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Is Low-Code Development in Healthcare Sector as Good As It Sounds?

Nowadays, healthcare needs to be agile and seeks for solutions that ensure faster delivery and processes based on specific needs. Amid skyrocketed demand for digitalization, healthcare providers turn attention to low-code development. Is the latter as good for medical services as it sounds? Let’s have a look

What is low-code?

Low-code development constitutes a visual approach to software development where a graphical user interface is used instead of conventional computer coding. Low-code development platforms don’t require the knowledge of complex programming languages. You can just employ building blocks into mobile and business applications without a need to code them by hand. It follows that even non-programmers are able to contribute to accelerated delivery of customized business software. What is also so luring about low-code development technologies is that they enable costs and talent savings. In other words, low-code development platforms attribute their outstanding success to the following:

  • Rapid apps development with the resources available at the very particular moment
  • A wide array of tailored solutions without making heavy expenditures
  • Empowering non-technical teams who implement specific work to build respective apps.

In the light of this, it’s worth mentioning that low-code solutions cover a variety of industries – from banking and finance to education and e-commerce. Gartner predicts that the global low-code software market will continue to grow totaling to $13.8 billion in 2021.

Is healthcare on the low-code bandwagon?

Yes, healthcare is also following the trend.

Thus, a top 10 US healthcare provider built a low-code application for their doctors to manage the patient intake of a new drug and clinical trials thereof in just 24 hours. The app was then deployed to thousands of medical professionals and facilities.

Saga Healthcare, a UK home care services provider, aimed to develop an app for home medical care service. Initially, they got an estimate of £12 million and 3 years for development that resulted in pro-active deployment of low-code technologies.

“We wanted a bleeding-edge technology that would create competitive advantages for Saga”, says John Cahill, Director of Operations of the service provider. According to Saga, low-code tools also enabled them to leverage their own IT expertise and concentrate digitalization in their own pair of hands.

Kermit PPI, US-based healthcare analytics provider, opted for low-code development while building an app that digitalizes invoicing and billing management for implantable medical devices. The app was developed by 1 developer in 9 months.

 “I was a medical device rep, and I saw the disparities that do exist from one hospital to the next for the prices that are being paid for the exact same items”, said John Owens, Kermit’s cofounder. The deployment of the app allows hospitals to have a 30% savings on implantable medical devices costs.

Summing it all up, low-code platforms in healthcare address the challenges of both administrative management and treatment and strengthen the sustainability of healthcare providers in this way.

Faster time to market, reduced costs, customized solutions are what makes low-code apps stand out. However, nothing is perfect. There can be some challenges associated with low-code software. It may lead to vendor lock-in as you won’t be able to switch platforms without incurring additional costs. Secondly, the number of functions that can be implemented with low-code platforms is reduced and probably, hand coding will be needed to improve software functionality. Thirdly, in the healthcare industry, privacy and security are always an issue. Using low-code, you can’t manage access to source code and fix any possible flaws. And a low-code app for healthcare should ensure a secure and HIPAA compliant environment. Respectively, it’s important to make sure you are aware of security and encryption functions of the low-code platform you leverage.

Conclusion

Low-code technologies implement business ideas for healthcare from concept to commercialization in a short time frame and with good cost savings. At the same time, when it comes to challenges of low-code development, you should not ignore them. The happy medium would be to adequately assess the purposes for which low-code and/or traditional software development could contribute to healthcare most of all.

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