The essential guide to 2024 healthcare software development
Did you know that the global healthcare software market is expected to reach $104.1 billion by 2030? This explosive growth is driven by the increasing demand for healthcare software to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and provide better care to patients.
But how do you grasp the driving forces behind these changes?
That’s why we’ve created this guide - to explain the transformative potential of the healthcare software market, covering the latest trends, challenges, processes, and opportunities.
Healthcare industry overview
WithHealth: a "back-to-work" healthcare solution that helps companies manage & monitor COVID-19 workplace status
The global digital health market is projected to grow from $742.72 billion in 2022 to $4,547.70 billion by 2029 at a CAGR of 29.5% in the forecast period, with the top players being Oracle Cerner, Apple, Epic, Huawei, Cisco, and Philips Healthcare. The market is driven by a number of factors, including:
- Increasing adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and other healthcare IT solutions;
- Increasing penetration of smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps;
- Growing demand for telemedicine and remote patient monitoring;
- Rising prevalence of chronic diseases and the need for personalized medicine;
- The COVID-19 pandemic;
- Government initiatives to promote the use of healthcare IT.
The leading market segment by product type is mHealth. mHealth refers to the practice of using mobile devices like phones and tablets, along with wireless technology, to improve healthcare. Mobile health has many uses, including education, diagnosis and treatment, managing healthcare supplies, and monitoring patients remotely. Back in 2018, the value of the global mHealth market was USD 34.28 billlion. Just 8 years later, by 2026, it's projected to reach USD 293.29 billion.
The healthcare industry is multifaceted. It comprises various subsets, each playing a crucial role in delivering comprehensive medical services. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Care delivery & navigation tech
In the realm of healthcare, technology-driven solutions take the lead in enhancing the quality of care. Care delivery and navigation technologies aim to streamline healthcare processes, foster better communication between medical institutions and patients, and simplify the often intricate healthcare system.
The care delivery & tech sector puts emphasis on the use of tools such as electronic health records (EHRs), patient portals, telemedicine platforms, health information systems, patient engagement apps, and care coordination tools.
- Example: CINQCARE - Care, where you live
Monitoring, imaging & diagnostics tech
Within healthcare, another critical facet involves medical software solutions designed to monitor patient health, create diagnostic images, and identify diseases.
Here, remote patient monitoring systems, advanced medical imaging software, and laboratory information systems aid healthcare providers in delivering accurate and timely diagnoses.
- Example: Lubdub - Never miss a beat with accessible and smart heart diagnostics
Health insurance & RCM tech
Efficient healthcare delivery relies on the effective management of insurance claims and revenue cycles. Health insurance and revenue cycle management technology offer software solutions to health insurance companies and healthcare providers alike.
Examples of products within this subindustry include systems for processing health insurance claims and revenue cycle management software, ensuring the financial aspects of healthcare run smoothly.
- Example: Mo.health - Modern health cover for modern teams
Health data & analytics
In today's data-driven world, healthcare organizations must harness the power of data to improve patient care and operations. The medical data and analytics subindustry steps in, providing software solutions that enable healthcare entities to collect, analyze, and visualize health data. These encompass health information exchanges (HIEs), clinical data warehouses, and population health management software.
- Example: Rivia - Data Analytics for Clinical Trials
Drug R&D tech
Pharmaceutical innovation plays a pivotal role in healthcare advancement. This subindustry includes software solutions that help pharmaceutical companies develop and test new drugs through drug discovery software, clinical trial management software, and regulatory compliance software.
- Example: Baoji Pharmaceutical - A biopharma R&D manufacturer, a Sino-foreign joint biopharmaceutical enterprise integrating drug R&D and production
Digital therapeutics & wellness tech
In the quest for holistic health, digital therapeutics and wellness technology take center stage. These software solutions are dedicated to treating and preventing diseases, as well as promoting overall health and well-being.
From mobile health apps to wearable devices and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) software, these tools empower individuals to take charge of their health.
