Hospitals and clinics have always struggled with managing high patient volumes. With COVID-19 this issue is now critical more than ever.
Medical facilities were the first to experience the need to change their approaches when the pandemic started. Lack of patients’ management and decentralized work processes slowed down the number of available patient appointments.
A clinic management system can greatly help medical facilities with these challenges. However, such hospital software systems are not only required by medical staff during a crisis. Clinic management software allows clinics and hospitals to centralize the work of all medical departments, including appointment scheduling, billing and finance, and data storage.
The demand for such systems is growing, and will continue to increase further. But how to create hospital management software? What features of custom hospital management software to include and is it worth it? Keep reading and you will learn the essentials.
What is Hospital Management Software?
Hospital management software or clinic management software is a type of software designed for clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities to manage and store financial, medical, and administrative data; automate work processes; and manage patient appointments.
A hospital management software can manage patients, appointments, doctors’ schedules, prescriptions, the inventory.
Additionally, such software allows doctors to check their schedules and patients to book appointments. Clinic management software can enable SMS or email notifications regarding patient appointments.
By using clinic management software, medical facilities:
- enhance the quality and efficiency of healthcare services
- improve their revenue cycle
- decrease operating costs.
The Health Care Software Market
Hospital management system (also known as a practice management software) is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 10.6% during the forecast period of 2018-2026, and reach $560.8 million in revenue by 2026.
Overall, the practice management software market is divided into:
- Cloud-based clinic management software
- On-site desktop clinic management software.
The end-users of the software can be workers not only in clinics but also in hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, and other medical health facilities.
According to Market Research Future, the USA is the region with the largest demand (60%) for user-friendly medical software.
The second-largest market for clinic management software is Europe, followed by a fast-growing market in the Asia-Pacific region. Current regions of least demand for the clinic management software are the Middle East and Africa.
Primary drivers for increased adoption of hospital management systems are
- the increasing awareness of digital solutions among physicians
- growth in patient healthcare awareness
- a boost in demand by the public for better health maintenance.
Overall, there has been a huge growth in the quality of medicine. The mortality rate in the USA has declined by 30% from1980 to 2017.
Although medicine is becoming more affordable on average, spending on medicine has increased and will reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, an increase of 29-32% from 2015.
Benefits of Hospital Management Software
Clinic management software influences not only the work processes of doctors, but also offers benefits to all.
Such software is the main data and management source that help to manage all clinical administrative and medical-related issues. Doctors use it as a tool for keeping track of patients and their well-being. For patients, this software is an irreplaceable instrument for communicating with doctors online.
Let’s find out other perks of such software.
Here are the main benefits of a clinic management system:
Cloud-based clinic management software allows healthcare providers to access, record, store, and check patients’ data whenever needed. This especially helps in situations when a doctor needs to check a patient’s medical history or make a diagnosis, as all the data is in one place.
Clinic management software automates repetitive administrative tasks, such as data entry or manual appointment bookings, and helps in going paperless.
Due to work process automation, there is a lesser chance for human error since there is minimal human intervention.
It isn’t news that the security of information plays a significant role in the healthcare industry.
Any created software in medicine should be compliant with the regulations of the country. In the USA, for instance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), in Canada – PIPEDA.
Clinic management software interacts with electronic health records, a collection of electronic data on each patient. This means that the clinic management system has access to patients’ records. Custom hospital management software is built in such a way that only authorized users that have their own assigned ID can access the software.
Clinic management software is suitable both for small-, middle- and large-sized clinics. The set of clinic management software features can be pretty minimal at first, but then it can be scaled and adjusted. The software will grow the way a clinic does.
Clinic management software optimizes the number of needed employees by automating such manual tasks as:
- performing billing procedures
- submitting insurance claims
- generating reports for staff members.
In this way, clinics save on hiring extra staff and avoid overworking employees.
Better Customer Experience
Whether offering patients the ability to book an appointment online, signing consent forms digitally, or billing patients online, medical management software gives patients a better customer experience. Such software also eases the work of doctors and employees and gives them more time to take a more personal approach towards their patients.
