The rise of information technology has delivered numerous benefits in various industries, including healthcare.
Health institutions and medical companies are now shifting their focus toward the application of IT through healthcare software systems.
Healthcare software refers to knowledge-based, decision-support IT programs that offer assistance, guidance, and feedback in the healthcare setting.
A number of hospitals are now switching to electronic health record (EHR) software as their primary repository of patient files. Nursing departments now utilize appointment scheduling software for better tracking and scheduling of shifts. Medical equipment management software is also being used to monitor patients in the ICU (intensive care units).
These are just some of the healthcare software types being utilized in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
What are the Main Types of Healthcare Software?
Healthcare software systems provide a spectrum of perks, from advancing health management to limiting medication errors in hospitals.
These applications of IT in healthcare are designed to improve health administration and at the same time, deliver a higher quality of patient care.
In this article, we will cover 10 healthcare software types that are currently used by medical industries.
- Electronic Health Record (EHR) Software
- Medical Diagnosis Software
- Imaging and Visualization
- Medical Database Software
- E-prescribing Software
- Appointment Scheduling
- Medical Equipment Management
- Hospital Management Software
- Medical Billing
- Medical Research
Electronic Health Record (EHR) Software
Electronic Health Record (EHR) system refers to the collection of patient data, including patient?s personal information, medical charts, and medications, in digital format, stored, and accessed by authorized users within a secure digital platform.
The main goal of the EHR software is to provide an efficient and secure system. Through this, patient care becomes integrated across different health care departments.
Perhaps the most common type of the EHR software is the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system, which includes information about the medication, procedures, and the general course of patient recovery. The EMR serves as a digital journal of a single hospital department.
Another type of EHR is the Electronic Patient Record (EPR), which is designed to store the patient?s clinical information from a specific hospital.
Other EHR types include computerized patient record, electronic health care record, personal health record, and clinical data repository.
Medical Diagnosis Software
The Medical Diagnosis Software enables the automated real-time exchange of information among different medical specialties. This perspective is holistic and this allows fast and reliable medical diagnosis of diseases in the hospital setting.
In this system, medical specialists enter information such as relevant concepts, findings, and possible disease process for each patient.
For example, a cardiologist will share his diagnosis of the patient based on cardiovascular manifestations. A nephrologist could simultaneously enter data and possible diagnosis based on the patient?s kidney findings. This system, therefore, fosters collaboration among different medical fields.
Examples of medical diagnosis software programs include a web-based expert system for nutrition diagnosis, multiagent system Generic Human Disease Ontology (GHDO), and Holonic Diagnosis System for e-Health applications.
Imaging and Visualization
Health information technology has enabled accurate visualizations of imaging techniques such as CT scan and MRI.
Medical software developers were also successful in designing programs that allow visualizations for surgical planning and telesurgery.
Such imaging and visualization software systems enable clinicians to evaluate the different body systems real-time and consequently, make accurate diagnoses.
Medical Database Software
Medical databases, similar to EHRs, enables physicians, nurses, and other health professionals to enter patients? data into a digital platform. Such data would include a patient?s medical history, medications, procedures, and a course in the wards.
Perhaps the primary difference between a medical database software and EHRs is that in medical databases, cases are classified according to disease diagnosis, such that there is a medical database specific for coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, pneumonia, and so on.
This medical software type allows clinicians to reference previous cases in making sound clinical decisions and in the purpose of medical research.
E-prescribing has long been used by various hospitals to increase efficiency in providing medications and limiting medication errors to improve patient safety.
This software type allows physicians to directly communicate to pharmacies for prescriptions.
Benefits of the e-prescribing software system include more efficient workflow, fewer medication errors, less time required to resolve errors, and improved record filing.
Online Appointment Scheduling System is currently utilized by hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities to maximize the efficiency of the staff and minimize the waiting time of patients.
In this system, patients register by logging-in to the online platform, wherein they are given an appointment number and schedule.
Through this, the patients do not line up at the hospital, which reduces crowding, improves the hospital atmosphere, and increases the work satisfaction levels of the staff.
Other features of the online appointment system include being able to check the doctor?s availability, canceling the appointment, and rescheduling the appointment.
Medical Equipment Management
Management of medical equipment through IT could benefit health facilities by increasing the quality and profitability of medical devices and equipment.
Medical equipment management software systems aim to track and monitor the functionality and maintenance of medical devices. Through this system, medical equipment downtime is reduced.
Features of this medical software type include equipment classification, preventive maintenance scheduling, and generation of repair requests.
Hospital Management Software
The growth of health information systems has given birth to Hospital Management Software, which aims to assist administrators in assessing the quality of service rendered by the hospital staff and in performing important tasks with regard to management.
Different software systems offer specific features that are essential in hospital administration.
For example, software programs could be integrated to monitor the workflow of medical professionals. Other programs are designed to assist in financial and administrative functions.
Through this type of healthcare software, hospital operations could be streamlined, administration and control are improved, patient care is enhanced, and profitability is maximized for the stockholders.
Another medical software type is the medical billing system. This software type is currently utilized in US hospitals to dispense and keep track of medical billing transactions.
Through the integration of the electronic billing system with EHR, billing records could be correlated and checked with the patient medical records. Transactions and medical procedures could be monitored and analyzed to prevent fraud and unnecessary treatments and procedures.
The advancement in healthcare software types also provides benefits in medical research development.
Digital platforms designed for medical research could be modified to serve several purposes.
Medical research software could be established as a repository of medical journals that may help clinicians in establishing relevant literature reviews.
Medical software systems could also be integrated with EHRs and this allows medical practitioners to reference patient files for medical research purposes.
These healthcare software types are valuable tools for improving the way health institutions manage and deliver healthcare.
By harnessing the power and potential of computational systems, data mining, and digital analyses, the application of IT in health holds a full spectrum of possibilities, all for enhancing health administration and patient outcomes.
With all these benefits and possibilities, now is the best time to take advantage of health information technology through the various types of healthcare software.