In the wake of COVID-19, most operations around most departments changed. Operations were abnormal, and we can all agree that the health sector was strained. There was a rise in using telehealth. Media was all over posting stories of people who were eagerly waiting in hospital queues, a huge number attended to within the corridors of the hospitals, and there were several cases of reported deaths while waiting to get a hospital bed or to be set on oxygen apparatus. Such news was sad to watch, and it was worldwide.
The healthcare system worldwide experienced a shocking hurdle or fall, or do we say collapsed? Critical care for patients faced numerous challenges and paused a threat to human life. No country was spared from the dangers of COVID-19. Several countries were adversely affected, reporting high numbers of deaths. As of 13 December 2023, there were already 772,386,069 confirmed cumulative COVID-19 cases, with 6,987,222 deaths reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). With the rise of the situation alongside other diseases facing many patients in different countries, many states and healthcare organizations saw the need to invest more in healthcare research and hospital management system projects. In this article, we share the details surrounding the development of a hospital management system to improve healthcare service delivery.
The Definition of Hospital Management System (HMS)
Doctors and medical practitioners would end up wasting patient’s time. We all agree that it is impossible to do away with all paperwork within the hospitals, but automating the systems and processes reduces the stress on medical staff or doctors. Computer-based systems are coming in handy in managing operations and processes. We are referring to such a system as a hospital management system.
Most of us have been sick and managed to visit the hospital in one way or the other. You probably had your own experience that differed from that of another person. There is a possibility you head to book an appointment in advance. You had to record your name and the nature of the problem, and you booked an appointment. And for that case, you shared personal information, including your name, physical address, contacts, phone number, and much more. Once you provide such information, where do you think the information is kept? That is where the hospital management system comes into play.
We define a hospital management system as a computer tool to help manage health care information. It involves the collection and storage of data on patients, medical staff, doctors, and hospital administrative data, allowing for retrieval and sharing of the data within a hospital in a secure way. Records can be efficiently processed with less to no paperwork and improve general patient care. It is a collection of applications and wonderful tools that allow nurses, labs, physicians, technicians, and other medical officers to access the appropriate data when needed. Other departments included here may include:
- Operation theater
- Pathology etc.
Why consider HMS for a hospital?
The hospital management system is a solution to manage all paperwork associated with patient data and confidentially share it within the departments. Everything is set in a central place, ensuring paperwork arrangement and analysis regarding patients is harmonized. The system has several functions, including:
- Maintenance of patient medical records
- Tracking all appointment dates
- Ensuring patient contact details are well-maintained
- Insurance information is captured in a database for later retrieval
- Bill payments can be tracked easily
The advantages of the HMS
The hospital management system has several advantages that many can harness. They include:
- Saving time is a great technology
- Reduces the high occurrences of error
- There is enhanced data security
- Retrieval of data becomes easy, and you get the correct patient data regarding their history
- You can easily manage all the operations, and it is cost-effective in the long run
- Supplies inventory can be closely monitored
- It makes policy compliance possible and enhances all the audit controls.
Benefits of Hospital Management Systems
HMS reduces the workload and costs
The well-being and the organization’s good care depend on how effectively resources are distributed. Optimal planning requires budgeting to be appropriate and workload managed in an efficient way. The software has robust capabilities to ensure appointments are in order and there is harmonized communication between the doctor and patient. The system tracks all patient, clinical, and finances data and saves all the transactions and records.
Patients enjoy improved hospital care
The HMS is scalable, consistent, and dependable, improving patient experience and general care. Once data is managed appropriately, healthcare issues like delays to emergency cases are avoided.
Once we have a system that manages the inventory, medical data, and lab results and significantly generates reports, it will improve the efficiency of the hospital. There is automatic data filtering, ensuring data is retrieved without wasting time. It quickens the operational procedures.
Healthcare mismanagement could result from human errors, and the system reduces such instances. The system solves the duplication issues, can avoid typos in the records, and improves data management to do away with other common errors.
HMS allows patients to reschedule or cancel appointments, and the same is updated on the doctor’s schedule in real-time. Doctors can automatically make changes to symptoms, medication, and the patient’s history, which happens in a real-time mode. Workflow is improved for both doctors and patients.
Hospital departments enjoy improved communication
The HMS ensures that there are few to no mistakes and that responses are not late. The needed data, like pharmacy inventory and analysis results, is stored for easy retrieval. The medical staff can securely and quickly access the data. There is improved cooperation between the various departments.
Customer experience is at the top
Once all departments work efficiently and have an improved workflow, the result is better patient service. It enhances people’s trust in the facility, and the reputation makes people trust the hospital more, thereby increasing the number of patients. Since HMS focuses more on the patient, the treatment procedure is less cumbersome and enjoyable. Happy clients will always refer more others to the hospital, leading to higher profits.
There is structured data that highlights the staff performance
The hospital administration can track staff performance using the HMS. They receive detailed reports regarding the services offered and the ones that generated more revenue, the profitable departments and those lagging in service delivery. Management can analyze the data, see the busy doctors, and devise mechanisms to balance the workload. They receive patient feedback and understand the areas to improve that can facilitate amazing patient experiences. Decision-making procedures become easy, leading to better financial management.
The Different Types of Hospital Management Systems
Before developing a hospital management system, you must understand and pick the appropriate type. Let’s see the different types that play key roles in automating tasks and improving the hospital workflow.
Operational and tactical type
Deals with ordering and classifying financial information pertaining to the patient, hospitalization reservation, and medical equipment data.
Administrative and clinical HMS
This type helps in managing how patients and doctors interact. Administrative provides patient information such as reports and statistics. This entails data entry for the patient during discharge, the medical assistance administered to the patient, and sharing the reports with the health department. The clinical system has electronic patient records (EPRs) extracted from the administrative system.
