A Comprehensive Guide To Developing Custom Medical Software

medical software coding through glasses
Written By


Published On

August 1, 2023


Entering the world of custom medical software development can be intimidating. But don’t worry! With a roadmap and the right remote development team, it's a navigable path. Let’s walk through what’s involved in getting a new medical software from idea to market, and a secret weapon to help you get there faster.


Step 1: Consumer Research

Your journey starts with understanding your audience. Consumer research is all about understanding your end user. You need to understand their needs, their pains, and create an intelligent medical software to solve the problems they face. When developing medical software, this means talking to healthcare professionals, administrators, and patients.

So what are you trying to identify through all  of this research?

  1. Identifying the Target Audience: Who will use the software? Is it for doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, or patients? You need to understand your target audience before you can move forward because everything else depends on who you’re making your product for.
  2. Understanding Needs and Pain Points: Once you know your audience, you'll need to understand their needs. What problems do they face that your software could solve? Are they seeking a way to streamline administrative tasks, improve patient outcomes, or maybe both? Answering these questions by talking to your target audience will help guide you when creating a solution.
  3. Competitive Analysis: Look at other software that targets the same audience. What features do they offer? Where do they excel, and where can you do better? Learning from competitors can provide useful insights to be incorporated into your own software.
  4. Regulatory Requirements: Medical software must comply with numerous regulations, such as HIPAA or GDPR. Your software should not only meet these requirements but ideally, it should also simplify compliance for the end-users.
  5. Defining Software Requirements: Using the insights gained from the above steps, define the specific functions, performance standards, security requirements, and other specifications your software must meet. This will guide the design and development stages.
  6. Continued Engagement: Consumer research isn't a one-and-done task. Regular engagement with potential end-users throughout the software development process can provide continuous feedback, ensuring your software remains aligned with user needs and expectations.

Conducting thorough and thoughtful consumer research can be annoying and tedious, but it is essential for creating software that truly meets the needs of its users. 

Just remember, the idea is not just to build software but to solve a problem and ultimately improve patient care. 


Developing Custom Medical Software

The development of custom medical software is a meticulous process that demands both technical and medical expertise. Here’s a closer look at how this process works:

  1. Requirements Gathering: The first step in developing your medical software is to define the exact requirements of your project. These requirements should be based on the needs and pain points you identified during your consumer research. It is not just about what your software does. You also need to know what standards for performance and security it will need to meet.
  2. Design: The design phase involves creating a the user interface for your software. It needs to be intuitive, user-friendly, and compliant with medical standards. Remember, your software will likely be used by medical professionals who do not have time to figure out complicated interfaces. Allow for user testing and feedback before actual development begins. For professional software such as this, it’s about form over function. You don’t need to make the most beautiful UX as long as it’s easy to understand and functional.
  3. Development: The development phase is where your idea starts coming to life. Your development team will begin coding the software based on the previously defined requirements and design. Given the complexity of medical software, adopting a methodology like Agile can be beneficial. Agile development encourages regular reassessment of the project, allowing for real-time adjustments and making sure the final product matches the evolving needs of the end-users.
  4. Testing: Medical software has zero room for error; the stakes are too high. That’s why software undergoes multiple forms of testing to ensure it is free from bugs, secure, and performs optimally under various conditions. This includes making sure the software works as intended, and does so while maintaining compliance standards.
  5. Deployment: After rigorous testing and any necessary tweaks, it's time to deploy your software. This could mean launching your product into the market, or it could involve a phased roll-out, where your software is introduced to a limited audience for further real-world testing before a full launch. 
  6. Maintenance and Updates: Deployment is not the end of your journey. To remain useful and competitive, your software will need regular updates and maintenance. This might mean adding new features, improving existing ones, or adjusting to changes in regulations. Creating medical software isn’t a one-time ordeal, it’s about making sure that your product continues to meet the changing needs of it users.

Ideally you’ll have members of your team that specialize in each stage of the development process. For smaller teams this can be challenging because each stage requires a specific set of skills to be executed properly.


Cost, Timeline, and Maintenance - Things To Consider

Let's explore the typical costs, timeline, and maintenance process for custom medical software development, and how a remote team like TalentCrowd fits into the picture.


