Information technology has been making breakthroughs in the healthcare sector and the most recent revolution in custom healthcare software development. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been applied to introduce cutting-edge technologies that are poised to transform the landscape of caregiving.
Within this space, the healthcare software developer is a critical component. Your healthcare developer is the master-mind behind the execution of software that can save millions of lives and provide a superior level of healthcare. The individual requirement of the healthcare agency needs to be comprehended by the service provider and addressed in a customized fashion. Custom healthcare software development involves ideation, creation, and execution that is designed for the specific needs of the healthcare provider. Another integral feature is a smooth migration from the legacy system to the new and improved software. This customized software is more complex in their development when compared to off-the-shelf software products.
Here is our insight into the healthcare developer’s best practices to assist you in the selection and execution of a service provider for custom healthcare solutions.
Healthcare Developers are the Core Pillar in Successful Software Solutions
The primary requirement of a healthcare developer is to comprehend the requirements of the specific healthcare agency in question and craft digital experiences and platforms to address those requirements. This may involve an understanding of systems and applications that are mandatory and a vision of the improvements and modifications that can contribute to increased efficiency. User experiences have to be factored in when analyzing the development of software and technologies. This will aid in a patient-centric mindset, which is the need of the hour. Below is a list of essential factors towards consideration:
Revenue Cycle Workflows:
The developer has to have a comprehensive understanding of the revenue cycle workflows of the healthcare organization. Billing schedules, superbills, claim fields, payment models and denial workflows are all important components of the same. Pre-registration systems need to be studied, regulatory and financial requirements should be addressed, along with coding, collections, and submissions. Finally, remittance processing and third-party follow-ups are critical processes in the revenue cycle workflows.
Healthcare Integration Standards Knowledge:
A healthcare developer needs to ensure that software and programs are compliant with healthcare standards. This is a critical component in ensuring that the developed products adhere to the security and availability standards. HL7, FHIR, ANSI X12n 5010, NCPDP SCRIPT, DICOM, and HL7 v3 CDA are all healthcare integration standards and the ones relevant to the healthcare organization must be looked into.
Popular integration frameworks include the now deprecated Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) standards and widely adopted Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE)). Staying on the integration continuum helps healthcare organizations improve their outcomes and therefore, should be a priority for the developer. Integration efforts should be made right from the planning stage up to execution for seamless healthcare software development.
Third-party Integration Ability:
This is an understanding of the concept that no single solutions can suffice an entire care delivery workflow and involves partnerships towards a solution platform that integrates with the healthcare organizations’ third-party liaisons. Ensuring third-party integrations will assist the software developer to create smooth interoperability throughout the organization without any hurdles and glitches along the way. This step is critical towards the overall functioning of the customized software.
Effective Code Implementation:
Healthcare software developers’ success is practically reliant on efficient coding. One way to ensure this is done is by adopting smaller modules that are coded and then gradually tested in the larger scheme of things. Automated systems of testing further assist in ensuring effective code implementation and to steer clear of ineffective functioning. Within the healthcare spectrum, effective coding is the backbone of successful custom software development.
Rigorous Testing and Validation:
After the healthcare developer has succeeded in the planning and execution stage, testing is an important stage that validates the level of functionality as a match toward the intended expectation. Developers can choose to undertake testing stage-wise, even simultaneously while coding. This eliminates the possibility of bugs interfering with functionality. Unit testing, integration testing, functionality testing, system testing, and performance testing are all important factors.
Quality Frameworks and Metrics:
Clearly defined quality metrics and putting a framework in place can help a healthcare software developer right from the word go. The biggest advantage this will provide is a speedier process of execution and functionality. These metrics can be defined based on the requirement and details of the software and quality analysts can be put in place to consistently monitor and test the quality of coding and execution.
Responsibilities and Roles of a Healthcare Developer
Essential responsibilities and roles of a healthcare software developer include:
Health IT Developer and Technician:
This involves looking into the regular organization and managing healthcare data and ensures that electronic data is compliant with quality and accuracy standards. Another key responsibility is the management of patient records towards maintaining security and segmentation of data according to type.
Data and Systems Analyst:
This is the role of managing the computer networks to ensure smooth workability and successful installation of software programs, along with system upgrades. A high degree of working knowledge is required to ensure that security standards are adhered to. Problem-solving skills are also critical to data and systems analyst.
Health Data Scientist (Big Data Specialist):
This responsibility includes analysis of data and developing healthcare software that will assist in data automation and maintenance for all data-related avenues of the healthcare organization.
mHealth Developer (Mobile App Development):
Healthcare Web Application and Portal Developer:
The portal developer takes care of all aspects related to mobile health web applications and portals. The healthcare organization’s webspace is the responsibility of the developer and all things related to it come under their purview.
