How Software Helps the Healthcare Industry
In one of our previous blog posts we looked at digital transformation in healthcare with a focus on the specific benefits to patients – from the increased convenience of remote healthcare, to vast improvements in customer service.
But what are the benefits to the people who are either directly providing the care, working in the back-end systems that support it, or creating the products that make it all possible?
In this post, we’ll look at how software improves medical practices, making lives easier for those working in different areas of this vast and varied industry.
How does technology help healthcare workers?
Technology plays an enormous part in the healthcare industry, and effective healthcare software is the key to getting the most out of it.
The following are just six examples of how software helps the healthcare industry, pulled from our extensive experience in the field.
1. Communicating with fellow healthcare professionals
When clinicians need a second opinion on a patient case, how do they communicate quickly to get it? It may surprise you, but many use WhatsApp – a publicly-available messenger app that lacks sufficient security layers to keep patient data confidential.
That was the case when we were approached by Hospify in May 2018. They tasked us with designing a secure and speedy messaging app designed with data protection compliance in mind. The result did precisely that, making it easy for doctors, support staff and even patients to connect securely, and also an excellent first example of how software improves medical practices.
2. Automating labour-intensive manual data collation
Another excellent example of how software helps the healthcare industry can be found in our work with Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), a division of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
CPRD helps to run medical studies, but had one significant issue related to the process; the act of paying its investigators, who recruited the study candidates, was long and laborious. It involved staff taking data from spreadsheets and manually transcribing it into the company’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management system). They estimated their managers were losing two hours each week doing this, and all the time following a manual process with a high risk of user error.
Our solutions involved integrating CRPD’s research service platform and CRM, linking some of the key information and vastly reducing the necessary number of manual inputs. Having done that, we then followed up by designing graphical dashboards to give users key information at a glance, and used an API ‘bridge’ to facilitate automated data exchange between applications. The result was a slew of healthcare software innovations that totally transformed the organisation’s capabilities, saving them time and money in the process.
3. Simplifying appointment bookings and test results
Many healthcare companies grow organically from small operations, only to suddenly find themselves bogged down with manual workflows that block the business’s further expansion. That was certainly the case for Alere Healthcare Connections, who provide occupational health services like workplace medical assessments and substance level screenings.
Our task on this project was to move Alere away from the spreadsheets it used to manage client relationships and build a brand-new health management and reporting system. Our solution integrated everything from appointment bookings to test results, financial information and more – giving the business one point of truth and helping them to significantly cut down on unnecessary manual work.
4. Making pathology data more manageable and usable
If you came to this piece expecting to see a hospital management system – here it is. Our work with the Frimley Park and Royal Surrey County Hospitals helped them to transform the pathology department serving both their outpatient and inpatient departments.
The problem had been that the Trust’s existing pathology healthcare software simply wasn’t sophisticated enough, giving staff a basic and ungainly database from which they tracked participants’ personal information and results. In particular, they needed a system where thousands of healthcare professionals could submit monthly results and receive reports that kept them updated on progress and variances.
Our software solution – a brand-new, secure web portal accessible from known client machines – incorporated a complex scoring algorithm to measure the reliability of test results by comparing them with the thousands of other results, and automatically analysing the data over time. The system would then flag issues if anything was awry.
In addition to boosting the Trust’s ability to manage and analyse test results, the application also boasted other useful functions that automated healthcare workers’ day-to-day tasks, including processing data, billing, and maintenance. It really is an excellent example of how software improves medical practice across the board.
5. Allowing laboratories to be more efficient
Our penultimate example of effective healthcare software comes from our work with Therapeutic Frontiers, who work in clinical trials for asthma and COPD. Evolving regulatory controls meant the company’s existing paper-based processes were not only inefficient, but were risking the business becoming non-compliant. They needed a new bespoke Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) that would allow them to capture crucial data like the exact time and date of tests, and the name of the person who carried out each one.
Our solution stored the data in perpetuity, and gave users the options of text or faceted searches to locate records. With timestamps leading to accurate record keeping, and records exportable into different file formats, it’s a great example of how software helps the healthcare industry on the lesser-considered laboratory side.
6. Helping health equipment manufacturers to stay safety compliant
Our final example of how software improves medical practice comes from another area of the healthcare industry that’s often less talked about. Our work with tablet tooling equipment makers I Holland shows exactly how software can improve the equipment manufacturing processes that help in medication manufacture.
For this particular project, the challenge revolved around helping I Holland to check, measure and report on tooling accuracy, performance and maintenance in machinery designed to press granules into solid tablet form. With regulations becoming increasingly strict, they needed a sophisticated tooling management system that would be usable by people often from non-scientific backgrounds.
Our software solution allowed I Holland to maintain safety compliance, while allowing the company’s clients to report on tool rotations. And all in a multi-lingual system designed to be used by the business’s many customers, right across the world.
How can we help your healthcare business?
At One Beyond, we have decades of experience as a healthcare software development company, from increasing efficiencies with bespoke software, to running entire digital transformation projects that modernise every aspect of a business’s operation.