The landscape of digital healthcare
2001 was a crucial year for healthcare technology development. It was then that New York-based physicians conducted a landmark remote surgery on a patient in Strasbourg, France. Just to remind you - back in 2001 kids were excited about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone release, Apple introduced Mac OS X and opened the first Apple Store in the US, and Microsoft presented its own game console - Xbox.
Now it feels like it’s been ages, but in fact, it was “only” 20 years ago. Over this time technology has unquestionably given healthcare a new lease of life and made it much more accessible. Back in 2001, the United States registered only 18,2% of office-based physicians with EHR/EMR systems. And this share raised to 86% in 2017!
Percentage of office-based physicians with EMR/EHR systems in the United States (source: Statista)
Now the Global Digital Health market is expected to reach over 500 billion dollars by 2025 and it’s worth mentioning that these predictions were made before the coronavirus crisis. The battle against the effects of the spread of the new disease has significantly accelerated the development of digital healthcare solutions, which couldn’t be omitted by VCs. Their funding into Digital Health companies and healthcare startups came to a record of 3,6 billion dollars in Q1 2020, which is a 79% growth in comparison to the same quarter of 2019.
Building a healthcare software
The process of building a digital healthcare product from scratch doesn’t differ much from developing other digital solutions. At the very beginning of the product design process, it’s crucial to define a target audience and business goals, conduct the competition research, etc. The user-centered approach can not only have a bearing on the product’s success but also on people’s lives.
But to create a successful digital healthcare product it is also crucial to understand the different types of healthcare software. It may sound like a piece of cake, but the variety of different kinds of software can… give you a headache. In this article, we’re pointing out the most important, the most commonly used, and the most prospective types of healthcare software to help you observe a big picture of the industry and facilitate the initial phase of building a digital healthcare product.
Types of healthcare software
In general, we can distinguish a basic classification of healthcare software and in this article, we divided it into:
- the patient-oriented solutions,
- the software developed for the needs of hospital management,
- the diagnostic and research software.
As you can imagine, this is not a strict division, as the patients’ needs will reflect in the products developed for hospitals and physicians. And there is nothing strange in that. After all, the goal of almost every product from this industry is to protect people’s lives and prevent diseases. But this classification will help us better understand the whole idea of creating healthcare software.
The patient-oriented healthcare software
The growth of products developed for patients and regular people is much easier to spot as in this case we are talking, among the others, about the increasing awareness of the need to lead a healthy lifestyle. We can’t also forget about the rise of telemedicine solutions, especially after COVID-19, which almost caused the traditional healthcare breakdown in many countries. Let’s dive into these examples.
Telehealth and telemedicine
First of all, let’s highlight the difference between telehealth and telemedicine, as these terms are not interchangeable and that has created some misunderstandings recently.
Telehealth is a much broader term and focuses, in general, on remote monitoring of the patient’s health (measuring the vital signs, blood pressure, etc.) which of course can be done via remote consultations with a doctor - and that’s where telemedicine enters the stage.
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Global Market Insights report predicts the telemedicine market is set to be valued at 175,5 billion dollars by 2026 (in 2019 it was valued at 49 billion dollars!). And another survey conducted by Sage Growth Partner and Black Book Market Research showed that 59% of patients are likely to use telemedicine more often than the traditional consultations after the pandemic.
The numbers mentioned above speak for themselves. But how does it work in real life? Let’s find out on an example of doxy.me, a startup that offers telemedicine solutions for patients, providers, and clinics. One of the essential things about telemedicine software – and this startup proves that – is that the services need to be accessible directly on the web. It doesn’t mean that you can’t develop a mobile app, but you shouldn’t force the patient to download any software.
Telemedicine is a convenient solution for doctors and patients. Routine checks can be performed remotely, which streamlines the whole treatment process significantly. There are also other healthcare solutions that can be included in the broader telemedicine term, and these are for example:
- E-prescribing software - this kind of software has been introduced also in traditional health centers and allows doctors to switch from handwritten notes to online prescriptions. It should be also a core feature of every telemedicine platform. This type of software can be more complex if we add functionalities like leaving feedback about the medicaments or providing doctors access to the patient’s medication history.