Core Features of a Custom Hospital Management Software
At Sloboda Studio, we recommend starting product development with an MVP – Minimum Viable Product. An MVP contains a minimum set of features but offers maximum value to the target audience.
Creating an MVP begins with developing a business model, analyzing competitors, selecting technical solutions, and, of course, identifying key functionality.
We’ve gathered 10 core hospital management system features that any clinic, hospital, or practice management software should have.
Electronic Health Records
An electronic health record (EHR) is used to store patient records digitally. It helps to keep patient data in one place and have access to it at any time.
Manually entering medical history does not only take a lot of doctors’ valuable time but also increases the risk of errors. However, with clinic management software, a doctor can make notes right in the system.
Сlinic management software allows for the creation of templates for each healthcare niche, whether it be a dental clinic or a hospital, so that with every appointment a doctor will have all the necessary fields to fill in.
EHR allows sharing of patients’ data with other providers such as labs, or pharmacies and gives both patients and doctors access to the patient’s medical history, lab results, treatments, and appointment scheduling right in the software.
Appointment and Scheduling
Scheduling an appointment should be an easily accessible feature both for patients and for doctors. For patients, they should be able to:
- view available time slots
- book an appointment with a doctor
- be notified if any other slots open up.
For doctors, they can book the next appointment with a patient directly during a patient’s visit in order to coordinate when the patient is coming next. As soon as an appointment is scheduled, a notification or an SMS should be sent both to the patient and doctor, which also should occur before an upcoming appointment.
A patient management system can be built in such a way that after each appointment, an automatic follow-up appointment is scheduled.
For this feature, it is necessary to integrate a calendar or build one so that patients and doctors can view a doctor’s daily schedule and free timeslots in a clinic appointment software.
Billing and Financial Management
Finances and billing are crucial aspects of clinic automation. A clinic management system should manage and monitor finances, financial operations including taxes, revenues, costs, and patient bills.
Nice-to-have features would be an automatic calculation of treatment costs and tracking patients’ billing.
In the best-case scenario, the costs of potential services should be accessible as soon as a patient describes a concern and books an appointment so that a patient is aware of the possible costs.
A patient should also be able to download or print a list of all services provided and the corresponding payments.
Since patients have access to certain features of custom hospital management software, the clinic is likely to benefit from having a page that contains information about:
- doctors, their experience and expertise
- services that a clinic provides.
Any clinic or hospital needs to have enough supplies to perform day-to-day tasks, and can’t afford any sudden shortages.
Clinic management software helps medical staff monitor supply and calculate how many products are in stock and when the next restocking is necessary.
Additionally, inventory management helps check the expiration dates of the drugs.
There is no faster way of getting lab results than via software, namely software for medical clinics. As soon as the results are ready, the results are pinned to a patient’s profile, usually in a PDF format, and a software notifies the doctor and patient. Lab results are accessible anytime for both physicians and patients.
Statistics and Reports
Statistics and reports are a very helpful feature when it comes to getting valuable insights on how to make a clinic a better place. Software for clinics usually provides statistics and reports on patients, doctors, and finances. With reports, you can view which clinics, appointments, practitioners, and marketing sources are your best performers. Additionally, you can view what stock items are low and who has overdue tasks.
The time of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how extremely important it is to be able to have a virtual remote meeting with a doctor via a teleconferencing system.
This feature is definitely not a must-have for all medical facilities. However, those that do not always require face-to-face meetings can benefit massively from this feature.
Insurance Service Integration
Insurance service integration allows patients to submit their insurance online before visiting a doctor. With the help of an integrated module, the software would be able to record and store the patients’ insurance information:
- policy number
- insurance company
- any additional information about policies.
Treatment Plan Management
Clinic software can help doctors make diagnoses. With the help of ICD (International Classification of Diseases), doctors can make better diagnoses by entering all the symptoms and selecting the most suitable diagnosis and the corresponding treatment. Thanks to the internal knowledge database of treatment outcomes doctors can now treat patients more effectively.
