Healthcare executives are embracing Digital Transformation® as a way to increase competitiveness and boost profits. A recent KPMG survey found that 56% of leaders are investing in Digital Transformation® to “drive growth, efficiency, and resiliency.”
Furthermore, 66% of executives across all industries say that their organization has been “very or extremely effective in using digital [transformation] to advance business strategy.”
Yet, many executives struggle to decide whether to purchase off-the-shelf software or work with a technology partner to develop a custom solution.
Despite the ease associated with purchasing ready-made commercial software, many organizations would benefit from working with a healthcare Digital Transformation® partner to build bespoke solutions for their organization. That’s because custom software can better meet end-user needs, allow for endless customization, and serve as the foundation for an agile, scalable digital ecosystem.
Off-the-Shelf Healthcare IT
Off-the-shelf, also known as commercial, software is the most common type of healthcare software. Epic Systems, Modmed, and Oracle Cerner are well-known off-the-shelf commercial software used in the healthcare industry.
Commercial solutions are the most common type of software because they use a one-size-fits-all approach, offering a slate of standard processes and functions desired by most healthcare organizations.
This type of approach is a good option for organizations that lack specialized needs and do not plan to scale their digital infrastructure or grow over time.
The primary drawback associated with off-the-shelf software is lack of customization. No business is truly standard. This means that every organization will have unique needs and specialized processes that require modifications.
Off-the-shelf solutions also struggle to integrate with existing IT infrastructure.
Institutions often turn to bespoke solutions to these problems years after paying a large license fee for an off-the-shelf application that no longer meets requirements, or has features that are unnecessary or redundant.
Finally, this type of software often comes with a hefty price tag, requiring an annual subscription that can cost more than a custom solution over time.
Custom Healthcare IT Solutions
While off-the-shelf products are designed with a mass audience in mind, custom software is designed to address a single organization’s unique needs and integrate seamlessly into existing IT infrastructure.This type of approach is favored by large and small institutions alike.
Unconventional Problems Require Creative Solutions
A good Digital Transformation® partner helps its clients identify their technological roadblocks and enterprise needs before creating a long-term strategy.
This enables them to create built-to-suite software that actually addresses company and end-user needs. The best agencies start with staff focus groups, where they investigate client pain points and frustrations, and identify areas for improvement.
Healthcare Digital Transformation® partners should also analyze digital processes required to complete tasks and build software that will increase efficiency and address the most frustrating challenges that prevent staff from focusing on patient care. This helps:
- Boost efficiency
- Improve employee satisfaction
- Save money in the long-term
Finally, companies can easily scale their customized software as the organization’s needs grow. That’s because long-term concerns and requirements have already been integrated into the digital ecosystem from conception through deployment.
Systems Integration is Key to Digital Transformation®
API integration is the key to building bespoke software that can seamlessly integrate into existing IT infrastructure without disruption. This involves transferring, importing, extracting, translating, and landing data transfers to the back-end database structure, a task that often requires creating built-to-suit APIs for each client.
Systems integration provides a cohesive digital ecosystem where data is seamlessly shared between software, regardless of manufacturer.
Custom Platforms Improve the Patient Experience
One of the benefits of Digital Transformation® is how much patients love the single sign-on capability that comes with a custom patient engagement platform. Patients rave about the ease and features found in these bespoke systems, like self-scheduling capabilities, the ability to order lab tests and quickly view results, and quickly pay their bill.
When these custom solutions are integrated into existing IT infrastructure, such as electronic health records systems, patients can seamlessly communicate with their doctors using convenient chat functions. This greatly boosts patient experience and satisfaction metrics.
Patients also value the ability to access and print medical records without going through the cumbersome pen-and-paper records request process.
Assist with Strategy and Long-Term Planning
Another important benefit is the ability to rely on product knowledge owners for ongoing technical support, drafting transformation strategies, and creating long-term goals.
The best healthcare Digital Transformation® partners help clients accomplish mission-critical goals by predicting industry trends, anticipating emerging technologies, and implementing novel solutions to patient and staff pain points.
This includes assisting with staffing, recommending optimal organizational structures, and bringing voice-of-the-customer concerns into the project management process.
Quality development partners will also advise their clients on how to meet regulatory compliance standards, such as HIPAA, the 21st Century Cures Act, the No Surprises Act, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines for data encryption and safe data storage.
Finally, the best technology partners help their clients integrate robust cyber security protections into the custom application, data transfers, and the whole enterprise IT infrastructure.
Digital Transformation® is now a main priority for healthcare leaders, which means the technology needs of organizations are becoming even more complex. While many executives opt for off-the-shelf solutions for their needs, others are discovering that standard software does not meet their needs.
These increasingly complicated digital ecosystems often require custom-built software to solve end-user needs, seamlessly integrate with existing IT infrastructure, and build a foundation that can scale in the future.