- Appointment scheduling - it simply allows patients to schedule a medical consultation in a few simple steps. It improves the user experience significantly and is a must-have feature for every telemedicine platform. But it can also run as independent software, for example as a CRM for booking appointments. An excellent example of such software is Docplanner which operates in 12 different countries like e.g. Spain, Argentina, Poland, Turkey. It allows not only to schedule appointments but also to share feedback about doctors and process payments.
An example of Docplanner platform operating in Peru under the name Doctoralia
- Reminder apps - this kind of feature, which also can be developed as independent software, simply reminds patients about the medicaments they need to take or scheduled appointments. The most popular way of doing this is by sending text messages, e-mails, or push notifications in mobile apps.
An appointment scheduling system within Telemedi.co
Health and lifestyle apps (mHealth)
This kind of software is created not for patients, but for regular users who aim at leading a healthier life. There is a bunch of different types of apps that help people manage their diet and nutrition, daily activities, fitness training, and others. They are all represented by one term - mHealth (which stands for mobile health). The mHealth market value is also growing incredibly. In 2018, only in the United States, it was valued at 12.4 billion dollars, and as the Grand View Research shows is projected to reach 236 billion dollars by 2026.
Technology is present in sports, as the clubs and athletes make use of it not only to improve and track results but also to take care of sportsman’s health, as it’s often exploited to the limits. But let’s focus on regular users. According to Accenture research, 75% of users admitted that technology helps them manage their healthy lifestyles. The users also pointed out the growing importance of wearable technologies which help them keep track of their daily activities.
mHealth Economics 2017 study showed that the most popular healthcare mobile apps are those for Diabetes management and the ones that help control weight to fight obesity. The research also pointed out the burgeoning influence of mental health apps, which often serve as an alternative to therapy for people struggling with depression and other mental problems. But how does it work actually?
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Let’s take Clarigent Health as an example. It’s a US startup that developed the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning-based app, which helps to detect early symptoms of depression or anxiety disorders. Its goal is to prevent people, especially teenagers, from committing suicides. What’s interesting - the technology they implemented is based on linguistics, so the app analyzes the sentences but is also able to detect pace and inflection of speech, disorders of which are characteristic of some mental illnesses.
Healthcare software for hospital management
Technology improved the patients’ experience as well as hospital management and physicians’ daily work. We all remember times when the patient’s personal data and medication history were printed and kept in the storeroom. Now almost everything is digitalized and stored in the cloud. Let’s dive into some details and talk about the specific software that accelerates this digital transformation in medical facilities.
Electronic Health Record software (EHR/EMR)
That’s the basic and most popular type of software dedicated to hospitals and clinics. It can be considered as a CRM for healthcare providers. EHR stores patients’ personal data, medication history - it’s a digital medical chart.
Planning to collect and store medical data? Check how they should be protected in terms of HIPAA regulations.
The most commonly used EHR software is the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). It also includes a patient’s personal data, but from a single institution. It gathers information about the medication history, treatments, and diagnosis performed by a particular doctor. What’s the difference between them? While EMR is a software created for a single provider, EHR is more accessible, and different medical facilities can track and analyze patient’s recovery history, to improve the treatment process.
But as I’ve mentioned above, some solutions are used by both medical centers and patients. EHR software is one of them. The Accenture study, which I’ve already quoted above, points out that 44% of the survey participants have accessed the EHR software with the main goal of consulting their lab work and blood test results.
The most popular EHR software in the world is Epic, which provides all of the basic EHR features, but includes also telemedicine, appointment scheduling, e-prescription, and billing services.
Hospital management software
In this case, we are talking about all kinds of software that help to streamline the day-to-day operations, meaning also all the administration or billing functionalities. This kind of software is often integrated with EHR software and allows managing patient data, but also process payments and insurance information.
