Leveraging Healthcare Software Development Partner for Enhancement

software development partner

Today’s healthcare organizations cannot exist without information technology and software. It’s beneficial for helping clinicians communicate with patients efficiently and streamlining the billing process, but it also poses headaches like its high maintenance cost. For example, IT expenses frequently represent 6% of each Medicare reimbursement dollar going to medical practices. These costs can be attributable to the complex needs of healthcare IT, such as cybersecurity, server and software upgrades, and rising premiums on cyber-insurance policies. Hiring staff knowledgeable about all these topics, especially software development, can also be expensive (software developers often earn over $100,000 annually).

Healthcare organizations should consider the alternative of utilizing software development partners to enhance their end product and save on costs in the long term.

Benefits of Software Development Partners

Software development partners can offer numerous benefits to an organization. They can:

  • Leverage a diverse skill set: Outside partners can utilize their past experiences to bring a more effective and efficient product to your organization.
  • Reduce the burden on in-house staff: Software development is time consuming, and frequently, in-house healthcare IT teams don’t specialize in software development. Organizations can reduce the learning curve and workload of their internal teams by partnering with experienced professionals externally.
  • Save on software development costs: Developing software costs time and money. Working with someone who has previous experience developing the product that you want can lead to cost savings in the form of time because mistakes are avoided. Organizations also avoid the expenses of onboarding, training, and providing benefits for new employees.

How to Identify the Right Software Development Partners

Vetting and choosing a software development partner can be time consuming. Costs, skillset, and the ability to work well with your internal team are all considerations that must be made. While each organization has its own approach to determining budget allocation and team member fit, the recommendations that are applicable for any hiring organization include:

  • Defining and understanding the specific needs of your medical software project: Identify your immediate aims, such as facilitating easier communication in the case of patient-provider communication software, and long-term aims, such as integrating data collection within the software to understand what types of communications are most time consuming for providers.
  • Researching the expertise of potential software development partners: Every software developer has their own strengths and weaknesses. You may prefer your software to be developed with a specific coding language to allow for better integration with other in-house technologies. Recognize what your partner is capable of developing and what they may struggle with, so product expectations are best met.
  • Examining the track record of software development: If possible, talk with former clients of the software development partner to learn about past software developments. Explore the strengths and limitations of software that has already been implemented, as these can offer insight into how you want to build your product.

Creating Synergy with your Software Development Partners and In-House Team

A major challenge within healthcare software development is that users of healthcare software (e.g., physicians, nurses, administrators, etc.) often lack technical understanding in terms of how software is built. “Why can’t the software…?” is a phrase often heard throughout healthcare settings—users want these tools to do as much as possible.

Consequently, software development partners should meet with users of the developing products within an organization to best understand their goals. Clear communication, frequent testing, feedback opportunities, and updates should be shared so the project is collaborative among software developers and users. This saves time because it helps align everyone’s goals and increases the likelihood of greater product satisfaction.

Overcoming Challenges and Pitfalls with Software Development Partners

Numerous challenges can arise in software development, such as maintaining data security, adhering to data reporting standards, and integrating the software with existing in-house technologies. New software development partners can bring additional challenges, including communication, leadership, and collaboration.

Be mindful of whom you partner with and how you want them to partner with you. Well-delineated goals, a solid leadership structure, and pre-established times for communication can help avoid common challenges when developing new software, such as a mismatch between what the end user wants and what the software developer provides.

Successful Software Development Partnerships

While it may be new to your organization to utilize software development partners, know that you will be one of many to create products successfully with an external partner. Google Cloud engineers collaborated with Highmark Health to transform its software and cloud communication system. Hyland streamlined Metrohealth’s paper-based manual processes system into an easy-to-use enterprise resource planning solution. Your organization may also benefit from a software development partner like OtterSoft to tackle your information technology needs.

With healthcare technology becoming more complex, it will be challenging for any single organization to keep up with all the knowledge required to develop great software. Partnering with external software developers is becoming more commonplace because it can save on costs, foster innovation, and enable flexibility for in-house staff.

Through the knowledge sharing that takes place when collaborating with external partners, your organization will gain insight into how to develop a product that serves both your short- and long-term needs.

Here at OtterSoft, we help healthcare technology providers drive innovation and integrate smoothly with legacy systems to keep things in motion, address the challenges of healthcare innovation, and seamlessly keep information in sync. Please get in touch with us today to see how we can help you overcome healthcare innovation challenges by strategically augmenting your team!