- Example: ElevateMe - A complete assessment of your baseline health, tailored insights & an action plan to help you improve toward your goals
Digital pharmacy tech
The subindustry of digital pharmacy technology offers software solutions designed to streamline pharmacy processes. These solutions include pharmacy dispensing systems and medication delivery apps, making the pharmacy experience more efficient and convenient for patients.
- Example: DiRx - A digital pharmacy for low-cost, generic medications, delivered to the doorstep
|To learn what types of digital health projects will get traction in 2024, check 22 healthtech startups investors want to invest in 2024|
Types of healthcare software
Healthcare software is a broad term that covers a wide range of tools and applications. They are designed to help healthcare professionals and patients improve the quality and efficiency of care, and can be classified as follows:
- Electronic health records (EHR) software
- Telemedicine software
- Remote patient monitoring (RPM) software
- Medical diagnosis software
- Medical imaging software
- Hospital management software
- Healthcare CRM software
- Appointment scheduling software
- Medical billing software
- Health tracking apps
- Personal Health Record software
One of the most important types of healthcare software is electronic health records (EHR) software. EHR software stores and manages patient records electronically. This includes information such as demographics, medical history, diagnoses, medications, and treatment plans. EHR software helps healthcare providers improve the quality and efficiency of care by providing them with easy access to patient information.
- Example: OASYS NOW
Another crucial categories of healthcare software is telemedicine software along with remote patient monitoring (RPM) solutions. They allows healthcare organizations to provide care to patients remotely. This can be done through video conferencing, phone calls, or secure messaging. Telemedicine software and RPM are especially useful for patients who live in rural or underserved areas, or who have difficulty traveling to see a doctor in person.
- Example: Doximity
Two more types of clinical software are medical diagnosis and medical imaging solutions. Medical diagnosis software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze patient data, such as medical history, symptoms, and lab results, to generate a list of possible diagnoses. Medical imaging software is utilized to process and analyze medical images, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. This software can help healthcare providers to visualize the inside of the body and diagnose a variety of conditions. Medical imaging software is also used to guide minimally invasive surgical procedures.
|Fore more insights on the typology of medical apps, check 10 trending types of medical software|
Digital health trends
Healthcare technology is rapidly evolving, driven by advances in artificial intelligence, big data, and other emerging technologies, making it more personalized, predictive, and preventive.
Let’s discuss the four main healthcare technology trends.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital health solutions, such as virtual care, telehealth, and remote patient monitoring. These solutions offer many benefits for both patients and providers, including convenience, affordability, accessibility, efficiency, and reduced costs.
Some challenges remain, such as lack of interoperability, security and privacy concerns, and lack of awareness. However, the future of healthcare is digital, as patients want convenient, omnichannel, contactless interactions.
- Example: Medi24 - 24 Hour Immediate Telemedicine
Prevention is better than cure
With the rise of AI, healthcare providers are shifting their focus from treating conditions to predicting them. They use AI-powered predictive analytics and big data to generate instant medical alerts, customize treatments, forecast diseases, predict patient loads, and identify at-risk patients, with the ultimate goal being the improvement of patient outcomes.
This transformation is achievable thanks to the growing adoption of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices and other data sources and was initiated mainly by the patient stratification trend, enhanced analytics possibilities, and a system shift to value-based care.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM)
The need to stay home forced healthcare organizations to find new ways to care for patients with fewer in-person visits, leading to the rapid growth of telehealth and RPM - the practice of collection and monitoring of patient data from a remote location.
Remote patient monitoring is poised to play an increasingly important role in the future of healthcare, as it enables providers to deliver more personalized and proactive care.
- Example: Kintsugi - An API-first platform that uses novel voice biomarkers in speech to identify, prioritize, and care for mental health in real time.
Women & seniors’ health
The global women's health market is expected to grow from $44.82 billion in 2023 to $58.69 billion by 2028, at a rate of 5.54% per year. This growth is being driven by the aging population, the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, and the growing awareness of the importance of women's health.