Its main goal is to simply automate all the administrative operations within the institution. Besides, this software is widely used for managing doctor’s schedules or surgeries. It should also handle managing the laboratories or pharmacies that are attached to the hospital or clinic.
Lastly, there is medical equipment management software. It simply helps to automate the maintenance of the medical equipment via cloud-based solutions. Its main feature is monitoring the apparatus work, which can reduce the downtime significantly. In some cases, this kind of software can also generate the estimated repair cost.
The diagnostic and research software
The third category of healthcare software is the one that enables doctors to diagnose better, faster, and more precisely. In this aspect, the development of technology is perhaps the most noticeable, especially in the field of robotic surgery.
Medical Database software
Medical Database software is a very similar solution to EHR software. It also gathers the patient’s personal data, information about the medication, and medical history. But the main difference between this solution and EHS is that Medical Databases focus more on diseases.
It means that there are different databases for each disease, for example, asthma or coronary artery disease. So doctors can search through different cases of patients suffering from this disease, watch how they reacted to a specific medication, and adapt the treatment based on the data gathered from thousands of people.
Imaging and visualization software
The introduction of medical tools like CT scans or MRI revolutionized the way treatments are provided and saved millions of lives. But there is always room for improvement and lots of startups are looking for new solutions. Viz.ai created software that uses artificial intelligence to spot suspicious ICH (Intracerebral hemorrhage) strokes in the non-contrast CT images. A mobile app provides doctors with alters within 30 seconds after spotting a stroke. It helps to save a lot of time which may be crucial for a patient’s life.
If talking about companies that are trying to improve the quality of medical imaging, we can’t omit HeartFlow, another US startup that invented an app helping to plan heart surgeries. It creates models based on each patient’s diagnosis and enables doctors to plan multiple treatment strategies before the operation even starts.
At the beginning of this article, we wrote about revolutionary remote surgery performed in 2001. Since then the technology has improved significantly and robotic surgery is now used more often as it provides more accuracy and precision. The most popular solution on the market now is the da Vinci robotic surgical system. It allows performing operations that doctors usually did not want to undertake due to the high risk of complications. Intuitive, the owner of da Vinci systems, claims that by the end of 2017 the robots were used in 5 million cases by 43 thousand trained surgeons.
The remote surgeries are within our grasp. The robotic surgery market is expected to be valued at $7 billion by 2025 and the latest 5G technology can accelerate its development and improve its accessibility throughout the world.
Medical Diagnosis and IoT software
Medical Diagnosis software helps to avoid the risk of giving the wrong diagnosis by sharing anonymized patient’s data and collecting information about their diseases, treatment, and recovery. It’s a kind of database that enables information exchange and is accessible to different medical specialists. It means that, for example, a cardiologist can make a diagnosis based on information provided by thousands of similar cases. What’s more, the software simplifies the exchange of information between doctors from different fields.
Here we should also mention solutions that are not strictly Medical Diagnostics software but were developed to improve diagnostics. They often leverage AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data to collect information about different cases to speed up the diagnostic process and make it more precise. Such IoT solutions like StethoMe can be helpful for patients that tend to Google their symptoms first. This software detects abnormalities in the respiratory system and helps to distinguish a regular cold from more serious diseases. The solution was created not only for patients but for doctors too. As the company claims, StethoMe is 29% more accurate than the specialist’s ear when examining patients.
Medical research and training software
Other beneficiaries of healthcare technology development are medical research platforms. This software serves primarily for educating the medical staff. It can be also created with the purpose of collecting medical publications, reviews, and journals. The other application of this kind of technology is allowing institutions to share information about different patient cases for medical research purposes.
Medical training software solutions are also worth noting, and the role of Augmented and Virtual Reality is essential here. The global AR and VR healthcare market was valued at $567 million in 2016. VR apps are especially helpful for surgery training, as until recently, the most popular way of learning for surgeons was to practice on a cadaver. VR solutions enable taking as many tries as physicians want, which is impossible if working on a real body. It also democratizes the way of learning and makes training more accessible as the number of cadavers is very limited. The excellent examples of such solutions are Osso VR and ImmersiveTouch.
