The Top 15 Types of Healthcare Software in 2021
The use of healthcare software has been steadily on the rise for the last decade.
The past 18 months has caused a significant leap forward in digital health adoption. As healthcare services worldwide deal with the COVID pandemic whilst maintaining service levels elsewhere, healthcare apps have proved a lifeline for services under huge amounts of pressure.
Healthcare software has also proved invaluable for everyday citizens as they’ve navigated looking after their own health over various waves of lockdowns and uncertainty.
Here are our picks for the most relevant types of healthcare software in 2021. You may be weighing up whether to build or buy these for your healthcare practice or trying to figure out what sort of software you need – or you might be building your own healthcare software which you hope to sell.
This is what the market looks like for 2021 and the near future.
Healthcare Software For Medicine
1. Telehealth software
Telehealth software, which allows doctors to consult with patients over telephone or video, has been essential in continuing to offer non COVID-related care without risking passing on the virus.
In the UK, 99% of all GP practices can now offer video consultations. This has proved invaluable in ensuring accessibility and continuity of care for patients, especially patients who have needed to shield due to COVID vulnerabilities.
In the long term, this could have a major positive effect on access to care the world over. Telehealth makes it easier for medical professionals to care for those in remote, rural locations and those whose health prevents them from travelling to and from clinics.
2. Electronic health records
Electronic health records (or EHR) software is the most common type of healthcare software used by hospitals, clinics and practices.
EHR software allows healthcare professionals to collect and store patient data for ease of access. This could include patient medical history, notes, charts and prescriptions and details on the patient’s planned recovery course.
EHR software commonly has e-prescribing features attached, so that doctors can prescribe medications without the need for paper-based processes.
3. Medical diagnosis software
‘Medical diagnosis software’ covers both physician-facing and patient-facing apps. Both have been majorly useful over the course of the pandemic.
Physician-facing medical diagnosis software allows doctors to share anonymized patient records to collaborate on finding a diagnosis. In some cases, this is helped along by the use of AI to draw in data and suggest possible diagnoses.
Medical diagnosis apps for patients allow them to report their symptoms to see whether they need to take any action healthwise, like booking an appointment to see a healthcare professional. This has helped ease workloads for healthcare workers over the pandemic, and also
4. Medical imaging software
Medical imaging software processes MRI, CT and PET scans, and can also be used to create useful 3D visualizations for treatment. For example, surgeons could examine a 3D model of a patient based on an MRI scan before performing surgery.
Medical imaging software also plays a vital role in designing and sometimes printing medical equipment, like coronary stents and artificial limbs. As 3D printing grows in popularity and complexity, this is likely to become an even more important use for medical imaging software.
5. Medical research software
Medical research software like PubMed supports clinicians in sharing research and widening their knowledge base, whilst providing a useful reference base to support complex diagnoses.
Medical research software can be an invaluable resource for junior health professionals as they complete their training, develop their skills and work towards essential professional development requirements.
Healthcare Software For Admin and Maintenance
6. Medical billing software
Medical billing is a complex process that eats up staff time. If someone provides the wrong code for a particular interaction, practices could end up short thousands of dollars – or your patients could be vastly overcharged.
Medical billing software helps you automate the process, so that human error is reduced and teams have more time to spend elsewhere. Medical billing software can be integrated with EHR software, and can sometimes be bought as part of a larger bundle.
7. Appointment scheduling software
Appointment scheduling software helps your admin team to schedule patient appointments and keep on top of any updates or last-minute changes.
You’ll often find appointment scheduling software bundled in with EHR or hospital management tools, but standalone solutions exist too.
8. Hospital and practice management software
How many beds has your hospital got available? How are this quarter’s accounts shaping up? Does your emergency room have enough supplies to see it through a busy Saturday night shift? Running a hospital is a multi-faceted job in which you need to keep on top of all of this (and more) to provide the best care possible for your patients.
Hospital management software helps you manage a range of functions to help your hospital run smoothly, including inventory management, bed management, and a range of financial features including accounts, billing and claims management.