Cost and Timeline

The cost and timeline for medical software development can vary greatly depending on a few key factors:

  1. Scope and Complexity: How big and how complicated is this project going to be? Obviously, a larger scale and more complex software will cost more to develop. For instance, a simple patient management system will cheaper and easier to develop than a comprehensive electronic health record system with AI diagnostics.
  2. Regulatory Compliance: Medical software needs to comply with various regulations like HIPAA in the US. Regulatory compliance always adds to the complexity of medical software projects making them more expensive than some other softwares.
  3. Technology and Infrastructure: The technology stack used and the infrastructure needed also affect the cost. Cloud-based software naturally has different costs associated with it than an on-premise system.

A custom medical software project will typically range anywhere from $100,000-$500,000 or more, and takes anywhere from 6 months to a year. Remember, these are rough estimates and actual costs and timelines will vary.


Software Maintenance

Even after the software is built, it will need updates. Regular software maintenance is critical for updating the software, fixing bugs, and making sure it continues to comply with changing regulations. It’s typical to spend about 15-20% of the initial development cost on maintenance every year.


Joke Break

Why did the doctor recommend the developer get a flea shot?

Because he wouldn’t stop talking about all the bugs he had to deal with at work!


Ensuring Compliance in Medical Software Development 

As we've already discussed, developing custom medical software involves juggling many factors. Still, perhaps one of the most critical elements is ensuring compliance with health and data privacy regulations. The stakes are high when handling sensitive patient data, and any mishaps could lead to serious legal implications.

For US companies, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, more commonly known as HIPPA regulations, is the main contributor to the security of patient health information. These regulations are important to personal information protected but failure to comply can lead to heavy fines and damage to your reputation. That’s why it's crucial to have a team that understands and prioritizes these compliance requirements.


Why Onshore Developers Are Key to Compliance

When it comes to compliance, having onshore developers offer a significant advantage over offshore options. Developers based in the same country as your business are more likely to have a deep understanding of the local regulatory environment. They've trained and worked within this legal framework, making them better equipped to ensure that your software meets all necessary regulations.

Moreover, onshore developers often have more exposure to local market dynamics, business customs, and legislative changes. They're more likely to stay up-to-date with any changes in regulations that might affect your software development project.

While developers from abroad might have the skills necessary for software development, they may lack a comprehensive understanding of US-specific regulations. In contrast, our onshore team has the technical expertise and the necessary legal knowledge to ensure your software meets all the requisite compliance standards.

Offshore options also have fewer security measures in place and may require the extra work of sending scrambled data over and unscrambling it when it comes back.


Navigating the Developer Shortage with Remote Solutions

The demand for skilled software developers is increasing faster than the supply of capable devs. While the coasts are abundant with technology professionals, there is a significant developer shortage in regions like the Midwest. This can pose a serious challenge for medical software development projects based in these areas, where the demand for software solutions is no less urgent.

Additionally, finding specialized talent to develop custom medical software can be particularly daunting. You need someone with exceptional development skills, who also has an understanding of the healthcare industry. 

Enter the power of remote development solutions, particularly through an agency like Talentcrowd. Here's how leveraging medical software development services can address these challenges:

  1. Access to a Larger Talent Pool: By hiring remote developers, you're no longer limited to the local talent pool. This means you can source top-tier talent from across the nation, opening up possibilities to skilled individuals who are perfectly suited to your project but are not within commuting distance.
  2. Cost-Efficient: Often, hiring remote developers can be more cost-efficient than maintaining an in-house team. You eliminate overhead costs associated with office space, utilities, and more. In addition, you can scale your team as needed, paying only for the services you require at any given time.
  3. Flexibility and Scalability: With remote teams, it's easier to scale up or down based on your project needs. Need additional manpower for a short-term project? No problem! Need to downsize after a major deliverable? That's manageable as well. 
  4. Diverse Perspectives: A geographically diverse team brings diverse perspectives. This can lead to innovative solutions, as each team member brings their unique experience and insights to the table.
  5. Increased Productivity: Studies have consistently shown that remote workers are often more productive than their in-office counterparts. With fewer distractions and the ability to work in their own preferred environment, remote developers can often deliver more in less time.

