4 tips for developing software for the healthcare sector

4 tips for developing software for the healthcare sector

Developing software for the healthcare sector can be hard. Here are some tips you should follow in order to do it successfully.

It is no secret that each industry has its particular set of good practices, processes, and body of knowledge. With this in mind, it is not a big leap to think that some of these particularities permeate into the software that companies use to manage some processes in any of these industries.

4 tips for developing software for the healthcare sectorSuch thoughts are particularly true when producing a piece of software that can successfully tackle the needs of a healthcare organization. There is a myriad of aspects to take into account if one wishes to avoid the pitfalls that come with the development of a healthcare software solution.

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Read on to find out some tips for developing software for the healthcare sector:

1.    Add the ability to break the glass

Most enterprise applications need not consider that a particular application section could contain life-saving information.

When you are developing software for the healthcare sector, you need to keep in mind that, under certain circumstances, users should be allowed to access information they would regularly not be allowed to see.

This means your software must allow for a “break glass” procedure, which refers to a quick means for a person who does not have access privileges to certain information to obtain access when necessary.

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Systems containing primary source data (information) for treatment must develop, document, implement, and test break glass procedures that would be used in the event of an emergency requiring access to ePHI (Electronic Protected Health Information). These systems must have a clearly stated and widely understood procedure for allowing access via alternate and/or manual methods.

2.    Make your access control policy as granular as possible

4 tips for developing software for the healthcare sectorKeeping with the idea that access to information is critical, you should always make sure to have an access control policy that allows for very granular feature access.

It is commonplace that when developing software for the healthcare sector, the access should be granted at the screen or even field level.

3.    Have everything on record

Traceability is paramount. As much as your application should be flexible in terms of user permissions, it should be relentless in terms of having a record of any user action performed.

There are several options when we delve into the implementation:

  • Logging information into a database, an all-time favorite given that it makes for indexed records that are easy to navigate and filter.
  • Having log files that store every audit entry using a predefined format and that are stored in a place with the appropriate level of redundancy and only made accessible for administrators on a need-to-know basis.
  • Interfacing with a cloud-based solution like Amazon CloudWatch. This solution offers the obvious advantages of any cloud-based service but must be thoroughly analyzed in order to make sure your implementation maintains compliance with all the relevant regulatory aspects that are required.

When developing software for the healthcare sector, having a good audit trail is an important policy to adhere to if you want your product to meet HIPAA requirements and CCHIT certification for electronic medical records.

4.    Always monitor compliance

Audits are a fundamental tool when it comes to assessing if a certain activity is observing the approved methodology.

4 tips for developing software for the healthcare sectorIn the case of developing software for the healthcare sector, while there is no official certification that has the endorsement of the Department of Health and Human Services, it is important to develop some kind of process to make sure your product is keeping the level of compliance desired. This can come in the form of internal or external audits; the choice is yours.

To sum up

Developing software for the healthcare sector is a challenging activity given that it must support a business that is very heavily regulated. This is why choosing a technology partner with a proven record of accomplishment in providing solutions for the healthcare sector is critical.

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