Where is all this innovation in IT and technology heading? Healthcare. According to Forbes, over $955 million dollars have been channelled towards this field, this year alone. This represents a tripling of the amount invested over previous years.
If you combine this with the fact that governments are planning to update their Healthcare systems, the ensuing result will be a growing market with the potential to deliver extremely efficient solutions (for example, technologies such as 3D organ printing or wearable wellness devices) while uniting two distinct fields for a common vision – a better healthcare industry.
These types of solutions are already gaining traction in healthcare IT, with programs like Watson which helps doctors to provide a better diagnosis, social networks designed for medical professionals and numerous other apps, gadgets and wearables that monitor patients’ vital signs.
However, as easy as it may sound, these products and innovations still face many challenges which require an IT specialist to collaborate and have the medical know-how in order for these products to be accepted by medical specialists or by the public. Moreover, national and international health regulations must be complied with and will be an influential factor on product development on this market.
That made us think how an IT-based company handles all the procedures, succeeding in this sector. So we asked Macadamian, a software development company specialized in healthcare IT about the unknown parts of handling such projects and the impact they are bringing out into the world.
We asked Fred Boulanger, Macadamian CEO, to share some of his views on the topic.
”Software design in Healthcare can literally influence the outcome of life or death situations. Building software applications for this complex domain is fundamentally different than everyday consumer apps.
With legislation requirements, multiple stakeholders, large amounts of data, and a highly specialised workforce, software applications for Healthcare spaces encounter highly-integrated ecosystems with complex workflows – with no room for error. Consequently, organisations are constantly at risk of losing sight of valuable user experiences.”
And as for the regulations we mentioned earlier, Macadamian CEO has the following answer:
”Successful Healthcare application development means careful ongoing attention to an increasing array of government regulations. From the impact of regulatory standards and compliance requirements on application design, to ensuring usability and patient safety, to specific federal regulations on mobile health applications, it is crucial to carefully plan and estimate to avoid overruns and reworks.”
Returning to the idea of the disruptive market we get the chance to see developing, one question that popped our mind was `What`s next?` in terms of healthcare technology. The answer is interoperability and remote patient monitoring.
”The challenge with integrating Healthcare organizations is that they are separate organizations that provide that services using their own process. They have the means and capability to customize software to suit their process rather than adjusting their process to suit the software. Although the Healthcare industry is moving to APIs to help with system interoperability, the complexity of connecting these systems is significant, and the simple existence of APIs does not necessarily make interoperability easy.
Interface Engines are now being used to help fix the problem of integrating an API in a healthcare setting. An Interface Engine sits between your application and the information system or EHR that you’re talking to. It acts like a giant translator that converts the information that is being sent and received into a format that APIs can understand. Interface Engines are putting the Healthcare industry on the right track to achieving seamless integration between healthcare systems and organisations.
Remote patient monitoring and diagnosis is on the rise and driving software development opportunities in the medical device market. The way healthcare is delivered is changing. There is an increasing awareness of health that is driving healthy-lifestyle products to converge with traditional medical products. Devices and mobile apps for fitness and wellness are becoming increasingly popular and are already beginning to enter Healthcare.”
All in all, we could say that developers could literally save our lives one day, while the lines between coding and treating patients will be blurred in search for new technologies and innovations. And this is just one big advantage that technology brings into our worlds.
Another new area that Macadamian has identified as an area of opportunity in Healthcare is the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is a network of uniquely identifiable end points or things that communicate without human interaction over the Internet and often wirelessly. It is a capability rather than a technology, a complex convergence of the various technologies and services that make up the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. These include cloud computing and smartphone hardware, sensors, big data / analytics, applications development, mobile platforms, security and wireless technologies. Put simply, sensors with embedded intelligence enhance the power of the network by collecting and reporting data from their environment that is compiled and analysed to generate information about context.
Gartner indicates that by 2020, 25 Billion IoT devices will be connected globally and that those devices will be generating $8 trillion in annual revenues. This wave will disrupt established business models and will bring consequences, both positive and negative. Macadamian through its’ user centred professional software development services is ideally positioned to leverage its strengths in this area to help new clients navigate this new reality and launch new IoT based solutions that improve their competitiveness by reducing costs, increasing revenues, or achieving compliance.
*Macadamian is an official partner of Techsylvania. More about our partners for the upcoming edition, you can find here.