your goals. And never hesitate to clear your doubts.
Know the Cost to Develop a Healthcare Software
Everyone has a budget and make sure you have communicated well about your software development budget with your potential healthcare technology partner. Ask them about the cost to build the software and look for the cost to quality ratio. After gathering all the necessary details, make an informed decision.
Understand the Engagement Models to Choose the Best
Engagement models are the ways of collaboration for the business relationship. You can choose from the following:
A. Turnkey Engagement Model
It is also known as the fixed price model. When you share your demands, you get a fixed quote for the work. This is an ideal model for:
Projects with a well-defined scope
For assigning test tasks to the developers
B. Time and Material Basis Model
In this model, hiring is done based on time and material. A client agrees to pay a hired software development company based on the time the developers spend after developing their products and other relevant tasks. The payments are done according to the mutually agreed hourly rate. The model is suitable when:
Unclear requirements or specifications,
A long-term project with dynamic pricing
The client needs more flexibility
C. Dedicated Hiring Model
As the name suggests, it enables you to hire dedicated resources from the web development company. One can hire a web development company for your project, depending on the number of hours spent by the developers on your project. This model is best suited for:
Clients who are looking for an extension to their in-house team
Those who have unclear project requirements
The hirer is looking for more flexibility
Find out What Does the Healthcare Software Development Company has to Offer Post-launch
You are mistaken if you believe that the healthcare software development cycle ends with the launch of the product. There are chances of hitting obstacles any time and do not forget that the market keeps changing in terms of technology and user demands. This means you might need to upgrade your software or need to add some features to it.
For all such requirements, the healthcare software development agency offers support and maintenance services for a limited time post-launch. There could be specific terms and conditions for it too.
So, before you hire any agency, do not forget to inquire about the support and maintenance services offered by them and its price.
What is the Team Structure that They Would Provide You?
Ask about the team structure offered by the company for your software development project. You can interview a potential team of software developers if you want to. You should do it to assess the capacity of the team. In general, a software development team consists of:
1. Requirement analyst
2. Project manager
3. UI/UX designer
4. Software developer
5. QA tester and engineer
Also, you need to convey your requirements clearly to the software development agency so that they can do justice to your project.
Ability of a Healthcare Software Development Company to Assist You For Expanding Your Software’s Features
The main goal of developing medical software is to increase the efficiency of your operations, automate them, enhance them, and last but not least: offer a better patient experience. Therefore, above all other things, you must check out the ability of the custom healthcare software development company to expand or scale-up the product as per your needs.
Areas of Use
Custom healthcare development is used in the following areas:
Telemedicine is a flourishing branch for custom software development companies in the healthcare business. App development is crucial for telemedicine and healthcare providers because it facilitates teleconsultation and healthcare information. Mobile applications play a key role in sharing medical services and information among patients.
Healthcare portals and patient databases
There is a wide scope for a healthcare app or a patient portal that could compile and store the data categorically over long periods.
This type of storage of health data can be accessible by the doctors in the form of medical records when they are seeing the patient, even if it is the first time. One can pull the data off the EMR and EHR which maintains such a set of data records. To ensure the protection of the data, personal information is kept confidential and only between the patient and doctor, on the portals.
E-consultations and e-prescription
E-consultation is one of the latest practices in digital healthcare services. Mobile apps are developed that are compatible with both iOS as well as Android and are user-friendly.
Such applications enable patients to consult with the doctors remotely based on their healthcare needs and get e-prescriptions as well. They can also get online treatment plans for certain diagnoses through this. The healthcare software developers have similar solutions for virtual billing software and e-pharmacy management.
VR and AR healthcare software development
Since their initial release, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have been very helpful in medical care especially in the COVID-19 remote healthcare scene. Ran through a powerful technology stack, AR-VR enables the patient to feel and see how a treatment or a medical device works.
Big Data and AI solutions for healthcare
Healthcare is one of the Big Data industries. It manages the flow of large volumes of medical data daily. To ensure that the collected data is used well, healthcare services are now powered by AI.
Health tracking and fitness apps
Wearable technology is gaining immense popularity these days. The products include smartwatches and bands that could track heart rate, sleep cycles, number of steps walked, and many more. These kinds of applications built by expert healthcare developers are among the most downloaded on the internet.
Custom healthcare software is important for healthcare organizations to make their process easier as possible. The COVID-19 pandemic is further popularizing telemedicine, e-consultation, AI solutions, fitness, and other health applications.
I know choosing a suitable healthcare software development company is not easy, but if you follow the process mentioned in this article, you can get the best and top-rated software developers who create apps for the medical and health care industries.
I hope this article has guided you well to understand better about healthcare software development companies. However, if you have any queries or suggestions, please connect with us in the comments section below.
Article | March 31, 2020
Almost all conversations about healthcare disruption focused on new entrants into the industry transforming parts of the traditional service model and taking market share. Politically, most of the conversation centered around whether we would dismantle the ACA, build it back up or move to Medicare for All. Despite all the noise about disruptors, politics and consumerism, I felt like incremental change was the most likely scenario. Although the industry had been changing – digital experiences and telehealth for instance – a revolutionary, wholesale change to our industry seemed far off to me. The odds of the system being truly disrupted – something like Medicare for All happening within the next decade – felt highly unlikely. And where are we know? It truly feels like there are forces brewing that could result in radical transformation and a complete, ground up rethinking of our entire system. As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, it has raised many serious questions that we’ll need to grapple with over the next 12 to 18 months. Where we land on these issues will have a profound effect on what healthcare in this country becomes for the rest of our lives.