The ever-increasing patient expectations, the emergence of innovative technologies, and tough competition amongst healthcare service providers have fuelled up the need for healthcare digitalization. And, the rapid adoption of smart medical equipment and software solutions by medical facilities has given rise to the trend of hiring healthcare app developers.
However, hiring developers for tailoring a suitable app/solution for your medical practice is not as easy as it sounds. While the right solution created by skilled developers can bring a lot to the table and boost your ROI; the wrong development methodology or a single developmental error can lead to huge disappointments, costly rework, and heavy losses. Hence, you need to choose your healthcare app development team with care.
This post provides you with all-inclusive guidance on hiring the right set of developers for your upcoming healthcare app development project.
Healthcare App Development Strategy: In-house Team or Freelancers or Outsourcing Agency?
If you plan to engage an in-house team of developers to build your healthcare software system, coordination will be outstanding. But you will face issues like high infrastructure & administrative costs, a limited talent pool, and loads of time and effort on team management.
Hiring freelancers may be the cheapest and most convenient option as it rules out any hiring hassles. Nevertheless, freelance developers are not so reliable and are likely to back out of the project mid-way, leaving you in deep waters.
Outsourcing software developers or development companies is the most popular and profitable approach as it comes with countless benefits. This approach allows you to choose from a wide range of talented healthcare app developers from across the globe, flexible hiring models like the pay-as-you-go option, more experienced teams, end-to-end product development cycles, and many more. Moreover, the Healthcare provider can entrust the IT development responsibility to partner firms and focus on their core industrial operations. Here, you get an entire development team or independent developers depending on your requirement.
This approach too has minor downsides like communication woes, time differences, and language barriers. But these issues can be easily avoided if you pick an experienced healthcare app development company with a good track record, maintain transparent communication throughout the development process, and enter into contractual agreements beforehand.
Hiring Healthcare App developers: Generic Factors to Consider
Check the credentials, previous work history, and client feedback of the outsourcing vendor agency or healthcare app developers you have shortlisted. This can be done by visiting the software company’s website and checking their offerings, case studies, client reviews, etc.
Renowned online business listing platforms like Clutch, GoodFirms, etc. can also provide you with important information about the expertise of a healthcare app development vendor agency. These platforms display the profiles of numerous software companies mentioning their niche, client testimonials, awards and recognitions, project references, etc. Online platforms like Upwork provide information on thousands of skilled freelance developers and agencies around the globe.
Technical Expertise Validation
Extensive experience, innovative ability, talent, expertise, and the right skills as per your requirements, are the necessary prerequisites to look for in healthcare developers. You can prepare a questionnaire for validating their technical skills.
Agreement on SDLC and Signing of NDA
If you are hiring outsourced assistance, clarification on the SDLC and signing an NDA is essential during the project discussion stage.
You need to clarify which SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) model will be used, the experience & expertise of developers who will be allocated to your project, and the tentative turnaround time for each stage of the SLDC. Usually, an agile development methodology is preferred over other models as it has turned out to be the most productive strategy around the world so far.
Signing service level agreements like an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), with the healthcare app development company or developers to whom you are outsourcing the project, is mandatory as per the HIPAA guidelines. An NDA is also crucial as this contract seals and legalizes the partnership agreement. You must also discuss and agree upon certain factors like payment timelines, the token amount, and payment terms and conditions prior to the commencement of the project.
Must-have Skillsets to promote Healthcare Interoperability
Semantic vocabularies are necessary to maintain the syntactic standards needed for seamlessly interpreting clinical data, and so, healthcare app developers must have some prior experience in working with the commonly used semantic vocabularies including LONIC, ICD9/10, SNOMED-CT, and RxNorm.
Interoperability between various apps, systems, and devices is a crucial prerequisite to regulating clinical workflow in the healthcare environment. And, interoperability can be successfully achieved by integrating frameworks in the right manner. Hence, healthcare app developers must be well versed in the frequently used medical frameworks such as Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and HITSP (Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel).
