Healthcare has been one of the few fields where tech startups and SaaS solutions haven’t made much of a headway. While there are a few healthcare software or SaaS solutions in the market like Medicoin and Dentamatch, it has not been dug deep into and explored as most other fields have been.
The reason for this is obvious – hesitation to adopt technology in this field.
All over the world, we still have more belief in physically visiting clinics, consulting doctors face-to-face, and taking opinions. In the recent past, people have been wary of using apps for healthcare, even if they use them for every other thing possible.
But 2020 has changed the game for healthcare startups.
Thousands of people had to take medical advice virtually, fathers were not allowed for births in many US states and you couldn’t have any family support by your side even if you went in for major surgeries for fear of infection.
In fear of COVID 19 infection, patients with comorbidities preferred to stay back and take virtual health advice, but virtual consultation is still lacking in many aspects.
This led to several people, including both investors and customers, looking for automated and interoperable healthcare software solutions. And with demand and resources both available, we are seeing a host of startups gunning to create path-breaking technologies for healthcare.
But will this be an easy task?
In this article, we will be looking to traverse through the complexities of running a healthcare SaaS startup. From discussing the need for a growth spurt in the number of healthcare tech startups to why building SaaS application might be the best bet for healthcare software and a detailed guide to the factors you must consider if you are thinking of headlining a healthcare SaaS startup, we have a lot of important details lined up for you to ponder over.
Let’s head straight into the article!
What Is a SaaS Solution?
The SaaS (Software as a Service) business model has turned out to be one of the most preferable options for startups in recent years. A SaaS company makes good use of cloud technology to create a network of servers and databases that can be accessed via the internet through any device.
Why Do Healthcare Tech Startups Prefer Using The SaaS Business Model?
- Cuts the budget on both sides– From the company perspective, not much investment is needed for infrastructure as all the work takes place over the internet. For the customer, there is no need for hardware purchase and they can only pay the SaaS subscription for the amount of service they needed over the months, so no one-time investment. On top of that, customers can send their medical records to several specialists with the SaaS without spending a penny!
- Scalability and Integration– The SaaS model allows for easy integration and scalability. You needn’t buy server software and waste your resources. Rather, when you feel the need to expand, you can simply push for more server capacity. Healthcare SaaS companies will also allow for easy integration of insurance companies in the mix to make the treatment more affordable.
- Upgrades– The SaaS model makes upgrades a piece of cake for the customer! There is simply nothing for them to do. The minute a new release comes out, it is automatically available for the customers at no extra cost. This is a far throw from the traditional model, which forced customers to upgrade or lose out on services.
What Pointers Must You Keep in Mind For Launching a Healthcare SaaS Startup?
1. Is SaaS the best business model for your idea?
2. Have you identified all functional and non-functional scenarios based on risk-based testing?
3. Do you have the budget and infrastructure for housing and honing a strong development team, an experienced quality assurance team, and 24/7 tech support?
If you have checked all three boxes, then yes, you can start planning the execution without delay!
Have You Decided on Your User Stories?
The very first step to creating software is finalizing what we call user stories in tech companies – the various functionalities customers can hope to achieve through your application. A healthcare tech startup must have these minimum user stories. User should be able to:
- Create an account and log in securely.
- Share private medical records or electronic health records (EHR) safely.
- Book appointments and admission in clinics via the software.
- Order different services like vaccination or blood tests.
- Use the mobile app for the above features.
What are Your Goals and Quality Attributes?
To run a successful application in a field as universal as healthcare, you need to keep your top five goals in mind:
Have You Settled on Sustainable and User-friendly Architecture?
The ultimate aim of any Telehealth service is to make sure the application is user-friendly, budget-friendly, and delivers quality healthcare. Customers should feel at ease while using the platform and should trust the clinicians involved in their treatment completely.
Thus, before crafting the architecture, we need to be clear about two factors that can make or break your Healthcare SaaS platform-
1. Clinical Decision Service (CDS)
2. Electronic Health Records (EHR)
The architecture has to completely revolve around secure sharing of EHR and CDS.
