Globally, the healthcare and medical technology industry sector is growing exponentially, set to reach an expected $600 billion by 2025. Driven by the adoption and use of new technologies healthcare spending in the US alone will reach the whopping US $ 5.7 trillion by 2025.

The smart hospital is an innovation in healthcare that seeks to disrupt service delivery based on connected devices and systems optimized for enhanced hospital performance. Thanks to rapid advancements in healthcare IT infrastructure, AI and Machine Learning, and increased penetration of connected devices in hospitals, there has been a surge in the demand for smart hospital solutions.

The smart hospital market was valued at USD 13.52 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 63.49 Billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 24.00%. Several factors though are hampering the adoption of software products and platforms by healthcare providers.

The chief constraint has been the high cost and the lack of competent skills in developing connected systems for healthcare. Specialized knowledge of governance and compliance standards used by hospitals is a major hurdle in designing healthcare systems. However, rising healthcare sector investments in emerging economies are expected to make the SaaS market even more lucrative in the future, which will undoubtedly spur domain learning and product innovation.

In this blog post, we look back and reflect on some of the most valuable lessons we learned during the journey we took to develop our products for a connected healthcare ecosystem.

Changing mindsets

The healthcare sector is moving to a completely different business model altogether. The development of software applications requires a new approach in line with the new era of healthcare solutions. By adopting the Smart Hospital concept, healthcare providers want to use digital and mobile technologies to deliver existing services. They are taking advantage of access to large amounts of data and combining it with cloud computing, AI/machine learning, big data analytics and the Internet of Things to make new service models possible.

Providers are thus embarking on a fresh “healthcare as a service” business model. Underlying the Smart Hospital concept is the ability to take data collected through numerous sources such as hospital operations, claims, Electronic health records, medical devices, etc., and be able to perform effective analytics on this treasure trove of information.

Making use of analytics allows providers to offer different service and pricing models optimized for the specific needs of healthcare professionals. To create products that will run the Smart Hospital of the future, a product team needs to understand this transformation in the service model taking place and embrace the new concepts.

Validating core features

It may seem obvious, but it’s vital to be absolutely certain the product you are developing is something providers will use and pay for. From the start, our focus has been on building a platform that not only delivers automated and optimized hospital processes for improved patient care – but also at a low cost and with a strong focus on delivering clinical value and usability.

We always focused on making sure that we have correctly identified the specific problems we are solving for healthcare providers and made sure those are the core features of our platform.

Talking the Users’ language

The aim of a connected healthcare system is to enable the provider to analyze and design the entire patient experience so that the patient is getting the proper, cost-effective level of care at the right time. In this scenario, provider workflows are also transformed, so that they are optimized for patient and workforce flexibility.

Great user experience is one which understands and speaks in the day to day language of healthcare professionals. Doctors and caregivers are busy professionals who want apps and services that can be used intuitively and seamlessly fit into their workflow. Wisely selecting use cases and performing user interviews gave us a unique outside perspective of the product in actual use.

We also spend a lot of time and effort to onboard new users really well. Building a strong onboarding experience helps healthcare providers benefit quickly after deciding on the product.

Security is not an afterthought

Data security and privacy are of paramount importance in healthcare and it is extremely critical for the healthcare products to consider these aspects in the product.

Protecting patient data requires appropriate controls on access, encryption, governance, and monitoring. Security design and performance are the issues which need to be given their due priority – right from the product design and development stage.

We ensured that we put appropriate safeguards in place when deploying the healthcare systems on the cloud. Security processes must scale up and remain robust as thousands of connected devices send data from external networks. Data life cycle management also requires diligent care because accurate data flowing into analytics is the source of everything the Smart Hospital and its services are built upon. The information collected by a healthcare provider is a permanent asset that must be properly stored and managed so as not to violate patient privacy and security.

Transforming Healthcare

A project to develop a healthcare SaaS solution is a complex one. Hospitals and doctors are in the high-pressure business of saving lives and split-second decisions often need to be taken and those significantly impact patient outcomes. Due to the inherent risks involved in healthcare, the industry has been slower than other sectors in investing in digital infrastructure and patient engagement technology.

No doubt technology has the potential to remove some of the guesswork involved in providing healthcare and make service delivery much more cost-effective. It can also enable exciting new innovations like remote healthcare and smart medical devices. Hospitals of the future will be built around clinical processes supported by digital infrastructure and intelligent systems.

Keeping a laser-sharp focus on enabling patient-centric smart processes is the key to building healthcare products that improve patient outcomes and lower costs.