Software Is Eating Healthcare

Image Credit: Jay Reed

Health systems across the world face tremendous challenges. Improving health for billions while managing the ever rising costs of advanced healthcare. Better information and more collaboration are essential...

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Health systems across the world face tremendous challenges. Improving health for billions while managing the ever rising costs of advanced healthcare. Better information and more collaboration are essential to deliver the benefits of medical science. This is a great opportunity for software to change the world. SaaS is the ideal vehicle to make this change happen.

Few areas of life have changed more than health in the past hundred years. More and better information about disease, anatomy, biology and chemistry has saved millions of lives. Yet in many ways we are only in the foothills. Billions of people still don’t have access to basic healthcare. And in the developed world clinical and financial pressures have never been greater.

Ageing populations and increasing expectation are straining resources across Europe and North America. Finding more efficient ways to deliver and manage health is an urgent fiscal problem. Ensuring people have instant access to the best expertise is a popular demand.

Medicine has become ultra specialised. Experts who have spent years studying a narrow field need to work together to treat the most complex organism we know. At the same time everyone needs to keep up to date with the continual advance of human knowledge. Combining the right knowledge to treat multiple and complex conditions is almost impossible. Even Steve Jobs struggled to find one Doctor who could look at his whole medical needs.

Better information and better sharing will not solve all these problems but it could make a huge contribution. It is time for software to starting eating healthcare.

In Africa and Asia this is already happening. But the West faces some big barriers. Health is dominated by large corporations or Government bureaucracy. The medical professions have well established working practices. Taking risks is not acceptable when people’s lives are at stake.

The trouble is, disruption is necessary or we risk falling behind. SaaS can play an important role in overcoming the challenges.

  • Healthcare is a service. The SaaS model fits with the service approach. It supports the work of health professionals in a natural and logical structure.
  • Specialised precise solutions can solve well defined problems. No upfront costs and short time to implement in SaaS allow health professionals to try things out. Success will encourage further development.
  • SaaS can improve collaboration. Easy integration will multiply this effect. The more SaaS solutions, the more value the network will generate.
  • Lean startup methods develop SaaS with direct input from users. Professionals who understand this will be much happier to adopt new solutions.
  • New business models for SaaS mean payment by results. Spending limited resources in the right areas is a key priority for health budgets.

SaaS is an ideal fit to help improve both the economics of healthcare and the lives of everyone. Software alone will not do the job. It must be a catalyst for change in the deliver of health services. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs everywhere to make a real difference.

by Kenny Fraser @sunstonecomms

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