The must-haves of a healthcare SaaS platform are:
- Operational Support Services
- Business Support Services
- Consumer Service Portal
- Provider Service Portal
- Development Service Portal
- Cross-platform framework for cloud operations
Now that you know your model, functionality, and architecture you want, you have to go ahead and do the daunting, yet crucial task of drawing up a budget.
How do You Create a Budget and Cost-effective Plan for Your Healthcare Startup?
To create a budget for your healthcare SaaS, you need to take into consideration the functionalities you wish to provide, the SaaS provider you will look to subscribe to and the development and technical support teams you will need.
How Long does It Take to Successfully Deploy a Healthcare SaaS?
Building the EHR (Electronic Healthcare Record) sharing app takes roughly 6-8 weeks.
This app should be in keeping with the following conditions:
- Secure data transfer via cloud technology
- Compatibility with different browsers and operating systems
Chalking out the automation of the medical workflow (Appointment with a doctor, tests, diagnosis, and treatment) takes around 4 weeks completely, including development, risk-based testing, and user acceptance testing.
Finalizing the medical insurance and cashless payment method takes a long time, considering the complicated nature of the job – around 4 months.
Interaction between the service provider (nurse/midwife/doctor) and the patient. This will require a certain amount of credibility from the application and trust from the customer. Hence, the UI game needs to be strong to facilitate simple and transparent dealings between doctor and patient. This takes up another 8-10 weeks.
Another critical step – integration with different healthcare devices. Considering that monitoring health parameters and relaying them to providers should be a major functionality of all healthcare SaaS apps, this should be done with utmost care and by your top developers. This step will take another 8 weeks.
Creation of the mobile application – since our phones are always on us and healthcare can quite often be an emergency, healthcare tech companies must have a robust mobile app. This final step to building your healthcare tech startup takes up 6 weeks again.
What are the Challenges Faced by Healthcare SaaS Companies?
- Data Security– The No 1 concern about healthcare software. Millions of questions run through customers’ minds when they are uploading their private medical records to an app –
- Trust between company and cloud provider– The SaaS provider hosting the database and server in the cloud will have to vouch for the safety and suitability of their solution. Without transparency between the startup and the SaaS provider, the venture will not be successful.
Is my data safe?
Is it likely to be shared with undesirable entities?
Thus, a primary responsibility of the healthcare SaaS startup will be to ensure end-to-end protection of the data.
What are the Top Trends in Healthcare SaaS Now?
1. Artificial Intelligence
Not surprisingly at all, AI is leading the list as the trend that can revolutionize healthcare software in ways we hadn’t even imagined before. With data from so many tests and patients, AI programs can make accurate diagnosis and even suggest required paths of treatment.
AI also gets brownie points for data security – its power to intercept patterns makes sure data loss or leakage is caught swiftly and data recovery is quick.
2. Multiple Cloud Providers
Hosting the servers and databases on multiple clouds serves the application with two prime benefits:
More storage space
Easy data recovery
Google’s multiple cloud adoption is the reason they can store tons of data and that too, securely.
3. Data Security
The primary reason for the lack of trust in healthcare apps or EHR sharing apps is the issue of data security. In the COVID aftermath, if a few healthcare tech companies can resolve the issue even to a certain extent, then the floodgates will be opened for more of such apps.
Since one of the primary reasons people would choose to subscribe to a healthcare app is to avoid the exorbitant cost of physical visits, startups need to make sure their services are as cost-effective as possible.
But does that mean you need to lose money to help your customers?
To make sure the startups are not bleeding themselves dry trying to provide the best facilities at the least cost, SaaS providers have come up with a pay-per-use model. For beginners, this is a golden opportunity to build their dream companies with minimum investment.
5. Edge Computing
Edge computing is all about storing data in machines that will use the data – so that data is always on hand for use.
With the help of edge computing, you can:
This article was a short guide to building a healthcare SaaS startup, maintaining it, and providing quality care to customers. The venture of launching a healthcare tech startup can be intimidating and time-consuming and hence, the very first step you should take is to get in touch with Radixweb for discussing healthcare software solutions, their use in EHR apps, and exactly what may suit your needs best.
Get in touch with us for more information!