Internet of Things (IoT), Wearable and Equipment Sensors Technician:
This technician looks into the wearable devices related to the healthcare organization. These devices have microcontrollers and need to be managed for smooth functioning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation Application Developer:
As the name suggests, the developer looks into AI-related technologies that work towards automation of systems and processes in the healthcare organization.
Working as a Unit of Development Team
- A lean development approach towards healthcare MVP development is based on the Build-Mesure-Learn model. The first order of business is to identify the problem and then develop a minimum variable product to speed up the learning process.
- Model the current and future medical processes before writing a line of code. This is a fool-proof process that ensures predictability of the end-result as much as possible. Modeling the process, before writing code, eliminates rework and increases the chances of successful functionality.
- Validation is far more important than verification. This literally means that the software can always be tweaked and altered to achieve the desired result. However, this process turns more complex when there is no clear confirmation that the developed software is ideal for the job at hand.
- Privacy restrictions must be balanced with usability requirements. These two sides of the coin are equally essential to success and must be carefully balanced to achieve success. While confidentiality is a key factor in healthcare, usability is critical to development efficiency.
- Healthcare stakeholders view software as a time-saving mechanism. Therefore, this goal must lie at the top of the priority list for the acceptance and approval of healthcare software development.
- Health application scalability is crucial for performance optimization. The customized software must work to scale the business at all levels. Hassle-free operations, compounded with efficient process and long-term sustainability improve the overall performance of the organization.
- A comprehensive backup plan for disaster management is a must. When undertaking risk assessment, a backup process of information and data is critical. When a disaster strikes, this backup plan should automatically be executed.
Useful Tips for Healthcare Software Developers
- Creating a repository of reserved terminology keywords will allow smooth functioning between the team as well as prompt execution and resolution.
- Structuring your data repository will avoid the hassle of messy codes and disorganized folders interrupting the development process and ensure efficiency parameters are maintained.
- Make Continuous Integration (CI) the central point where all the work comes together. Keeping this system as operating procedure will eliminate errors and back and forth to a large extent.
- Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is another advantageous strategy that will improve performance and avoid the hurdles of rework. This tool will work towards the overall supervision of quality controls.
- Ensuring that all code be checked into version control will create uniformity and reduce the likelihood of coding errors.
- Enforcing documentation for all coding processes will serve as a useful guide toward future coding and development. Consider it similar to a user manual.
- Protecting the virtual environment will increase the chances of individual project success through the creation of isolated directory trees that carry details of specific projects.
- A clear definition of who is in charge at each stage of the project will lead to better manageability and smoother operations with no room for discrepancies.
- Leveraging critical thinking and a culture where everyone can ask everything is another important tool towards transparency and problem-solving.
- Upholding the HIPAA security standards during development is of paramount importance when working within the healthcare space.
- A clear definition and enforcement of flexible testing processes throughout the development cycle will reduce the possibilities of error and rework.
Healthcare Software Development Case Studies:
OSP AI for Pneumonia Detection:
The team was faced with the challenge to build an object localization algorithm that would work to detect visual signals for pneumonia in X-rays, as this was rampantly going undetected in the past. The first order of business was to analyze and create a comprehensive architecture of deep neural networks that were capable of detecting lung opacities. This led to the development of a high-end convolutional neural network that identified and localized pneumonia affected areas and provided accurate pneumonia predictions to optimize radiologist’s diagnosis performance. Read More
OSP for Revenue Cycle Management (RCM):
A healthcare organization approached the software developer service team with a requirement to automate billing workflow and improve claim approval rate. The first step of the development team was to gather resources to enhance go-to-market strength. After this, an analysis of developing a customized system architecture to optimize workflow was conducted, which resulted in a cloud-based customized mental health billing platform. The end result was automated claim processing and reduced claim errors. Download this eBook
OSP for Dental Health Billing:
When the team was presented with the need for an automated billing workflow for efficient dental reimbursements, the first order of business was to assess the go-to-market strength. This was followed by the designing of a customized system architecture that would address the specific billing needs. The execution led to a tailored & HIPAA compliant dental health billing platform on the cloud that provided prompt claim reimbursement and efficient provider network management. Read More
Agile project managers with sound knowledge and meaningful healthcare experience are the need of the hour. At OSP Labs, we adopt an approach that works toward holistic development through advanced diagnosis, customized models, qualitative assessments, multi-platform integration tools, and high standards of execution capabilities.
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Originally published January 2, 2020 11:33 am