July 12th, 2019 • Software development
Healthcare is one of the professional fields that impact the lives of billions of people in many ways all over the world. As a matter of fact, access to good healthcare is a basic necessity of every human being. This is one of the reasons why the digital transformation of the healthcare industry is on the rise. Even though the age of technology has covered almost every field in life, the medical field is still adopting technology at a slow pace because of strict adherence to the policies that enforce the privacy and protection of patient data. This does not mean that healthcare lags in innovation or activity, it just shows that they have to deal with complex issues when trying to adopt new technology.
Despite the slow pace of adopting new technology, the healthcare system still needs to take care of the evolving and existing environment with changing innovations in technology. One of the areas in healthcare that requires the rapid intervention of technology is the information system. Clinical processes require a high degree of cooperation and communication between nurses, physicians, patients, and other medical personnel. So, they require a system that eases the flow of information among the different parties involved.
Traditional methods of software development have fallen short to provide the healthcare system with solutions to its IT problems. This is largely due to misunderstanding of the end-users’ needs, insufficient communication between the parties involved, and lack of adaptability. For instance, Americans should be familiar with one of the most promising healthcare projects introduced by former US president Barack Obama, HealthCare.gov. The main idea behind this website was to create a better insurance system in the USA. This website was short-lived and failed to meet up the expectations. So, why did this project fail? Mainly, due to its performance. About 5 weeks after the launch, the website was reported to be very slow and to have bad response times. Website development process was not optimized, developers didn’t stick to the schedule and didn’t do certain important procedures such as performance tests.
In order for software to be successfully launched and to continue working, all the parties involved should be willing to work together. It takes a well-organized team to figure out what went wrong in the app development process. Pointing fingers at a particular department when something goes wrong will not fix the problem. The developers at the HealthCare.gov project were not willing to work together to identify and solve these issues. Implementing a good information system in a healthcare organization can be challenging, and the failure of HealthCare.gov is a perfect example of how choosing the wrong development model can impact the success of your project.
When creating an app or system in the healthcare industry or any other industry that requires frequent testing and iteration, the Rapid Application Development (RAD) model is the best option. Here, all the parties involved have a discussion about the particular problem that the app will be solving. With this, working prototypes of the app are created and presented to the end-users so that they use it, get acquainted with it, and provide feedback. The feedback is used to improve the app until the final product is ready for use. This also creates a situation where changes can be easily made to the app when the need arises. If any issues arise, the whole team is involved and works together to find the solution.
In large hospitals, the flow of information is vital for the healthcare system to function. Doctors, nurses, other medical personnel, and patients need to be in sync. Information flow is the key to ensuring that patients will receive the best treatment. Every medical information about the patient needs to be in the system so that the correct procedures and medications are directed to that patient. Healthcare applications need to be updated frequently due to the constant changing of medical procedures and medications, and this is possible only in the RAD model.
Also, family doctors who are working solo require a database or an app to manage all the appointments and information about their patients. This is very important because they need to keep records of the patients’ medical history and current condition. Iterations also need to be constantly made to the app to meet the needs of the doctors.
Another instance when rapid application development model is used in healthcare is clinical trials. Information about the potential and qualified candidates, drugs, procedures, and outcomes of the trail is stored in the app. This is important because everyone involved in the trial should be able to access this information at any time. This app needs to be updated frequently and information about the trials needs to be added at almost every stage.
Everyone involved in the healthcare ecosystem should participate in the development process. This creates platforms such as patient portals and electronic health records (EHR) where the patient’s needs are prioritized. Thereby, allowing patients and healthcare personnel to work together towards a common goal, and patients are also able to meaningfully take part in their care. The protection of patient data is of utmost importance and should be kept in mind when building healthcare apps.
There can be no interruptions in healthcare services. The lives of patients are at stake and healthcare organizations can’t have error-prone or buggy applications. RAD comes in to minimize errors. Bugs can be identified and fixed in the early development phase of the app since the end-users will constantly use and give feedback on the prototypes presented to them.
There are lots of end-users involved in healthcare - physicians, administrators, nurses, patients, other medical personnel. All of them have specific needs and different computing environments. Once the app is created, you need to make changes to cover the needs of all the parties involved.
RAD platforms let end-users apply rapid application development technologies to build healthcare apps for individual and hospital use. End-users get an opportunity to implement features that cover their specific needs. One of the best RAD platforms to use is Codejig platform. Codejig App Builder lets citizen developers build both simple and complex apps and implement business logic without having deep knowledge of programming.
The healthcare industry is constantly changing. New techniques, medications, and procedures are being discovered. So, health organizations need solutions that can grow and change alongside. And solutions that use rapid application development as the technology behind them are the ones that can adapt to these changes fast enough.