Similarly, the number of Americans age 65 and older is expected to grow by nearly 90%, from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060. The 65-and-older age group will make up a larger share of the total population, increasing from 16% to 23%.
Healthcare organizations are increasingly investing in technologies that can help women and seniors manage their health and age in place. These technologies include remote patient monitoring, wearable devices, and telehealth solutions.
- Example: Vira - Extending healthy life expectancy. Starting with better menopause care.
- Example: CarePredict - AI-Powered digital health platform for senior care.
For more insights, check Healthcare technology trends 2023-2030: 13 digital health trends to shape the next decade
Custom healthcare software development process step-by-step
Let’s go through the process of developing healthcare software. To make it more engaging and explanatory, we’ll use the example of building a health-tracking app.
The first and fundamental step of any endeavor is research. In case of building apps, we recommend going through these types of studies:
- Market research
- Competitor analysis
- UX research
The output of the research stage should be defining the problem your users face.
Market research is a set of techniques used to gather and analyze information about a market (your potential customers), product, or service to make informed business decisions.
For your health-tracking app, you should analyze industry trends to identify new opportunities (What are the latest trends in health and fitness technology?) and research the market size and growth potential (How many people are using health-tracking mobile apps? What is the expected growth of the market in the coming years?).
The aim of competitor analysis is to identify and research your competitors to understand their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
When carrying out the competition analysis, you want to find your niche - identify the gaps in the market your competitors haven’t covered yet and use it to your advantage.
Identify your direct and indirect competitors, and compare the features of your medical app to those of your competitors. (What features do you offer that your competitors don't? What features could you add to make your healthcare app more competitive?).
Analyze your competitors' pricing and marketing strategies (How much do they charge for their medical apps? How do they promote their software to users?).
Finally, you should go for UX research for the best and most precise results. User experience research is the process of understanding users and their needs to create better products and services. UX researchers talk directly with your potential customers. Thanks to this, you can get highly personalized insights that will let you create products that people want and avoid wasting time and resources on mistakes.
Conduct user interviews to understand the pain points and frustrations of potential users. (What are their biggest challenges when using health-tracking apps? What features would make their lives easier?)
Discovery & definition
Once you have collected the necessary data about your market and industry, it’s time to turn it into your product strategy.
The interpreted findings from the research stage will help you come up with different solutions for your defined problem. Through an array of various brainstorming methods (such as Impact Mapping or Opportunity Solution Tree), you should come up with a bunch of solutions that you are ready to investigate further in the next stage, which is the Solution Definition.
Let’s suppose the problem you defined in the previous stage is a lack of gamification in the available health-tracking app. People want to get rewards and level up for good health outcomes. Your custom software solution could be provide your app’s users with a game-like experience.
In the solution definition process, you use various testing methods to validate your solution ideas. The goal is to find a solution that you can later turn into an actual product (by building an MVP). In this process, you search for a solution that answers the user's needs (has the largest impact), is feasible, and can be delivered quickly.
Create wireframes, mockups, and prototypes of your medical software. By applying various testing methods (first-click testing, 5-second tests, button-to-nowhere testing, etc.), you should have a more detailed and clear vision of your solution that you can later use as a reference for building an MVP, as well as a UVP and a Product Vision Statement.
Business & development planning
Lean Canvas is a one-page business plan for any product idea. This simple way of describing the business model of your product uses 9 blocks (Problem, Customer Segments, Key Metrics, Solution, Unique Value Proposition, Unfair advantage, Channels, Revenue Streams, Cost Structure) to help you map out important aspects of your business.
Problem: People want to track their health data in a fun and engaging way, but there is no game-like health tracking app on the market.
Customer Segments: Health-conscious individuals, fitness enthusiasts, athletes, people with chronic health conditions.
Key Metrics: Number of active users, number of daily logins, average time spent in the app, number of challenges completed.
