Agile medical software development helps providers and healthcare startups quickly adapt to the shifting technology landscape of healthcare delivery.
Without a doubt, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had the greatest impact on the healthcare sector, forcing providers to adopt new methods of care delivery rapidly.
Additionally, quality care mandates have resulted in new technologies that help achieve care goals. Most providers offer patient portals, for example.
The benefit to the provider is greater patient engagement (a quality care metric). For patients, it’s easier access to their health information and trusted health education.
But swiftly implementing telehealth applications, patient portals, and similar software solutions isn’t easy.
Therefore, many health systems and health startups partner with software companies that provide Agile medical software development.
What is Agile Healthcare Software Development?
Agile healthcare software development is the iterative process of creating applications for healthcare providers and startups.
The goal is to develop medical software more quickly without sacrificing quality.
Providers seek healthcare software for several reasons. A few of the most common solutions include software for:
- Patient engagement and education
- Mobile or web-based healthcare apps
- Medical data analytics
- Electronic health record systems (EHR)
- Patient portals
- Hospital information systems (HIS)
- Pharmacy management solutions
- Hospital management systems (HMS)
Others require tools and solutions to meet specific needs, such as monitoring ADHD medication progress in children and young adults.
Benefits of Agile Medical Software Development
Healthcare providers often have specific, niche needs unmet by commercial, off-the-shelf software.
If a pre-made solution is available, it often doesn’t work with the provider’s current systems or requires extensive custom integrations.
Off-the-shelf solutions can also be prohibitively expensive over the long run. Tailormade software—for which the provider pays a one-time fee to own—may be more cost-effective over time.
Agile healthcare software development quickly meets these providers’ needs, usually at a lower long-term cost.
Here are the key benefits of Agile Software Development:
1. Tailored Fit
Commercial solutions often only partially meet a healthcare provider’s needs. They can also come with many unneeded features and functionality.
By contrast, custom healthcare solutions only include the features a provider requests. Like a bespoke blazer, the software perfectly fits the organization’s needs.
This is especially important if the provider has a unique or niche need not met by existing solutions, like an app for concussion management and rehabilitation.
2. Streamlined Operations
Healthcare software helps streamline operations, as well. The larger and more distributed the organization, the more value this benefit offers.
Large health systems often depend on custom healthcare software solutions to maintain medical histories, electronic health records (EHR), patients’ insurance information, and other medical data crucial to better patient care.
By automating manual processes and paperwork, software solutions help free up health workers to focus on what they do best—provide excellent patient care and engagement.
When developing a custom software solution, providers can make interoperability a requirement. Interoperability is a core quality care measure.
3. Patient Engagement
Speaking of quality care measures, patient engagement is another core measure that can be improved with custom healthcare software.
Getting patients educated and engaged in their own health helps them lead healthier lives, which is the overarching driver behind quality care measures.
Moreover, patients expect personalized services from their healthcare providers. Many took advantage of telehealth during the pandemic and found they liked the convenience of it.
Home testing kits, patient portals, and other remote health solutions are also increasingly popular among patients.
Providers see these personalized care and remote health services as ways to increase patient engagement. When they can’t find packaged software solutions to fill the need, they turn to custom software development companies.
4. Assured Compliance
Like any regulated industry, healthcare must comply with specific standards. We hear about HIPAA all the time, but there are many others.
If an off-the-shelf solution was initially intended for the healthcare industry, it’s likely (but not guaranteed) that it complies with most industry regulations.
Custom healthcare software applications can be built for compliance, however. By making compliance part of the product requirements, developers know what standards must be met.
Adding developers to your internal team is costly and time-consuming. Partnering with an Agile software development company, however, not only gets the project completed faster, but it usually costs less in the long run.
How? Outsourcing companies can hit the ground running because they have a ready-made development team. They can start designing and building the application right away.
At the end of the project, the healthcare provider wholly owns the final product. No annual or per-seat license fees, developer salaries, and other long-term costs are associated with prepackaged software solutions.
The only recurring cost might be maintenance and support, but even that is for a relatively short period.
6. Experienced Team
We mentioned the advantage of a ready-made team, but let’s look at why it’s an advantage.
First of all, there’s no training period or learning curve to overcome. Everyone involved in development and testing has worked together before. They have an efficient Agile methodology already in place.
And if they’ve worked on similar projects in the past, they can apply the technologies and lessons learned to the new project.
That greater productivity means they can deliver a high-quality product faster, which results in a quicker time to market.
Agile software development methodologies benefit most healthcare software projects.
But they are especially valuable when working with a custom software development company.
When providers and startups work with external developers, they need to feel confident that their partner is fully engaged and in control of the development process.
Agile development gives organizations a high level of transparency due to iterative development sprints.
Sprints allow providers to quickly see development progress and provide feedback on the product at every stage. These frequent checks help both the client and the development company avoid missteps, cost overruns, and delays.
And that results in the rapid delivery of a high-quality product at a lower cost.