The future of healthcare software
The digital healthcare market not only will but also has to grow. The 2020 COVID pandemic was some kind of warning for governments that they need to invest in technology, simply to adjust healthcare services to the conditions of the modern world. And the reports about growing investments in healthcare technology in Q1 2020 prove that at least private-sector noticed this need and opportunity.
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Electronic Health Records (EHR) is probably the most popular and the most crucial type of healthcare software.What is the most commonly used application software in hospital industry? ›
Electronic Health Records (EHR) is probably the most popular and the most crucial type of healthcare software.What computer software is used in healthcare? ›
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
The two most popular types of EHR software are the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The EPR is used by hospitals internally to store their patients' data.
Electronic medical record systems (EMRs, EHRs, and PHRs).Which type of data is most commonly used in healthcare? ›
Clinical data is a staple resource for most health and medical research. Clinical data is either collected during the course of ongoing patient care or as part of a formal clinical trial program.What are the most popular types of application software? ›
- A collection of Microsoft software including MS Office, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Outlook.
- Common Internet browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.
- Graphics and designing software such as Canva, Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw, and AutoCAD.
- A suite of Microsoft products such as MS Office, PowerPoint, MS Word, Excel, and Outlook.
- Internet browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.
- Graphics and design software such as Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw, and AutoCAD.
- Application software. ...
- System software. ...
- Driver software. ...
- Middleware. ...
- Programming software.
There are four basic designs healthcare systems follow: the Beveridge model, the Bismarck model, the national health insurance model, and the out-of-pocket model. The U.S. uses all four of these models for different segments of its residents and citizens.What tools and technology are used in healthcare? ›
- Electronic Record Systems. ...
- Hospital Management Software. ...
- Medical Billing Systems. ...
- Patient Management Software. ...
- Medical Transportation Dispatch System. ...
- Online Pharmacies and Prescription Software. ...
- Remote Patient Monitoring System. ...
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare. ...
- Integrating Data and Predictive Analysis. ...
- Technology in Mental Health. ...
- Remote Patient Monitoring & Virtual Care. ...
- Digital Therapeutics. ...
- Wearables in Healthcare. ...
- Organ Care Technology & Bioprinting. ...
- Cancer Immunotherapy.
Looking at the entire EHR market the three largest players based on revenue according to Signify Research's “EMR-EHR in Acute and Ambulatory Applications – World – 2019” are Cerner, Epic, and Allscripts.What are the 4 broad types of services in healthcare? ›
The healthcare system offers four broad types of services: health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and rehabilitation.What are 3 big sources of healthcare data? ›
Take the quiz. This section will explore how health and medical information is collected, and where it comes from. The main sources of health statistics are surveys, administrative and medical records, claims data, vital records, surveillance, disease registries, and peer-reviewed literature.What are the three types of analytics used in healthcare? ›
Five main types of analytics could be identified; these are descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, prescriptive and discovery analytics, each has its own distinct role in improving healthcare.What are 5 examples of system software? ›
Examples of system software include operating systems (OS) (like macOS, Linux, Android and Microsoft Windows), computational science software, game engines, search engines, industrial automation, and software as a service applications.What are the two most common type of software? ›
- Application Software. ...
- System Software. ...
- Programming Software.
- While application software is designed for end-users, and system software is designed for computers or mobile devices, programming software is for computer programmers and developers who are writing code. ...
- Driver Software.
Application software is usually distinguished into two main classes: closed source vs open source software applications, and free or proprietary software applications.What are the 4 types of system software? ›
System software includes:
- Operating systems.
- Device drivers.
- Utility software.
- Shells and windowing systems.
An operating system is the most important software that runs on a computer. It manages the computer's memory and processes, as well as all of its software and hardware.
- Operating systems (such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS)
- Productivity Software (for example, Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
- Internet Browsers (including Firefox, Chrome, and Safari)
- Word Processing Software: Google Docs, Microsoft Word, WordPad and Notepad.
- Database Software: MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Oracle, IBM DB2 and FoxPro.
