When you need a new software solution for your healthcare organization, you have two options: go for a packaged, off-the-shelf software or build custom medical software. While there are different ready-made solutions available for different types of practices and providers, there’s really no one-size-fits-all option. Each provider or practice will have some unique requirements that require customization.
If you’re searching for a custom medical software provider or you’re contemplating picking a ready-made solution, here are factors you must consider:
1. Efficient Workflow
Every healthcare provider will have a unique workflow or care delivery process. In most cases, providers create these processes to meet the unique needs of their patients or to satisfy regulatory requirements.
Medical software is meant to help you handle every aspect of your caregiving process efficiently. If you choose an off-the-shelf solution, you’ll find differences between your workflow and the ready-made solution. You have two options: to adapt your workflow to the software or request customization.
The first option will disrupt your work, require long hours of training and keep your patients waiting for long hours due to frequent workflow issues. The second option defeats the purpose of picking a packaged solution in the first place.
So, you’re better off working with a firm that can develop a solution that suits your workflow perfectly.
2. User Interface Design
Most packaged solutions are created to appeal to a large segment of the healthcare industry. So, they contain many menu levels and long, complex forms with fields that may not be relevant to your practice.
In some cases, the forms may even create challenges for those who use the information to treat patients. For instance, if a doctor creates a treatment plan and gives a prescription that’s entered into an unwieldy patient chart, the nurses may not be able to read or interpret all the information quickly. This can lead to errors in patient care or even death in very severe cases.
On the other hand, custom software that’s developed to fit the precise needs of your practice will be easy for all users to understand and it will improve the quality of care.
3. Total Cost of Ownership
It’s important to evaluate the total cost of ownership when you need new medical software. A packaged solution will usually have price tags attached to various versions of the software. But you need to consider the total cost of ownership. For example, to install and implement a new solution, you have to factor in the cost of:
- User training
- Migration of old records
- Support and maintenance
These costs must be added to the original price of the software license to calculate the total cost of ownership.
However, in the case of custom software, all the project costs are evaluated during the planning and design phase. So, you don’t have to pay for what you won’t use. While you will need to wait longer to get a complete custom solution, you’ll also be able to pay for each project phase as soon as the deliverables for each phase are completed by your development partners.