The Pros and Cons of Custom Software Devices in Healthcare

Matt Beltz
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The healthcare industry is quite unique when it comes to technology. One of the main reasons for this is that industry requirements in healthcare are more heavily regulated and far more stringent compared to many other industries. Because of this, strategy, planning and design of software needs to be on point, or else you risk major issues in the future. With this being said, is it better to go custom when building software for medical purposes?

Pros of Custom Healthcare Software and Applications

The biggest advantage of custom healthcare software is fairly obvious; you get to create a solution that does exactly what you need it to. Software off of the shelf will likely fall short of being a perfect fit for your application. In addition to this, there are a few other benefits from going the custom solution route.

  1. A customized experience - The user experience of your software is more important today than it ever has been in the past. Social media and smartphone technology have created very high expectations when it comes to user experience, both for patients and for employees. A poor user experience can lead to poor, slow adoption rates and an increased need for customer support. With custom healthcare software, you are able to build the optimal experience for your users.
  2. Management of integrations - It’s common for software in healthcare to integrate with multiple systems or services in order to simplify how the information is received by the user. Software out of the box will most likely not have solutions to integrate with all the systems you need it to. By building custom software and using APIs, you’ll be able to integrate everything into one efficient experience.
  3. An upgrade in security - Data security in healthcare is paramount. Failure to comply with HIPAA regulations can lead to severe punishments and hefty fines. With custom software, you can enhance your software’s security numerous ways including stronger encryptions and quicker updates.
  4. Longer lifespan - When your medical software does exactly what you need it to, there is much less need to make changes or to redesign it. Not only do changes increase security risks, but they also reduce productivity and cause additional costs.
  5. Absolute control - Regardless of what you need your healthcare software to do, it’s very likely those functions can be baked into customized software. This gives you and your team full control over the entire experience — both for your team and the end users. Some examples might include fully locking down a device remotely or using geofencing to make sure your devices don’t leave the premises.

The Downside of Custom Medical Software and Applications

There really are not any functional downsides when building custom software because it can be created to your exact specifications. There are, however, a few cons to consider before you make a decision.

  1. Higher upfront costs - Just like any other custom good or service, having software built how you want it is going to be more expensive. This is because it takes more time and resources to fully customize the software’s functionality. It will also cost more to have any updates made in the future. The costs will vary depending on what the software needs to do, where software out of the box is often set at a fixed price.
  2. Finding the right partner and resources can be difficult - Due to the complexity of software in the healthcare industry, finding the right developer can be difficult. Ideally, a developer should have experience with medical software as well as understand current HIPAA regulations. Most generalized website development companies will be learning as they go, which can lead to major problems down the road.

Overall, there is a tradeoff to consider. Off-the-shelf software will cost a lot less and can be implemented faster. On the downside, it almost certainly will not do everything you need it to do like a customized solution would.

If you are trying to figure out the best option for your organization and you need some help deciding, reach out by clicking below. We’re here to help.

This post was last updated on: Sep 28, 2022.