A recent report from Meticulous Research indicates an expected increase in the healthcare IT market’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) by 13.8% to reach a value of $511.06 billion between 2019 and 2027. This number coordinates with a report released in May 2021 predicting the global digital health market will likely reach $456.9 billion by 2026.
These reports and numbers show how digitization shapes healthcare today. From extensive hospital facilities to local clinics, medical institutions have gradually shifted from traditional patient care services to a more advanced healthcare system using various digital applications.
Healthcare Software You Need to Know About
Patients go to their hospital or clinic for a checkup or other medical assistance in the traditional healthcare setup. They fill out the necessary forms or documents to complete their registration and meet their physicians.
However, the COVID-19 outbreak created a complete disruption to conventional health management. Patients — especially those who are more susceptible to the virus — want to stay at home and opt for alternative medical support.
Medical organizations and healthcare professionals have turned to telehealth and the digital healthcare market to seek a more efficient and accessible healthcare service amid the global crisis.
One of the promising means of IT application in the medical industry is the use of healthcare software. A type of technology that focuses on providing advanced medical solutions, healthcare software refers to IT-based programs that offer an improved telehealth experience. Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies to distribute health-related services.
Types of healthcare software
Healthcare providers are already using various types of medical software available on the IT market. The following are some of the most popular and promising software that cater to today’s demand for minimal physical contact and boost virtual interaction.
Electronic health record (EHR) software
EHRs collect and store patients’ information digitally for present and future reference. An EHR keeps a complete medical history consisting of crucial information to help a healthcare professional further understand their patient’s medical condition. An EHR or electronic medical record (EMR) software may include:
- A patient’s history of medication
- Doctor’s recommendations
- Prior operations
- Lab and imaging test results
- Vitals history
Furthermore, unlike paper-based records that are prone to damage and misplacement, EHR offers a more secure and accessible record system that is difficult to disrupt and lose track of as the computerized files are constantly organized and updated over time.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) software
RPM software allows medical professionals to conduct remote diagnostics via telehealth. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, RPM has allowed medical providers to continue to serve their patients while protecting the health and safety of other patients and staff.
RPM software uses various technologies, such as devices with standard medical features such as sensors, central data storage, and functionality that facilitates the electronic sharing of patient data to the medical staff. Moreover, RPM enables real-time communication and promotes patient engagement as they become more involved and accountable in their healthcare management.
For example, patients with diabetes can link their blood glucose monitoring device to their provider’s RPM software and automatically upload their daily glucose levels. The software ensures that patients receive the required healthcare when they need it, anytime and anywhere.
Creating and sending prescriptions is a sensitive pharmaceutical task, which is why medical institutions and local clinics are switching to e-prescribing software or electronic prescriptions to improve patient safety and minimize medication mishaps.
The prescription process for multiple patients is complex, leading to human errors, such as prescribing the wrong drugs, dosage, or prescription mix-ups. But with electronic prescriptions, physicians accurately monitor the system data to ensure that the patients receive the proper medication. Additionally, physician’s offices can directly communicate to pharmacies to track, renew, and cancel prescriptions.
Benefits of this healthcare software include a faster prescription process since pharmacies no longer need to decipher the physician’s handwriting. With just a few clicks, prescriptions are delivered to specific pharmacies for patients to pick up their medicines, minimizing wait times. Most importantly, a person will no longer risk misplacing or losing a physical prescription since it’s in a digital form uploaded to the patients’ medical record for other doctors to use as a reference.
Online appointment scheduling software
Healthcare providers have been losing thousands of dollars annually because of appointment cancellations and no-shows. Medical practices use online appointment scheduling software to minimize patient no-shows and cancellations by giving their patients the convenience of an online setup.
Typically, this software lets patients schedule their appointments by registering and logging in to an online platform. The system provides the patients their appointment number and schedule. This convenient process also increases patient satisfaction since they won’t have to spend time making multiple phone calls.
Other platforms feature a more detailed appointment system to ensure that there won’t be any cancellations or no-shows. Online scheduling software can send automated appointment reminders via email or text message, depending on a patient’s preference. Platforms like Curogram can integrate with physician’s schedules to show real-time availability and secure 2-way messaging to cancel or reschedule appointments. Through preferred communication and flexibility, patients won’t be able to miss out on their scheduled appointments.
According to a study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research in 2020, 76% of the hospitals in the US use telemedicine as a form of communication to connect with patients. It is considered a booming industry as its market value will likely reach $64 billion by 2025.
In general, telemedicine is the use of technology to transmit medical care in a remote location. For decades, telemedicine has proved to be a fundamental factor in providing quality patient care, a decline in hospital readmissions, and better control of the finances of patients and healthcare providers.
One of the main factors for the growth of the telemedicine industry is the COVID-19 pandemic, as patients prefer to receive medical treatment without going to physician’s offices, clinics, or hospitals.
Through telemedicine software, medical treatments are made possible, convenient, and efficient over the internet. Medical practitioners conduct consultations via a web browser or mobile apps, such as video conferencing, that lets them still see their patients and complete checkups and consultations.
Though designed as a particular program to accommodate medical needs, telemedicine platforms often integrate with other healthcare software such as EHR, electronic prescriptions, and medical billing to maximize its vast capabilities.
As IT applications in the healthcare industry hold a myriad of digital possibilities, it’s safe to say that the healthcare software market brings many benefits to enhance medical administration and patient outcomes. Healthcare software such as telehealth, patient messaging, and other practice management platforms are likely to become even more prevalent in the coming years.
With all these advancements and capabilities of healthcare information technology, now is the time to find and provide neoteric medical solutions using various types of healthcare software.