Healthcare software takes shape in many different forms. Ever since healthcare started dipping its toes more into the use of online systems, the field has seen a rise in different solutions coming to the market.
Recently the COVID-19 pandemic has steered the use of digital solutions on further and we have seen a high demand and necessity in the use of different online tools.
One of the core values of any healthcare software is digital safety. As sensitive information is stored in healthcare software healthcare providers internationally are often obliged to use secure digital platforms.
Many different companies and organisations have developed solutions that offer healthcare organisations a way to save time and manage cases within a team safely. This most often results in better care and quicker and more efficient responses.
Electronic Health/Medical Record Software
Amongst one of the most important digital systems to enter the healthcare field are Electronic Health Record Software (EHR) and the Electronic Medical Record Software (EMR). EHR software is a system that collects patient data. Patient personal information, as well as their medical record are stored in a system as such and can be accessed by healthcare professionals digitally.
Primary and secondary care across the UK use an EHR or EMR software system nowadays. Three well-used EHR systems in the UK are EMIS, SystmOne, and Vision Health. EMIS started the development of their electronic health records software back in the 1980s. The system has been around for over 30 years.
Though EHR and EMR software are similar, there is difference between the two. An EMR system focuses on the medical history of a patients within for instance the General Practice. EHR software focuses on the medical history as well as other information that relates to a person’s health and offers this information across different specialists.
Personal Health Record Software
Closely related to EHR and EMR, but slightly different is Personal Health Record (PHR) Software. An Electronic Health Record is a record that is managed and edited by doctors. A PHR on the other hand is managed by people themselves.
This means that it is the person’s responsibility to keep their information up to date. Often a PHR system sits alongside EHR or EMR software.
Key for hospitals and primary care is to improve their patient safety. E-prescribing software has helped in this area. In short, e-prescribing software is a tool that allows clinicians to order medicines directly from pharmacy.
One of the great benefits of this e-prescribing software is that it takes away an element of human error and the system often has safety checks in place. This means that there are fewer medication errors.
At the same time e-prescribing software presents the opportunity for a more efficient workflow. There is no longer the need for physical records that would need to be moved between departments and healthcare organisations, which can take up valuable time. Additionally, it eliminates the needs for phone calls and emails to check where medicine is.
Closely related, but slightly different is e-ordering and tracking software for the pharmacy department internally. Web Tracker is an example of software as such. This software allows pharmacists to order medicine, dispense it and follow its path from arrival to delivery.
Appointment scheduling software
Many healthcare organisations make use of appointment scheduling software. A system as such allows patients to log in to an online platform. Patients are given a specific time and place for their appointment to take place.
In addition, patients can cancel appointments online, reschedule appointments and see when their doctor is available. To what extend this is integrated depends on the system and the preferences of the healthcare organisation.
Appointment scheduling software has helped in reducing the number of people gathering to wait for their appointment. It makes for a calmer hospital environment as people do not line up to be offered an appointment.
A software technology that has seen a rise during the pandemic. Telemedicine software is a secure platform allowing doctors and more to offer remote healthcare via video, audio and more.
An advantage of software as such is that clinicians are able to serve more people in a shorter amount of time. Telemedicine software often ties in with other systems such as scheduling software and EHR platforms.
Medical Document Management Software
For healthcare a document storage solution like Dropbox or OneDrive does not offer the necessary components. Rather specialist medical document management software has been created to meet the brief for clinicians.
These systems allow healthcare workers to work on and view important documents from a safe system. This can be particularly handy for a large trust where a lot of data has to be managed.
An example of a medical document management system is Document Library. This system allows for sharing of documents, as well as linking items to each other and assigning people to certain documents. Review dates can be installed, which can be helpful to keep track of for example Standard Operating Procedures, which might require revision after a certain amount of time.
Medical Database Software
Clinicians can use medical database software to reference previous cases. This way when new similar cases come in clinicians have a database which allows them to see what the process for different individuals looked like. As a result, better care is provided as the offered care comes from informed decision making.
Medical Diagnosis Software
Medical diagnosis software has been a game changer for multidisciplinary teams. As health professionals are able to record their findings into one system and can see the findings of other specialists it becomes easier to reach a diagnosis for a specific patient.
This software has made a great difference in working collaboratively to help patients. Systems such as these bring about greater collaboration, while simultaneously saving time.
Medical Imaging Software
Another great innovation has been the use of imaging and visualisation enabled by software. Think of imaging techniques such as a CT scan or an MRI. This imaging has allowed healthcare professionals to give more accurate diagnosis as they could view internal body systems.
Clinical Trial Software
A separate software solution can offer great value to fully manage a clinical study and trial. Separate and highly specialised is Clinical Trial Software. This type of software is used in research settings to manage data, and operations of clinical trials. It brings together all information and help organise it and streamline workflows.
Think of having an overview of research participants, and keeping track of milestones and objectives.
Primary Care Management Software
While the above-named systems can be installed across health and at times also social care, there are a number of management tools that are specific to a primary care setting. The different types of software can be quite specific and only relevant in a specific field. The biggest one can be defined as Practice Management Software
Practice Management Software
A broad term for software that includes the previously mentioned appointment scheduling software. This type of software can deal with anything from setting up appointments, to assigning rooms to inventory checks. There are even systems that allow you to analyse workflow, manage payroll and evaluate costs.
An example of this is Edenbridge’s Apex, which provides GP practices with data insight.
Secondary Care Management Software
Hospital management software is designed for administrative function within trusts and other hospital settings. This type of software covers a broad field and can be specific to certain departments.
The result of a good hospital management system is improved patient safety, improved patient care, a better administration, and a more streamlined service. One example is named below.
Medical Equipment Management Software
In particular relevant in a secondary care setting, keeping track of medical equipment is not an easy task. This is made easier via a software system. Managing and reporting on maintenance can be a game changer in offering better patient care.
The list above lists some of the main software systems used in healthcare. This list is certainly not exhaustive as there is a great number of specialist healthcare software.