- Spreadsheet Software: Google Sheets, Apple Numbers and Microsoft Excel.
- Operating System. Operating systems are the most important type of system software. ...
- Device Drivers. ...
- Firmware. ...
- BIOS and UEFI. ...
- Programming Language Translator. ...
Rather than operating a national health service, a single-payer national health insurance system, or a multi-payer universal health insurance fund, the U.S. health care system can best be described as a hybrid system.What healthcare system is used in the US? ›
Unlike most developed nations, the US health system does not provide healthcare to the country's entire population. Instead, most citizens are covered by a combination of private insurance and various federal and state programs.What are systems in healthcare? ›
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Center of Excellence defines a health system as a group of healthcare organizations (e.g., physician practices, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities) that are jointly owned or managed (foundation models are considered a form of joint management).How is computer technology used in healthcare? ›
The Uses of Computers in Healthcare
Computers can be utilized to order and track drugs and medical supplies. Physicians can leverage computers to research illnesses and develop treatment plans. Computers can be used to create 3D models of organs, which can help surgeons plan surgeries.
Healthcare technology, or “healthtech,” refers to the use of technologies developed for the purpose of improving any and all aspects of the healthcare system.What are 3 benefits of technology in healthcare? ›
Committee on Practice Management
ABSTRACT: The advantages of health information technology (IT) include facilitating communication between health care providers; improving medication safety, tracking, and reporting; and promoting quality of care through optimized access to and adherence to guidelines.
South Korea. South Korea tops the list of best healthcare systems in the world. It's been praised for being modern and efficient, with quality, well-equipped medical facilities and highly trained medical professionals. Generally, treatment in South Korea is affordable and readily available.
Today, epidermal-based wearables, flexible wearables and textile-based wearables monitor patients' clinical conditions, including cancer, mental illness and blood sugar levels. These devices have become one of the most popular healthcare technology trends.What technology has the biggest impact on health care? ›
Faster & More Accurate Access to Patient Records
One of the most widespread uses of technology in healthcare is the adoption of electronic health records (EHR). EHRs make patient health information instantly accessible to providers and patients by supporting automated workflows between people and technologies.
What is a Medical Database? A medical database is an integrated database in which medical information collected from medical institutions and patients are stored. Medical information here refer to information such as prescribed drugs to treat patients' injuries/illnesses, clinical laboratory test results, and so on.What is the difference EMR vs EHR? ›
Electronic medical records (EMR) are digital versions of the paper patient charts that have long been crucial to medical practices. Electronic health records (EHR) are more comprehensive. They include tools that improve your practice's electronic prescribing, lab ordering and telehealth capabilities.What kind of software is EHR? ›
EHR / EMR software is a computer system that helps healthcare providers manage patient medical records and automate clinical workflows. EHR systems allow providers to: Create customizable templates for taking notes during patient encounters.What are the 6 areas of healthcare? ›
Don Berwick describes six dimensions of quality in health care: safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, and equity. Have you ever encountered a failure in any of these areas as a patient or as a clinician?What are the 5 types of classifications in healthcare? ›
- ICD-11. ICD-11 is the latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and is intended to replace ICD-10 as the new global standard for diagnostic codes. ...
- ICD-10-CM. ...
- ICD-10-PCS. ...
- CPT. ...
- HCPCS Level II.
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) typically pay for care within the network; the patient chooses a primary care doctor who handles their care. Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) usually pay if you get care within the network.What are big data tools in healthcare? ›
Healthcare big data refers to collecting, analyzing, and leveraging consumer, patient, physical, and clinical data that is too vast or complex to be understood by traditional means of data processing.What are the 6 Vs of big data in healthcare? ›
Six V's of big data (value, volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and variability), which also apply to health data.
