The Most Popular Types of Healthcare Software
The healthcare sector is known to be conservative; digital innovations are rarely implemented right away. But even with this tendency, the healthcare IT market is booming and is expected to reach $390.7 billion by 2024. That’s an increase of over two times from $187.6 billion in 2019. The pandemic only boosted this trend, as it’s become apparent that technical solutions aren’t just helpful for the medicine – they are vital. Be it a patient’s record, medical prescriptions, or even diagnostic process – all these things can be improved with a proper software solution.
Healthcare software products can be roughly split into three categories:
- Solutions for hospital management and administration.
- Solutions to aid doctors with research, diagnoses, and treatment processes.
- Solutions for patients.
Let’s examine some of these in detail.
Electronic Health Record (EHR) Software
Medical diagnosis software allows doctors to access and share an anonymous patient’s data, such as symptoms and treatments. By comparing their current case with similar ones, a doctor can make a more accurate diagnosis. These tools simplify the process between doctors in different fields and could be especially valuable when time is limited, like in emergency situations.
Modern diagnosis software often uses artificial intelligence/machine learning to further assist medical professionals. AI can process large volumes of patient data and suggest possible diagnoses, speeding up the entire process.
There’s also a subset of diagnosis apps that are growing in popularity – these self-diagnosis apps are meant for personal use. These apps evaluate a user’s symptoms and inform them whether they require a visit to a clinic or hospital. During the Covid-19 pandemic, several self-diagnosis apps were developed to help people determine if their symptoms were caused by a common cold or by Covid-19.
Symptomate allows users to list their symptoms to find out whether they should see a doctor.
Medical Database Software
Medical databases are similar to electronic health records as they also store data on diagnoses, treatments, medications, etc. The main difference is that database systems group data by diseases instead of profiles.
It’s an internal tool for doctors that allows them to assign better treatment by studying similar cases. Browsing the internal database can also be helpful for doctors who wish to raise their qualifications by educating themselves about a given disease.
Medical research software
Another popular choice among medical professionals is research software. With its help practitioners can educate themselves, access the latest research, or even publish their own. Research software allows doctors to access thousands of papers, journals, and clinical cases. This is especially useful for situations when doctors are facing an exotic case for which their institution doesn’t have an internal reference.
PubMed – the most popular medical research database.
We aren’t sure that any software can fix illegible handwriting, which is something so prevalent among doctors, but e-prescribing software is the next best thing as it allows doctors to omit handwritten prescriptions altogether. These systems allow physicians to create new prescriptions and renew or cancel old ones digitally. E-prescribing systems prevent mistakes, save the time of doctors, patients, and pharmacies, and improve the quality of care.
Telemedicine is another fast-growing trend in healthcare. In fact, 71% of patients considered telemedicine instead of in-person appointments. It’s a convenient way of handling consultations, especially follow-up appointments.
The outbreak of Covid-19 increased the speed of adoption of telemedicine as in-person visits were impossible. Another important application is the use of telemedicine by people who live in remote and secluded locations. For these people, remote appointments could be the only way of reaching the specialist they needs.
Medical imaging and visualization software
The widespread adoption of MRI, PET and CT scans revolutionized diagnostics. But an increased volume of patients often puts a strain on doctors who have to process a large volume of scans, which aren’t always clear. Fortunately, new solutions are emerging. Modern imaging software uses artificial intelligence to seek patterns and spot potentially dangerous spots that are too easy for humans to overlook. Thus, imaging software can save doctors’ time and even more importantly – patients’ lives.
Another application of imaging tools is precise 3D modeling for complex transplantations. These 3D models can be used in something as routine as dental procedures to something as complex as reconstructive surgery.
Appointment booking software
It’s not uncommon for larger facilities to have over 100 appointments daily. Considering that scheduling each one of them takes 3-4 minutes on average, you can imagine the potential for optimizations. Appointment scheduling software does precisely this, as it allows patients to book appointments through a website or app, therefore reducing the strain on administrative personnel.
And the cherry on the cake – most of these programs can send automatic reminders minimizing the risk of missed appointments.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that it is paramount to implement innovative solutions in medicine. Modern technology can aid hospitals and other medical institutions, reducing the strain on personnel, and increasing efficiency. And with the rapid development of AI, we’re bound to see more and more AI-based apps making their way into the healthcare sector.