With millions of individuals infected with COVID-19, hospitals all over the world desperately need to establish extra beds, better hospitalization conditions, and more effective hospital management. In the time of the pandemic, hospitals are learning to respond quickly to the emergence of new treatment protocols and changes in clinical operations. Driven by the new normal, many hospitals consider custom hospital management software development to be prepared for the next waves of the epidemic.
In this article, you will learn everything about hospital management system project development: hospital system types, benefits for both hospitals and patients to consider while developing, the most widespread features. You will also see examples of mobile and web systems. Ultimately, the average project cost and duration will be revealed.
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Types of Health Care Systems
A hospital management system, abbreviated as an HMS, is a special software for hospitals that appeared first in the 60s to help hospitals handle paperwork efficiently and reduce the time for manual work. Since then, these systems have been evolving to become mature software providing more than just document management. Today, applications of the hospital management system provide a variety of useful functionalities for processing and monitoring patient records, checking health insurance data, tracking financial information, and many more.
There are various health care systems that should be differentiated in accordance with their purpose and functionalities: electronic healthcare records (EHR), clinic management software, hospital management software mentioned above, laboratory information management systems, billing software, etc. These systems can exist separately, each performing its role, or co-exist as part of a bigger multi-modular architecture. Below are the most common types of healthcare systems.
- HMS for Operations
- HMS for Clinics
- HMS for Health Records
- HMS for Billing
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Advantages of Hospital Management System for Hospitals and Patients
Modern hospital management is required by hospitals, patients, medical providers, and insurance companies. Let’s pay attention to the most meaningful benefits.
Better hospital rating. One can hardly imagine successful cooperation between an insurance agency and a hospital working without an electronic hospital management information system. The capability to share the patient health information with an insurance agency is important to be highly rated and chosen by the agency.
Enhanced revenue monitoring. Although the main purpose of hospitals is to serve patients, these institutions are also interested in getting respective revenue. Modern HMS solutions allow for easily keeping records of financial data. Moreover, custom-built solutions can contain analytics and reporting modules used to analyze the financial data, make predictions, and create data-driven reports.
Increased accuracy and efficiency. With the evolution of new technologies, such as robotic process automation (RPA) coupled with optical character recognition (OCR), AI-powered transcribing software, medical data can be automatically processed eliminating errors occurring within manual processing. Empowered with a great number of other useful features, hospitals can get instant information on room occupancy, operations statuses, and personnel availability.
Improved patient experience. With all that stuff mentioned above, patients benefit from timely response to their needs, accurate data, effective interaction with their doctors, better hospitalization conditions, and treatment management.
More productive staff. Hospital management systems relieve hospital personnel of the need to constantly process patient data manually, check and clarify the necessary information, share the data with the insurance companies, and do lots of other redundant and manual work.
Hospital Management Software Features and Functionalities
To deliver its maximum value, hospital management system design should be carefully considered, especially if you made up your mind to develop a custom solution. The latter is more customizable as you can choose whatever your hospital needs. However, modern off-the-shelf systems are also good at adapting to hospital requirements. In both cases, you should clearly understand what features you need considering your internal and external data flow, operations, and user requirements.
Below are the most popular hospital management functionalities, their names, short descriptions, and data they handle.
Patient appointments and registration. Web and mobile hospital management applications for patients allow them to schedule an appointment with the doctor from anywhere at any time. Doctors, in their turn, are able to monitor the appointments and effectively manage their time. In most cases, the availability of simple registration and scheduling features saves time for both doctors and patients, bypassing the need to call in order to make an appointment.
Financial management and billing. Modern HMS solutions are empowered with financial management functionalities, e.g., tracking patient payment information, managing invoices and taxes, analyzing the financial status, etc. Besides, billing functionality contains all other clinical modules like laboratory, pharmacy, inpatient, outpatient, and many more.
Laboratory information management systems are developed to support all laboratory operations, especially data processing, monitoring, and sharing data, for example, patient test results. The core functionalities of lab management systems include sample management, instrument and application integration, electronic data exchange. Additional features vary from hospital to hospital: audit management, barcode handling, customer relationship management, compliance, document management, and many more.
Inventory monitoring and management capabilities allow hospital staff to monitor stock items and medical staff to ensure on-time supply of all necessary instruments, materials, medicines.
Analytics and reporting can supplement any of other modules by allowing for gathering and analyzing data about patients, staff, budgets. Based on this data, hospitals can easily create reports, detect existing gaps and issues, and timely reach those by developing relevant strategies.