It stores Electronic Health Records or Electronic Medical Records. It involves collecting all patient information, including medical history, demographics, and present sickness history.
This type plays a key role in prioritizing and distributing tasks to hospital staff, depending on how busy the situation is. Certain activities, like preparing discharge reports or admissions, are given to a designated medical staff. Such a system can result in duplication, affecting your system’s speed. A subject undergoing multiple tasks may provide the same information every time they go for the different tasks.
Financial or Billing HMS
It monitors and manages all the medical billing and finances of the various departments in the hospital.
It is possible to combine multiple types to develop your HMS, depending on the hospital’s requirements. The aim is to solve user needs and efficiently meet all stipulated requirements.
Features of Hospital Management System
The HMS is structured in a way that 3 core components are visible:
- The Automation/Operational Modules. They apply to the clinic’s daily operations. May include:
- Doctors using EHRs and treatment plans
- Receptionists may use registration of patients and financial management
- Clinical laboratory interacting with the module for examinations and test results
- Knowledge base protocols and catalogs. It contains the medical protocols, patient healthcare data, and all process standards facilitating administration and service delivery.
- Analytical tools in terms of dashboards and reports. Such allows for analysis of how efficient the medical services are and generates insights into where there needs to be improvement.
The key components of the HMS are:
The system must provide a robust way of collecting and registering patient information. Such could be personal and family historical health data to help doctors develop personalized treatment.
It automates the choice of services and calculates the appropriate payments associated with the selected services. Allows for tracking of prepayments, any pending dents and generates or prints financial statements.
Each doctor has a customized platform to schedule a patient visit, and notifications get to the doctor/patient regarding any cancelation, rescheduling, or available new slots. All patient visits to a certain doctor are stored here.
Stores and maintains all test result records.
Stores and tracks all materials, manages the stock within the warehouse, and determines when the next batch should be delivered. It also keeps an eye on the expiration of medicines.
Data reports and statistics
Statistical reports concerning budgets, doctors, patients, and others can be created. Such reports are very important in mitigating risk and improving service delivery.
The helpdesk comes in handy to ensure seamless integration of the operations. The helpdesk serves both doctors and patients.
What are the Software Requirements?
- The software should be user-friendly to facilitate easy understanding by employees.
- It should have a robust and friendly UX/UI. It should be intuitive, convenient, and informative to ensure no data input errors.
- It should allow for role-based access to ensure each user has access under defined roles and levels of authority. This is also a good way to enhance security.
- Data security should be a top-most consideration, especially compliance with HIPAA and protocols like GDPR.
- The system should be scalable, allowing adding more functions when needed.
Also read: GDPR and HIPAA Compliance
Process for hospital management system development
The following steps are important when you want to build your HMS effectively.
Step 1: Carry out a market research
Check the market to determine whether your idea is attractive and profitable as it solves users’ current needs. Carefully study your niche, competition, and your strong points. Market research allows you to:
- Determine common challenges related to patient care, billing, administration, communication, or general management of information systems.
- Understand user needs clearly by reading industry reports, participating in professional forums, and carrying out surveys and interviews.
- Analyzing competitors and knowing their strong and weak areas.
Step 2: Watch out for development challenges
In your planning phase, consider the following challenges:
- HIPAA compliance requires implementation of privacy measures and strict data security to ensure patient data is protected
- Data integration in terms of standardization is complex.
- The software needs to be intuitive to ease user adoption and usability
- The challenge of including the clinical decision support (CDS) tool
- Scalability should be a factor for facilitating growth when data volume and demands increase.
Step 3: Select the appropriate HMS type
We already explained the different types of HMS. Depending on the functionalities and facility requirements, you can choose one or multiple types. The types include administrative systems, operational & tactical, task-based, subject-based, and financial systems.
Step 4: Choose the required features or functionality
Prioritize the important functionalities which will form the core modules of the system. The key features may include:
- Patient Registration
- Electronic health records
- Appointment and scheduling
- Billing & financial modules
- Doctor profiles
- Inventory control
- Lab management
- Pharmacy control
- Reports and statistics
- Insurance services integration
Step 5: Create the design
Make sure the UI/UX design is intuitive and friendly.
- You must understand the healthcare industry and how it performs. This means knowing how patients access healthcare and how medical facilities deliver it.
- The design should also align with the user’s environment, factoring in the size of the facility.
- There should be reduced distractions, avoiding any redundancies and cumbersome functionalities.
Step 6: Describe how you will approach your development
You can choose ready-made software or hire a custom software development company. If you have restrictions in terms of time and finances, you can opt for a ready-made solution. However, costs could increase with increasing users, and may lack some of the functionalities you need.
Go for a dedicated development team to craft your solution, ensuring it is scalable and customizable. As the business grows, you can easily add new features and functions.
Step 7: Build the MVP
Start to build MVP (minimum viable product). It is a way of testing the feasibility, effectiveness, and safety of the solution before you fully release it to the general market. Analyze user feedback, which will increase the value of your final product and ensure patients’ lives are saved.
Step 8: Launching a fully-fledged solution
After MVP is ready, you can launch the product to the general market. Users start interacting with the software, and you can get feedback from the adopters regarding observations, comments, or insights to help you improve. You can always implement the changes and test them out.
The current world calls for digitization, and HMS is a way of improving healthcare. It helps boost productivity, reduce workload, ensure a seamless workflow, reduce burn-outs, and help clients have a happy experience. Come and let us build you a functional HMS to improve your medical facility’s productivity or service delivery.
Want to build a Hospital Management System? Connect with our Healthcare Software Development Company – Aalpha information Systems!