According to Gartner, healthcare providers are experiencing unprecedented levels of disruption due to factors such as increasingly stringent regulatory and compliance requirements, demands from both patients and healthcare workers for a better user experience (UX), and the necessity of instituting an electronic health records (EHR) regime that makes accurate and up-to-date patient and medical information reliably available when and where needed.
To meet these surging requirements, the healthcare sector is undergoing a major digital transformation. As Gartner puts it,
The best healthcare companies are responding to disruption with digital and innovation initiatives that enable new business models, address the challenges of increasing demand and escalating costs.
Digital innovation requires large amounts of new software. But traditional software creation methodologies, which require extended development cycles and numbers of highly skilled software professionals (who are currently in critically short supply), are simply inadequate to meet that surging demand.
That's why low-code software development is becoming an indispensable tool for healthcare sector digital transformation.
What is low-code development?
With low-code, developers create sophisticated applications visually, by dragging and dropping pre-built modules and templates into the appropriate logical arrangement rather than by writing procedural code statements. Because as much as 90% of an app's logic is embodied in the pre-built modules, low-code development is far quicker, easier, and cost-effective than traditional software development methods.
One of the greatest low-code benefits is that its visual methodology allows workers without coding skills, but who thoroughly understand their own workflows, to help design the automation apps they will use.
How low-code addresses health sector issues
There are a number of pain points that are common across the private healthcare sector:
1. Too much paperwork!
According to a recent survey, 79% of physicians name paperwork and administrative burdens as the top challenge they experience in their medical practice. That paperwork overload negatively impacts patient care and contributes to physician burnout.
That's why low-code is so critical in healthcare modernization, allowing quick and easy development of precisely targeted automations that eliminate much of the paperwork burden.
2. EHRs in isolated silos
The usefulness of much of the healthcare data generated every day is limited because today's EHRs are often siloed in disparate IT systems scattered across the healthcare landscape. There's no "single source of truth" that can ensure that patient information retrieved from any particular system is accurate, complete, and up-to-date.
That can be intensely frustrating, and even dangerous, for patients. For example, because EHR information isn't universally available, patients may be frustrated by having to explain their medical issues and personal information again and again. Sometimes, they may even be subjected to multiple examinations for the same issues because there's no unified medical record notating what's previously been done.
Low-code facilitates development of apps that help collect and rationalize data stored on different systems, and consolidate it into master records available in real time to authorized users across the healthcare sector.
3. Increased data privacy and security threats
Data privacy and security compliance is among healthcare's biggest issues. In 2021 healthcare data breaches affecting more than 40 million individuals were reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Low-code makes it easy to deploy authentication apps that limit access to specific categories of patient information to defined classes of authorized users on a need-to-know basis.
4. Sub par user experience (UX)
Both patients and medical staff are often stressed by their interactions with healthcare systems. As Eren Bali, CEO of Carbon Health, notes,
The biggest consumer experience issue is that navigating the healthcare system is not straightforward.
Hugh Sullivan, CEO of the healthcare billing and payments company MailMyStatements, observes that modern patients demand a streamlined patient experience so they can "self-service" to resolve most questions, issues, or concerns. In fact, in a recent survey, 82% of patients said that, "It should be as easy to get healthcare on my mobile device as it is to order food or a car/rideshare."
Sullivan makes the following recommendation for meeting the expectations of today's healthcare consumer:
To create an outstanding and streamlined user experience, create a patient portal that keeps all the patient interactions in one place. It also allows all employees to access each patient's history – which is updated in real-time – from one centralized record to avoid costly mistakes.
Low-code is critical to creating a great UX for both patients and medical staff:
- It facilitates creating apps that consolidate a patient's health information into a single master EHR that's available across the health system to authorized users.
- It enables an Agile approach to app development in which designers quickly produce a minimum viable product (MVP), then iterate the design by incorporating feedback from actual users, so that the user experience is optimized over time.
- It encourages healthcare staff to be intimately involved in developing the apps employed to automate their processes, allowing them to optimize the UX to fit the way they actually work.
5. Exploding costs
From ongoing supply chain disruptions to the need to attract and retain skilled medical staff, the forces driving cost increases among healthcare institutions are growing rapidly. Because it allows apps to be created far more quickly, using fewer highly skilled software professionals, low-code is key to enabling digital transformation that helps healthcare institutions substantially lower their costs.
A low-code case study
Cityterveys is a Finnish diagnostic services provider that was acquired in 2017 by Synlab, the leading medical diagnostic services provider in Europe. With the healthcare landscape in Finland being complex and fragmented, Cityterveys needed an information system that would consolidate and automate all diagnostic services into one unified system.
Because no such system existed on the market, Cityterveys turned to eSystems to create one from scratch. With Cityterveys in the drivers seat, eSystems helped develop an entirely new low-code digital system that interconnects with both public and private sector healthcare systems in Finland. Manual processes were automated, and information regarding a patient's case was made available to everyone across the health system with the need and authorization to access it.
The new system produced results in record time:
- Development was 3-5X faster than with older methods
- Elapsed time from idea to implementation was only 12 months
- Cityterveys' costs were 3X lower
- Costs to patients were reduced by 90%
- Since its launch, the system has been used by more than half a million patients, and Cityterveys has become Finland's largest medical imaging provider.
- In only three years, Cityterveys' sales revenues went from zero to more than 20 million Euros.
Low-code is driving growth in the private healthcare sector
The health industry is being rapidly transformed by new digital technologies, with low-code at the forefront. Low-code is driving a major shift in the private health sector, and the separation between those who take advantage of its benefits and those who stick with outdated systems saddled with a poor UX is stark.
To help your company get on the low-code train and stay competitive in its marketplace, please contact us today!
WRITTEN BY: Mika Roivainen | Chief Digitalization Officer