Key Factors to Consider When Hiring a Remote Developer or Remote DevelopmentTeam

Hiring a remote developer or medical software development company can be a strategic move when working on your project. However, finding the right fit requires careful evaluation. Think about things like:

  1. Relevant Experience: Look for developers with experience in healthcare technology. Developers familiar with healthcare regulations and standards, such as HIPAA, will be able to ensure your software is compliant. Past work on similar projects can also indicate that the developer or team has the expertise you need.
  2. Technical Skills: Ensure the team or developer has the necessary technical skills for your project. For instance, if you're building a cloud-based application, experience with those technologies is essential. If your software involves complex algorithms or AI, you'll need someone proficient in those areas.
  3. Communication Skills: Communication is critical, especially for remote teams. Developers must be able to understand project requirements, ask clarifying questions when needed, and keep you updated on their progress. They should also be comfortable using collaboration tools, such as project management software and video conferencing platforms.
  4. Project Management Methodology: Look for teams that use an Agile approach to development, which allows for flexibility and regular feedback. This approach can be particularly beneficial in the medical software field where adjustments may need to be made throughout the project.
  5. References and Reviews: Check references and read reviews from past clients. This can give you a sense of the developer or team's reliability, work ethic, and ability to meet deadlines and deliver quality work.
  6. Data Security: Ensure that the team you hire has robust data security practices in place. This is crucial in healthcare, where protecting patient data is paramount.
  7. Onshore vs. Offshore: Hiring an onshore team, like TalentCrowd, can offer advantages in terms of understanding local regulations, easier communication, and IP protection.

Finding the right remote developer or team can be a game-changer for your medical software project. Be sure to take the time to carefully vet each candidate so you can find the one that will best fill your needs and fit in with your team.


Bringing Your Software To Market

You've created a brilliant software solution, but without a strategic plan to launch it, it can easily get lost in the market. Here's how to create a successful go-to-market strategy:

  1. Define Your Value Proposition: What makes your software stand out from the competition? Is it more user-friendly? Does it offer innovative features? Or perhaps it makes certain tasks faster or more efficient? Clearly define and communicate your software's unique value to potential customers.
  2. Identify Your Target Market: Use the insights you gathered during the consumer research phase. Who are the end-users of your software? What are their needs and pain points? What are the potential benefits for them? This helps you tailor your marketing message to resonate with your target audience.
  3. Choose Your Distribution Channels: How will you deliver your software to your customers? Will it be cloud-based or installed directly on users' devices? Maybe a hybrid of the two? Take into account your audiences preferences when deciding..
  4. Marketing and Sales Strategy: How will you promote your software? Will you use online advertising, content marketing, direct sales, or a combination? What will be your sales process? Will you offer free trials or demos? Answering these questions will help you formulate an effective marketing and sales strategy.
  5. Partnerships: Consider collaborating with other businesses in the healthcare industry. Partnerships can extend your reach, enhance your credibility, and provide additional resources to help you bring your software to market.
  6. Feedback Loop: Once your product is on the market, it's crucial to keep the lines of communication open. Collect user feedback regularly and use it to make ongoing improvements to your software.

The bring-to-market process can be daunting, especially if you're facing a talent shortage. With Talentcrowd, you gain access to a remote development team with the necessary skills and experience to guide your product from concept to market, all while ensuring its continuous improvement based on user feedback. This effectively eliminates the barriers of geographical limitations and local talent shortages, setting your medical software project up for success.


The Assist You Need

Working with a remote team like TalentCrowd can have several advantages when it comes to finding medical software development services. 

  1. Cost-Effective: Hiring a remote team can be more cost-effective than hiring an in-house team. You get access to top talent without the overhead costs of full-time employees.
  2. Flexibility: Remote teams can scale up or down depending on the project's requirements, offering greater flexibility.
  3. Expertise: Companies like TalentCrowd have a diverse team of developers with expertise in different areas. This means you can have a team of specialists working on your project, each contributing their unique skills.
  4. Onshore Advantage: With TalentCrowd, you have the assurance of an onshore team that understands the local regulations and can effectively navigate the complexities of medical software development.

In addition to our small army of remote developers, we also have fractional executives to help you grow and scale your business as needed. 

We have every role you need to plan, build, and market your revolutionary software product.

Talentcrowd offers the opportunity to harness the power of remote development. We handpick our team of onshore developers, ensuring that they're not just skilled in software development but also well-versed in specific niches like medical software.