Developers must also possess knowledge of the popular interoperability standards adopted in the realm of Healthcare technology. The most popular interoperability standard is the level- 7 2. X; other notable ones include HL7 v3CDA, ANSIX12n5010, DICOM, and NCPDP SCRIPT.
Necessary Technical Knowledge and Skills
Large-scale healthcare services often need to partner with third-party providers and utilize their solution platform to efficiently manage their entire workflow. The most commonly used third-party integrations include in-app chat, payment APIs, in-app calling, etc. If these integrations are not executed properly during mobile app development, the app’s UX gets adversely affected. As such, the healthcare app developers whom you pick for tailoring an app or solution must be thorough with third-party integration standards like SOAP, HL7 FHIR, and REST framework.
API Development Capabilities
Most healthcare app projects involve API development. API components need to be added for authenticating a device to gain access to the central patients’ repository.
So, the healthcare app developers must possess sound knowledge of commonly used SQL databases such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, etc., and NoSQL databases such as Apache Cassandra, MongoDB, etc. Developers must have expertise in developing the RESTful API, REST (Representational State Transfer) being the standard development practice. The development team should be able to build effective API endpoints and create highly workable rules for API requests and API responses. Programmers also need to know the standard practices used for ensuring API security like encryption, the usage of safe API gateways, etc.
Healthcare app developers must have the necessary expertise in working with modern technologies. The most relevant technologies employed for building a healthcare app are IoT, Blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence.
IoT automates the workflow of a healthcare facility, enables remote health tracking, improves interoperability, and facilitates medical data exchange. It also drives the functioning of smart devices like wearables that are an integral part of telehealth apps and remote patient monitoring.
AI has entered the healthcare industry as machine learning algorithms are increasingly being used for ushering in advanced automation and improving the efficiency and accuracy of healthcare functioning. Blockchain technology ensures security while health record sharing helps research scholars in genetic coding, and improves the efficiency of medicine supply management.
Essential Soft Skills for Healthcare App developers
1. Revenue Cycle Workflow
Healthcare app developers have to provide a clear picture to their clients on the working of the revenue cycle workflow. So, developers must have extensive knowledge about how the elements in a healthcare organization’s revenue cycle workflow function. These elements include payment models, billing schedules, denials workflows, etc.
2. Capability to guide the Client in Planning Productive Strategies
The development team is expected to guide the client through the planning process. For this reason, the professionals should possess sound interpersonal skills like being able to comprehend dependencies, interoperability requirements, etc., and strong communication skills to convey those requirements effectively.
Recommendation on implementing effective app monetization strategies is of utmost importance as this will add value to your investment. Developers should be able to suggest the most reliable and productive monetizing strategies for optimum benefits.
3. Awareness of Healthcare App Security Standards and Regulatory Compliances
The privacy and security of data are of utmost importance as the healthcare industry processes sensitive patient data and medical information. Therefore, security measures need to be adopted during the software development process itself. So, the developers must be aware of secure coding practices and the latest data encryption tools like next-generation firewalls, antivirus, etc. The other standard practices that developers need to know are implementing multi-factor authentication along with password protection, adopting measures to eliminate security threats like broken authentication, injection, etc., and incorporating “Compliance-as-Code” for conducting security and compliance testing in the CD/CI pipeline.
Furthermore, healthcare apps and solutions need to comply with several standard regulations like HIPAA, etc. mandated by the US government and other regulatory authorities. Developers must be well versed in these standard regulations so that they are able to effectively implement these during app building.
The aforesaid practices are winning strategies for hiring Healthcare app developers. You need to team up with the right software development firm that will deliver your project timely without compromising on the product quality, identify issues instantly, and resolve bugs at once. Also, look for developers who have the necessary knowledge, understanding, technical expertise, and experience as per your project needs.
So, it is advisable to pick an IT agency that will take care of the entire healthcare app product lifecycle starting from app ideation to maintenance post-deployment.