How to Create a Hospital Management Software
After studying the main features of a clinic management system, it is time to walk through the 2 main ways to create a clinic management software:
- Custom development
- SaaS solution
Custom development is a type of development where software is built from scratch. That means that a team of developers starts by:
- evaluating customers’ requirements
- listing features that must be included
- designing software architecture
- implementing all the features
Pros of a Custom Hospital Management Software:
- Customization. Since clinic management software will be used by professionals of different ages that have different backgrounds, it is quite essential to have an intuitive interface that will be understandable to all. Custom development allows clinics to build software the way that is the most user-friendly and effective for their medical staff.
- Scalability. It is possible that a clinic may have few staff members and a limited number of patients that doctors can see. However, clinics and hospitals have a tendency to grow, since they oftentimes attract outside investment. When choosing how to build a clinic management software, keep in mind that custom hospital management software development may be a better choice in the long run, since it will be possible to build more features based on the existing functionality.
Cons of a Custom Hospital Management Software:
- Development Time. Building a hospital management software from scratch is likely to take months. However, you can always start by building a minimum set of features that will be sufficient for the first few months, and then add more as needed.
- Development Costs. Understandably, custom development is more costly. Nevertheless, it may prove to be cheaper in the long run. Compared to a SaaS solution, where there may be hidden fees or unnecessary functionality, with custom clinic management software you will be aware of all future costs.
SaaS (Software as a Service) is a subscription-based clinic management software that is offered to clinics and hospitals by a software provider. With a ready-made solution, you wouldn’t need to create a custom clinic management software at all. It would already be there at your disposal.
Pros of a Ready-Made Hospital Management Software:
- Fast Launch. In order to launch a SaaS-based clinic management software, you will need a couple of hours. Adopting the software may take more time, as you won’t be familiar with the interface and its functionality.
- Relatively Low Prices. Ready-made clinic software has relatively low prices. These vary from $13 to $160 per month. But it all depends on the number of users that are going to use the hospital software. The more users there are, the more expensive it is going to get.
Cons of a Ready-Made Hospital Management Software:
- Unnecessary Features. It is no secret that many SaaS software programs offer cheaper options, but with relatively limited functionality, and vice versa. There seems to be no sweet spot in terms of price and features.
- No Customization. Clinics and hospitals all have different requirements for clinic management software, whether these pertain to price, feature set, or design. Unfortunately, with a SaaS solution, you won’t be able to customize the software to your business needs and requirements. It is totally understandable that management software for ordinary clinics and for dentists would have different features. However, this is not always the case for SaaS solutions. Their goal is to serve as many users as possible, so the features offered can be quite generic and limiting.
Hudson Medical + Wellness
Hudson Medical + Wellness is a New York-based medical practice that was founded in 2010. It focuses on pain neurology, management, sports medicine, regenerative medicine, IV therapies, functional medicine. Also, one of its main focuses is a combination of holistic treatments with physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and medical massage.
Sloboda Studio upgraded its clinic and staff management software and appointment booking. In addition, we created a mobile application that is compatible with iOS and Android.
Cambridge Brain Sciences
Cambridge Brain Sciences (CBS) is a Canada-based company that creates engaging assessments of brain function and brain health based on 25+ years of scientific research.
Our team helped to build a new B2B cognitive platform from scratch and scale it. We also added some new features to another CBS platform – CBS Consumer.
Cambridge Brain Sciences has already helped more than 75,000 participants get their cognitive assessments. And the number keeps growing.
To sum up, the main benefit of building a hospital management software is work process automation. To understand how to create a hospital management software, it is essential to decide on your feature set. Our advice would be to start small and then expand software functionality.
Basically, there are 2 ways to create a clinic management software. Either build a clinic management software from scratch or use a SaaS solution. For a small-sized clinic that has a couple of staff members, it is better to use a SaaS solution. However, medical facilities that have more than 10 staff members should consider custom development since. It will cater to their needs more specifically.
Sloboda Studio has been in the market for 10 years, 5 of which focused on building software for the real estate industry.
Contact us if you have any questions about creating custom clinic management software.