Examples of the Highest-Rated Mobile and Web Hospital Management Information System
Nowadays, the market of IT solutions for clinics and hospitals is full of ready-made software proposals. To demonstrate what features and benefits these solutions offer for patients and hospitals, here is a list of the highest-rated mobile and web HMS products reviewed by GoodFirms.
MocDoc HMS is a cloud-hosted application created for clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, laboratories, supported on the various web (Windows, Mac, Linux) and mobile devices (Android, iOS). The core features provided include bed management, billing, inpatient and outpatient management, audit trail for laboratory.
Image source: MocDoc
Simplex Himes is an intuitive solution for hospitals to provide effective interaction between patients and doctors that serves mainly medical facilities in UAE, KSA, and Jordan. It offers many features, including bed management, inpatient and outpatient management, ward management, OT scheduling, audit trials, instrument integration, sample management, billing and invoicing, reports.
Image source: Simplex Himes
Sanela HMS is an Indian cloud-hosted software product for hospitals that provides all basic features and is available for the following devices: Windows, Linux, Android. The benefits of Sanela HMS highlighted include fast patient registration, access to EHRs, appointment scheduling, e-prescriptions, transparent billing.
SoftClinic HIS is a cloud software supported on Windows and Android, developed to ensure paperless hospital management. The system fits general practitioners, gynecologists, surgeons, physicians, nurses. The core features include patient registration, appointment scheduling, reporting, accounting, data analytics, modules for human resource management, laboratory, pharmacy, insurance claims management, and many more.
Image source: SoftClinic
These were the top five highly-rated systems found on GoodFirms. You can check out there more using the link given above. However, if you are looking for out-of-the-box solutions, you can also visit Capterra or other trusted resources.
Hospital Management Software Development Strategy
To build a custom healthcare system, you should have a clear understanding of how you will do this, step by step. Thus, having a development strategy is critical for project success. Below, we provide a brief overview of how the strategy should look like.
- Development and Testing Vendors Choice. Choose reliable vendors for development and testing functions. Important things to consider are vendors’ experience and expertise in building and testing software products for healthcare.
- Requirements and Compliance Rules Capture. Once the vendors are chosen, they will help you gather all functional and non-functional requirements. Don’t forget to consider compliance regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, HITECH, and others.
- Software Specification and Design Formalization. After getting grips with the requirements, your vendor will agree with you on the software specifications and its design.
- Project Execution and Control. The development phase is very crucial. That's why pay attention to the project roadmap, the sequence of jobs and tasks to be done, dependencies, etc.
- Acceptance Criteria. To measure the performance and project quality, you must agree on the acceptance criteria beforehand. Acceptance criteria are a list of standards according to which you will validate that the software meets your requirements.
Cost of Hospital Management Software Development
Hospital management software development cost is probably one of the most exciting questions for hospitals and technology companies. Traditionally, no vendor will tell you the exact cost of the system if we are talking about custom development. However, it’s quite possible to see the approximate budget if you look at the costs of some ready-made products or relevant case studies highlighting the bespoke system development.
Although it is hard to learn how much it will take to develop a custom hospital system, let’s find out what factors can affect your budget and project cost. Firstly, the more complicated your system is and the more modules it has, the more money is needed to build it. The cost is also impacted by the number of platforms your HMS should be supported on. The project duration and vendor’s developer rates also affect the cost. Business analysis, testing, hospital management system documentation, marketing, and other specific services are often paid separately and can add to the total project cost, which can vary from dozens thousands of dollars to hundred thousands.
Duration of a Hospital Management Software Project
According to our knowledge and experience, hospital management software development can take from 3 months to 1 year, depending on the number of modules you need to build from scratch or integrate with existing modules. Health management system development undergoes several stages, starting with initial business analysis and ending with deployment and launch.
To develop a fully-functioning system, you should first start with the requirements gathering. Then, agree on software specifications offered by a vendor. Design and development phases come next and are the most important execution stages, followed by testing, user acceptance testing, deployment, and product release. In case a hospital needs training to use the system appropriately, the vendor can provide it, as well.
Cost of Testing a Hospital System
Testing is one of the most important jobs that should be done in any software project type. Manual and automated testing ensures the highest level of software quality and the alignment of system requirements and functionalities. Actually, it is something that shouldn’t be considered as a separate stage as testers start their work from the very beginning of the project. On average, testing and QA services for hospital management software development projects vary from 30 to 90 dollars per hour.
The cost depends on the rates of the vendor. By the way, if you would like to gain the highest quality of your health software, consider separating the development team from testing services. The latter, for better results, should be provided by the external team of testers that are not in any way affiliated with developers. Only then can you rely completely on the testing results and reports.
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