According to Forbes experts, approximately 25% of IT projects fail. In 22% of cases, they do not pay off, and about 50% of the projects that have already been launched need serious reworking. The situation in the healthcare industry is similar. Healthcare software development projects may fail if they are delayed, exceed budget, fall short of the goal, or result in poor software. Let’s consider the main reasons for that.
Reason 1. Unclear requirements
Gathering requirements for us home care software is the starting point in healthcare software development. Clear instructions for an application will help to define the functionality of the system. The requirements ensure that the customer and the development team understand each other and equally conceive the future app. Going by such a document will allow the team to plan the project work, prioritize tasks, and implement the necessary functionality.
Unclear and inconsistent requirements will result in poor healthcare software. Subsequently, the developers will have to either fix bugs or customize the functions upon request. Such situations hinder software development and provoke budget overruns.
To make a project successful, it is necessary to consider the requirements for the product thoroughly. It is important to research the medical applications market, find out user preferences, define a set of functions and specify requirements for the software product. If an organization cannot do the preparatory work on its own, an IT partner helps with it during the discovery phase of the project.
Reason 2. Unrealistic customer expectations
Customers do not have the technical skills and knowledge to understand how the development proceeds, or how much time and effort it takes. First and foremost, a business should be profitable. It means that one should quickly develop an efficient project and bring it to the market with minimal implementation costs.
This trick doesn’t always work with medical applications. If an application contains much confidential patient information, performs the billing function, and is integrated with other clinical systems, working in a rush can result in serious problems.
The “expectations vs. reality” balance is established during the discovery phase. A healthcare software development team discusses an upcoming project with a customer. They get acquainted with the requirements, set goals, and appoint specialists. It is also important to explain to the customer how much time and money it will take to implement the project and whether there are alternative options.
Reason 3. Poor team communication
A healthy work environment, where each participant does not hesitate to share knowledge and ask colleagues for advice, helps to quickly solve any project problems. It is important for developers to seamlessly communicate with customer representatives and experts in the field of medicine.
The developers understand the technical specifications of the project, but they will need information on patient care, application procedures for insurance payments, or peculiarities of work in medical institutions. The faster the team receives the necessary expert information, the sooner it will implement the required functionality.
The customer organization, for its part, appoints a team of experts and managers who will advise the IT partner on healthcare software development. One should also plan regular meetings to discuss problems with the team and evaluate the progress of the project work.
Reason 4. Ignoring the interests of the target audience
Even the most innovative medical project will fail if it doesn’t take into account the interests of end-users, namely, patients, doctors, and nurses. If an application doesn’t solve the problems of the target audience (marketing research will help to define them), it will not bring the intended benefits and will not pay off. The platform may affect the productivity of work, but not to the extent expected by the management.
To create an up-to-date working application that will solve the problems of the target audience, it is necessary to learn user requirements. An MVP (a minimum viable project) will help to test it on the market. This basic version of custom medical software performs critical functions. Such a program can be released to the market or introduced in the work of the organization. Users “test” the product and notify what functions should be added to make the application more convenient. Thus, software gradually acquires the necessary functionality, and the business does not spend money on extra “bells and whistles”.
Reason 5. Lack of flexibility
Detailed project planning should not shackle the team. Otherwise, developers won’t be able to respond to changing business requirements and user demands promptly. As a result, an outdated project will appear on the market, but it won’t be of any interest.
If you plan healthcare software development, it is worth considering possible changes in the project. To quickly respond to changing demands, companies practice agile development methodologies. When going agile, developers focus on documentation, however, it does not limit their work. When circumstances change and certain unplanned features become valuable, specialists are ready to add them to the product.
Reason 6. Poor testing
When a development team is limited in time, they hurry to develop the necessary functionality leaving little time for testing. As a result, tests are hasty and inaccurate. A product full of errors enters the market, and bugs are not always immediately visible. Customers gradually detect them and signal the problems to the software owner.
User testing helps to avoid unpleasant situations. A group of end-users “tests” the system. They interact with the product according to a UAT scenario and write down comments on the application performance. The developers fix the problems and launch the medical application.
Reason 7. Unprofessional developers
Not every developer can create complex custom medical software. Such a project requires specialists with experience in healthcare software development, knowledge of industry legislation (HIPAA, GDPR), and data analysis tools. Industry-specific skills of an IT partner are necessary to quickly understand the essence of the project, create high-quality software, and integrate it with the institution’s old corporate systems.
Before starting a medical project, it is important to carefully study the list of candidates for healthcare software development. They may be sorted by important parameters such as experience, tech stack, portfolio, availability of the right specialists, and so on. Thus, you may choose an IT partner suitable in terms of the price-quality ratio. Such a company will comply with the requirements for application development and ensure the protection of confidential patient data.
Reason 8. Lack of efficient employee training
Sometimes, managers obsessed with the idea of implementing new technologies forget about future users. They introduce new software without preparing the staff for the changes. As a result, employees go a long and difficult way, full of errors, before they become familiar with the application. Medical workers must not make mistakes because it can cost patients health or even life.
Otherwise, employees will refuse to use complex software, as it happened at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The management obliged the medical staff to master the new CPOE in a day under the threat of canceling appointments. But the employees perceived it as an impossible task and voted against the new system. As a result, the medical center had to make concessions and cancel the application implementation which cost $34 million.
It is important to train employees to work with a new program, especially if its structure and instruction manual are complex. Users should get familiar with the application well in advance of the product launch.
Healthcare software development is labor-consuming and almost impossible to plan and carry out perfectly. Unforeseen circumstances may negatively affect the course of development. The main thing is to respond to any problems quickly and thus solve them before the medical project ends in failure.
Therefore, it is important to find a reliable IT company responsible for healthcare software development and risk management. As a result, high-quality up-to-date software solutions will meet the requirements of the target audience and improve the company’s business processes.