Solution: A mobile app that allows users to track their health data in a game-like way, with challenges, rewards, and leaderboards.
Unique Value Proposition: The app will be the only game-like health-tracking app on the market. It will also be easy to use, affordable, and comprehensive.
Unfair Advantage: The app will be developed by a team of experienced health and technology professionals.
Channels: The app will be available for download on the App Store and Google Play.
Revenue Streams: The app will be free to download, but users will have the option to purchase premium features, such as access to additional challenges, skins, and rewards.
Cost Structure: The main costs associated with developing and maintaining the app will be server costs, healthcare app development costs, and marketing costs.
A business model is a blueprint for how a company will create, deliver, and capture value. It describes how the healthcare organization will generate revenue, control costs, and achieve profitability.
The business model for the health-tracking app could be based on a freemium model. Users would be able to download the app for free and use the basic features, such as tracking their steps taken and calories burned. However, they would have the option to purchase premium features, such as access to additional challenges, skins, and rewards.
The revenue generated from premium features would be used to cover the costs of developing and maintaining the app. The company also plans to generate revenue from advertising and partnerships with other health and fitness companies.
If you're a startup founder looking for investors, you need pitch decks. A pitch deck is a short presentation that introduces your startup and its product to potential investors. It typically includes 4-12 slides and covers topics such as the problem you are solving, your solution, your business model, your target market, your team, and your financial projections.
An MVP roadmap is a high-level plan that shows how a business will develop and launch its MVP. It is a flexible document that can be updated as needed, but it should provide a clear roadmap for the business to follow.
With the business side of your endeavor established, you’re ready to start the medical MVP development. By partnering with an experienced custom software development partner, you’ll be ready to launch it in 3 months.
|For a detailed explanation of the MVP-building process. check out the How to start a startup e-book.|
Key aspects of medical software development
Health Folder: an AI-based digital medical documentation folder
To summarize the article, let’s discuss a few key aspects you should consider when building custom healthcare software.
Data security and privacy: In total, global cyberattacks in the healthcare industry rose by 38% in 2022 in comparison to 2021. Protecting patient data is paramount. Implement robust encryption, access controls, and data anonymization techniques. Comply with major healthcare standards like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in the United States and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe.
Interoperability: Healthcare systems often involve multiple applications and devices, as well as healthcare systems. Ensure that your software can seamlessly exchange data with other systems, such as electronic health records (EHRs) and laboratory information systems (LISs). using standard protocols and formats (e.g., HL7, FHIR).
Scalability and performance: Healthcare software should be able to scale to meet the needs of growing organizations and changing requirements. This means designing the software modular and flexible so that new features and functionality can be added easily.
Regulatory compliance: Comply with relevant regulations and standards, which may vary by region. Some common ones include:
- FDA Regulations: For medical devices and medical software that directly impact patient care in the United States.
- HIPAA: For patient data privacy and security in the U.S.
- GDPR: For data protection and privacy in the European Union.
- ISO 13485: Quality management systems for medical device manufacturers.
- CE Marking: For medical devices sold in the European Economic Area.
User-centered design: Design user interfaces that are intuitive and efficient for medical professionals. Usability is critical in high-pressure healthcare environments.
Documentation: Maintain thorough documentation of the software's design, development, testing, and validation processes. This is often required for regulatory compliance.
Continuous monitoring and maintenance: Healthcare software must be continuously monitored and updated to address security vulnerabilities, bugs, and changing regulatory requirements.
Collaboration with healthcare professionals: Engage healthcare professionals in the development process to gain valuable insights and ensure that your software addresses real-world clinical needs.
|To learn more about collaborating with software providers, check How to choose the right custom healthcare software development company? (7 important steps)|
The essential guide to healthcare software development. Summary
With a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities in medical software development, you are ready to make a real difference in the lives of others.
Find and collaborate with the right healthcare software development company, leverage technology, and focus on innovation; you can help create a more equitable and sustainable healthcare system for all.