The four data management domains are:
Modern analytics tend to fall in four distinct categories: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive.What are the 4 P's of healthcare analytics? ›
The four Ps (predictive, preventive, personalized, participative)  (Box 21.1) represent the cornerstones of a model of clinical medicine, which offers concrete opportunities to modify the healthcare paradigm .What are the four Vs of healthcare data? ›
Big data is often differentiated by the four V's: velocity, veracity, volume and variety. Researchers assign various measures of importance to each of the metrics, sometimes treating them equally, sometimes separating one out of the pack.What is AI technology in healthcare? ›
AI in healthcare is an umbrella term to describe the application of machine learning (ML) algorithms and other cognitive technologies in medical settings. In the simplest sense, AI is when computers and other machines mimic human cognition, and are capable of learning, thinking, and making decisions or taking actions.What are some of the common healthcare data collection tools? ›
Advantages of commonly used data capture tools
Excel, Access, Google Forms, and SPSS rank among the most used data capture tools in healthcare as most researchers have used them at one time or another in daily life.
- Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) ...
- Practice Management Software. ...
- Master Patient Index (MPI) ...
- Patient Portals. ...
- Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) ...
- Clinical Decision Support (CDS) ...
- Laboratory Information System (LIS)
- Epocrates. Ratings: Capterra 4.6/5. ...
- Asana. Rating: Capterra 4.4/5. ...
- Zoho Cliq. Ratings: Capterra 4.6/5. ...
- Jibble. Ratings: Capterra 4.8/5. ...
- Calculate by QxMD. Ratings: Google Play 4.7/5, IOS 4.8/5. ...
- Read by QxMD. Ratings: Google Play 4.6/5, Apple 4.8/5. ...
- Setmore. Ratings: Capterra 4.7/5. ...
Acute care hospitals provide short-term care for illness, disease, injury, or surgery. In contrast, long-term care is typically for chronic illness, rehabilitation, or psychiatric care. Most hospitals by far are acute-care facilities (88%).What percentage of hospitals use Epic? ›
Is Epic Used in all Hospitals? More than 250 national health care organizations prefer the Epic electronic medical record system. Though most of the top-ranked hospitals are live on Epic, Epic is only used for 54 percent of patient's health records in the US.
There are four basic designs healthcare systems follow: the Beveridge model, the Bismarck model, the national health insurance model, and the out-of-pocket model. The U.S. uses all four of these models for different segments of its residents and citizens.Do hospitals use EHR or EMR? ›
A majority of hospitals use EHR over EMR to support quality improvement, monitor patient safety, measure organization performance, identify high-risk patients, develop an approach to query for patient data, and create individual provider profiles. Telemedicine software for providers can also be linked to EHR.What are smart apps in healthcare? ›
What are SMART Apps? Designed to improve clinical efficiency through technology, SMART apps operate in the context of an electronic health record (EHR), allowing third-party apps to be embedded within the EHR safely and securely.What healthcare apps are needed? ›
- Prevention TaskForce.
- Skyscape Medical Library.
- Doctor On-demand Apps. ...
- Reminder Apps. ...
- Dieting Apps. ...
- Medical Record Apps. ...
- Mental Health Services Apps. ...
- Women's Healthcare Apps. ...
- Medical Training Apps. ...
- Chronic Disease Management Apps.
- South Korea. South Korea tops the list of best healthcare systems in the world. ...
- Taiwan. Taiwan is second in the best healthcare systems in the world. ...
- Denmark. ...
- Austria. ...
- Japan. ...
- Australia. ...
- France. ...
Hawaii is the top state for health care in the U.S. It has the best health outcomes in the country, with low preventable death (47 per 100,000 people), diabetes mortality and obesity rates.What is an EHR software? ›
An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient's paper chart. EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users.What is the difference between MyChart and Epic? ›
MyChart is EPIC's patient portal. MyChart is a secure means for patients to access parts of their health records through a web browser and cell-phone apps.Why are hospitals switching to Epic? ›
The health system made the switch on Oct. 1. According to Emory Healthcare, the new system will help it seamlessly share patient records and improve its billing and scheduling functions.
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Sept. 27, 2021 — Walmart today announced a new partnership with Epic, the most widely-used and comprehensive health records system, to help make it simple for customers to live healthier.