9. Medical equipment maintenance software
Medical equipment breakdown is a nightmare scenario for any practice – it can be costly and time-consuming to fix and cause major delays in treatment.
Medical equipment maintenance software helps ensure that this doesn’t happen, with automated maintenance scheduling and alerts.
Medical equipment maintenance software offers the possibility of predictive and remote maintenance based on data gathered by IoT sensors. Whilst this isn’t a widely used technology in the medical space at the moment, IoT is definitely one to watch in the near future.
Healthcare Software For Wellness
10. Health tracking software
The range of consumer-facing healthcare tracking apps has explored over the past few years.
IoT solutions like bands, watches and even jewelry allow people to track their own basic health data. Hours of sleep, heart rate and activity are all useful metrics to track on a personal level, and advances in IoT technology have made this data more accurate than ever.
More specialized health tracking apps allow people to track a range of metrics, including blood sugar monitoring for those with diabetes (MySgr, Glucose Buddy, Diabetes:M) and menstrual cycle tracking (Clue, Ovia).
11. Exercise apps and exercise tracking software
Staying healthy over the pandemic has been no mean feat for a lot of people! Exercise apps have been a vital part of helping people manage their physical and mental health over a long period of uncertainty.
Whether by providing inspiration for workouts – for example yoga or HiiT – or by allowing users to track, record and share data from their daily walks, runs or cycle rides, exercise apps have helped people across the globe in 2021.
12. Meditation and stress reduction apps
Stress management and mindfulness apps give people tools to help deal with difficult situations.
Often, this is via a specific technique like meditation – apps like Headspace and Aura provide both guided meditations and less structured practice to suit a range of users. Sometimes stress reduction apps also take a more holistic approach to wellness. Shine, for example, offers daily wellness tips and goals, and access to an online support community.
13. Remote therapy apps
Alongside telehealth solutions for therapists, specialized remote therapy apps offer access to wellness and mental health support without needing an in-person appointment.
This can be over video consultation, phone or instant chat – mental health apps like BetterHelp offer support in a range of formats to suit patients’ needs. Whilst not necessarily intended as a replacement to in-person therapy services, remote therapy apps have provided day-to-day support for a range of people across the pandemic.
Patient-facing Healthcare Software
14. Patient portals
Technically, this would normally be a module of your EHR software that your patients can access – but we think it’s worth including because they are so useful! Adoption of patient portals by medical practices is increasing, but it’s by no means at 100% yet.
A patient portal is an online tool which your patients can access with a username and password. What it contains exactly will vary from practice to practice, but broadly a patient portal contains a set of tools designed to facilitate patients’ relationship with their practice.
This could include online scheduling tools for appointments, access to patients’ own health records, a help or instant messaging tool, or access to e-prescriptions. This reduces the time admin teams need to spend dealing with low-level enquiries and makes everything considerably easier for patients at the same time.
15. Personal medical diaries
Personal medical diaries work in a similar way to health tracking apps, but help patients manage specific conditions rather than promoting a healthy lifestyle in general.
Personal medical diaries can be simply for patients monitoring specific symptoms over time, and held privately on their own devices. If the patient wants to, they can also be shared with healthcare providers to help inform the best course of treatment.
For example, the Tulippa app helps patients with Parkinson’s Disease monitor symptoms, medication and treatment, allowing them to generate a health report before each visit to the doctors.
Healthcare Software Development: What You Need To Know
Building custom healthcare software requires commitment, top-of-the-range development expertise and an in-depth knowledge of healthcare IT regulations. This ensures patient data is kept safe, and you don’t suffer financial or reputational damage due to a preventable data leak.
Safe to say, generalists don’t cut it when it comes to healthcare software development – you need a reliable and experienced healthcare software development company here. This is true whether you’re a practice looking for a custom EHR solution or a health IT startup building a marketable product.
At Tivix, we have years of experience building healthcare IT solutions for a range of partners. We offer access to a global network of experts, covering:
- Frontend and backend development
- Mobile development
- Product and UX design
- End-to-end project management
Whether you’re looking for a full team to take your project from napkin sketch to reality, or you need a bit of external support to help your in-house team, we’d love to hear from you.