COVID-19: Preparing for the New World of Healthcare Software Development
The healthcare industry is in the midst of facing a critical time. The implications brought on by COVID-19 evolve daily.
As healthcare workers and support staff work on the frontlines of a global pandemic, leaders in healthcare software and IT are uniquely positioned to lend extra support to the industry.
To those health technology leaders, KMS is here to help. We offer healthcare software development and quality assurance services to give you the capacity to manage the influx in demand and ensure top-notch security.
How Healthcare Software Development Companies Can and Are Responding:
As shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures continue to increase, the need for digitally enabled technology has never been more apparent.
Software is stepping in to streamline healthcare services and life sciences research. Telemed and digital patient care solutions, remote prescription services, digital and mobile insurance platforms, and more have all seen an influx in usage.
The pressure is on for solutions in this space to scale and meet demand. Those that do so play an essential role in supporting the world in a time of crisis and position themselves to come out stronger at the end.
Heightened Need for Innovative Solutions
The increased demand for digitally enabled platforms has created a catalyst for software companies to innovate and reevaluate how they are delivering solutions to the healthcare industry.
Companies that truly stand out are those that are able to shift focus and fill a need in the industry. How are some of the industry leaders already doing that?
Thermo Fisher Scientific is a world-leading software provider for healthcare, life sciences, and research labs. Since the Coronavirus outbreak, their teams have worked to rapidly develop a “RT-PCR diagnostic kit to enable clinical and public health laboratories to quickly diagnose COVID-19.” The kit allows clinical laboratories to test 94 patient specimens in under 3 hours.
SOC Telemed is a telemedicine platform. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the company has used its acute (hospital-based) telemedicine platform to limit clinician exposure and maximize clinical capacity.
ERT is a leading provider of electronic Patient Reported Outcomes (ePro) solutions and consulting services. The company is offering “immediate and discounted access” to their vaccines eDiary platform for any COVID-19 vaccine research. They have also offered virtual trials so critical clinical research can continue without risking patient safety.
LexisNexis Risk Solutions leverages data analytics to reduce risk and inform decisions for the insurance, financial services, healthcare, and government sectors. They are offering their solution, ThreatMetrix to healthcare providers as a secure and seamless remote logging system for drive-through COVID-19 testing.
How You Can Handle the Influx in Demand
In a previous post, we shared some tips on how to prepare for peak season. And while this isn’t quite the same as preparing for Black Friday, some of the tips we shared then are just as relevant now.
System downtime is expensive — it impacts revenue and in a healthcare setting, can waste valuable time. By ensuring your platform is ready for a potential influx of users, health tech companies can do their part to reduce the load on the healthcare industry.
Leverage the Cloud
A cloud-enabled platform is a great place to start. The cloud allows companies to expand computing and storage capacity. This means your teams can respond to spikes in traffic and tackle performance issues as they come up.
A Great QA Strategy
For software in the health and life sciences space, a quality assurance strategy focusing on performance is an essential way to ensure your platform is ready for increased demand.
You specifically want to focus on 3 types of testing:
- Performance testing — which helps you understand how your platform performs under typical conditions
- Load testing — to understand how much traffic your platform can handle
- Stress testing — which gives insight on how your platform performs under extreme loads
This trifecta of tests allows you to identify and resolve failure points and system bottlenecks. You can also more accurately predict how many servers you will need to respond to spikes in traffic.
A good QA partner will create an automation strategy that not only allows you to identify performance bottlenecks but eliminates a testing bottleneck and keeps delivery moving.
Prepare your Maintenance and Support Team
If your application does fail because of the influx of traffic, there are ways you can prepare your support teams to bounce back:
- During development, build in clear and descriptive messaging. Your support teams will be able to more easily troubleshoot problems and resolve errors quickly.
- Loop in your service analysts during development. By having them review the code, they better understand potential failure points and how to address them.
- Create a searchable error log for efficient troubleshooting.
As leaders in development, quality assurance, and consulting services, KMS can help you prepare your platform during this time. Let us know how we can support your product.
Processing and Securely Managing Data
An influx in usage means an influx of data. Platforms handling secure patient or clinical trial data have three key needs:
- The ability to store and process growing amounts of data
- Data security and regulatory compliance
- Accurate and timely reporting/data recall
Data Storage and Processing
Healthcare data is expected to experience a 36% compound annual growth through 2025. However, healthcare continues to perform below average in some areas of data competency.
This presents a great opportunity for software solutions to step in and address the industry need. This also means that software in the industry must be mindful that they chose development partners that are able to work with ever-growing datasets.
Take KMS for example, we have refined our data analytics services into a well-oiled machine.
Over the years we have worked with over 30 Million patient records and 100 Million patient visits.
With one client alone, we handle over 10 years of data, equaling 1.5+ Petabytes of provider data across 8 Million+ providers.
Data Security and Compliance
Healthcare data contains some of the most highly regulated user information. So it’s important that software in this space keeps data secure and compliant.
When working with a development partner, you want to look for an ISO 9000 certified provider.
To keep data secure, at a minimum, we recommend using:
- A VPN site-to-site set up to create an encrypted channel that keeps the data secure
- Multi-layer security network that includes Firewall, Delimiter zone, virtual LAN, and more
- Physical data center security
- Elaborate authentication password policies
Your provider should also be up to date on the latest U.S. Healthcare IT regulations outlined by:
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HPPA)
- Health Level 7 (HL7)
- International Classification of Diseases (icd-10)
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Fast Analytics and Reporting
Accessing necessary records and information quickly is essential for this industry. You do not want your system to be the bottleneck delaying someone’s care or clinical trials for a vaccine.
So what can you do? By using a scalable architecture, like microservices built on the cloud, you can store and work with big data relatively easily. Want to know more? Check out our post on how microservices handle big data.
Take one of our clients for example. This provider of analytics tools for the insurance and healthcare industries came to us needing to upgrade their data reporting for their end-users.
We worked with their in-house architects to implement a new microservices-based technology that utilized a NoSQL database and Elasticsearch to reduce the amount of time data changes took to process. This moved them from a weekly report showing a snapshot of static data to a system that shows data changes in near real-time.
What Are You Doing to Stay Ahead and How Can We Help?
KMS Technology specializes in serving healthcare (providers and payers) and IT software companies who are looking to leave their mark on their industry. If you need support to scale or develop your solution, we are here to help.