The healthcare software landscape
According to a 2019 industry forecast by Meticulous Research, the healthcare IT market is expected to grow at 13.8% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) between 2019 and 2027, to reach a value of $511 billion.
However, as the report was published before the coronavirus outbreak, these numbers could potentially be even higher, with healthcare apps becoming more and more popular during the pandemic.
In the following article, we’re going to guide you through the top 13 types of healthcare software present on the market. We’ll showcase examples of popular medical software developed and used by institutions, as well as healthcare apps used by individuals concerned about their health and well-being.
Thirteen of the most popular types of healthcare software
1. Electronic Health Record (EHR) Software
EHR software is one of the most popular (if not the single most popular) type of software used by hospitals and clinics. In many ways, it’s similar to a CRM, only adjusted to the medical industry.
EHR software collects information on patients – for example, the medication they take, doctors’ recommendations, and the procedures that they have undergone in the past.
Many programs also include a financial module for invoicing and payment, and a separate portal for the patient, which allows patients to access their consultation history, medical records, and prescriptions.
The two most popular types of EHR software are:
- Electronic patient record software (EPR) – used internally by hospitals to store and process their patient information.
- Electronic medical record software (EMR) – used to store data like medication types and dosage, past and planned procedures, and data on the patient’s recovery course.
2. Medical database software
Similarly to Electronic Health Record software, medical database software stores patients’ histories and treatment plans. However, unlike in EHRs, the database is categorized by disease, not patients’ profiles.
Medical database software helps doctors in two key areas:
- Making better treatment decisions by cross-referencing a patient’s case with similar cases.
- Educating themselves by reviewing clinical cases of a given disease.
A dermatologist can, for example, use this type of software to browse all patients diagnosed with Atopic Dermatitis and compare their symptoms, treatments, and recovery plans.
3. Medical research software
Medical research software is used for two primary purposes: education and sharing research with the medical community. This type of software is commonly used to train medical personnel and to support diagnoses if no similar clinical cases among patients can be referenced internally.
Image source: PubMed
4. Medical diagnosis software
Medical diagnosis software for doctors allows them to exchange anonymized patient records so that they can fill any informational gaps preventing them from providing an accurate diagnosis. This type of software often leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze all available patient data and generate probable diagnoses.
There are also medical diagnosis apps available for individuals. Such apps allow users to check if their symptoms require a visit to hospital. Diagnosis apps like these have become popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source: Google Play Store
Examples: Human DX, OSP Labs, COVID Symptom Tracker
5. Medical imaging software
Medical imaging and visualization software is used primarily for processing MRI/CT/PET scans and designing 3D models.
Medical 3D imaging software permits:
- Human anatomy 3D modeling. Such programs let medical technicians create tailored models for individual patients. For example, 3D modeling software is used to generate and print out a real-life model of a patient’s teeth before a planned orthodontic treatment.
- Designing and printing equipment or body parts. This software is used to print elements of medical equipment or body parts, like artificial limbs or coronary stents needed for cardiovascular surgery.
Examples: Materialise, Vepro
6. E-prescribing software
More and more countries around the world are switching to electronic prescriptions, which also means e-prescribing software is becoming a must-have for doctors.
The software lets medical professionals track, renew, and cancel prescriptions for their patients. It’s also integrated with national drug reference databases.
7. Telemedicine software
Telemedicine is truly a booming industry, with a market value expected to reach $64 billion by the year 2025 – and that’s just the data for the United States alone! What makes it so successful is its convenience for doctors and patients alike.
Telemedicine software lets healthcare professionals carry out appointments with patients online, either via a web browser or a mobile app. In some software, the video conferencing feature is complemented by e-prescriptions and a billing module.
8. Appointment scheduling (booking) software
Booking software helps hospitals, clinics, and medical practices manage their appointment systems online. Typically, the software features a patient panel that lets individuals schedule appointments via an app or website.
Often, it also has an email notification system and automatic reminders for doctors and patients about upcoming appointments.
9. Medical billing software
This software helps hospital accounting departments keep track of patient invoices, payments, and any other financial operations. It’s often integrated into bigger systems, such as EHR or hospital management software.
Example: Epic Care
10. Hospital management software
Hospital management software assists hospital administration in day-to-day operations. These types of programs usually help with the automation of accounting, medical billing, claims, out-patient management, inventory, bed management, and others.
Hospital management software often integrates with EHR software to help simultaneously keep track of patient records.
11. Medical equipment management software
The goal of this type of software is to relieve hospitals and medical practices of manual stocktaking and equipment maintenance.
Medical equipment management software supports the sound functioning of clinics with features like automatic maintenance scheduling and inventory alerts.
12. Health tracking apps
In 2019, the global mHealth (short for ‘mobile health’) app industry was valued at $37 billion.
A large portion of the market can be attributed to the following app categories:
- Fitness – for example, the popular 8fit app.
- Diet – for example, Fitatu Calorie Counter and Diet.
- Meditation and stress reduction – for example, the incredibly popular Calm and Shine apps.
There’s also an increasing number of apps that integrate with IoT devices worn to source and analyze users’ health data. Some of the most popular types are wristbands for sleep tracking (for example, FitBit), jewelry (for example, the health-tracking Oura Ring), glucometers, and thermometers (used, amongst other things, for menstrual cycle tracking – for example, the Kindara app).
13. Personal Health Record software (medical diaries)
Unlike health tracking apps, the majority of which are used to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Personal Health Record software serves a different purpose – monitoring diseases.
These types of software serve as medical diaries – and can be either held on the patient’s device or integrated with the doctor or hospital’s software.
A great example that demonstrates how Personal Health Record software works is the Tulipa app, designed for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. In the app, the patients note down any symptoms, sensations, medication, or treatment, and can generate a health report before their next doctor’s visit.
This type of software can support the patient towards recovery, or alert medical staff on the worsening condition of a patient as soon as the first symptoms appear.
Digital acceleration in healthcare in 2020 and beyond
It’s safe to say that the healthcare software market is in full blossom. No wonder; the digitalization of healthcare brings many benefits – improved efficiency, cost reduction, and better control of finances and patient data. With the increasing digital acceleration of medical services around the globe and a growing user base of health-tracking apps online, the industry is likely to grow.
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