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Exploring Software Development Options From No-Code to Custom

By Elxo on November 14, 2023
Exploring Software Development Options From No-Code to Custom
Exploring Software Development Options From No-Code to Custom

Exploring Software Development Options From No-Code to Custom

By Elxo on November 14, 2023

For years, organizations had few options when it came to application development. They could buy the software from a vendor or build an app from scratch. 

But that’s changed. Low-code and no-code programs are modular platforms where developers and even business users drag and drop components to create an application. With custom development, developers build software applications and solutions tailored to a healthcare facility’s needs. Custom solutions can also include a low-/no-code feature or function if the client requests it. 

To better understand the roles of these concepts in software development, consider redesigning your kitchen. It’s been gutted and you’re trying to figure out what to put into it. You can go the no-code route, buying a plug-and-play solution and installing it. It gives you everything you need – and no additional features that you won’t use. This is the cheapest option you have. 

Or you can go with the more expensive low code, which is like Ikea: You have a lot of pre-designed options that can be mixed and matched to create something closer to what you want, and you can tweak the details to get closer to a full custom solution.  

Finally, there’s custom choice, where you get cabinets, counters, and fixtures built and installed to your exact and specific needs – without compromise. Custom software development costs can be around 10 times what you can expect to pay for low-code and no-code solutions. 

These methods all play a role in healthcare software development, which is increasingly complicated given such advanced technologies as AI, analytics, and telehealth. Software tailor-made for this industry must also satisfy a disparate range of demands, from improving patient care and healthcare outcomes to increasing efficiency, streamlining operations, protecting sensitive data, and complying with regulations. 

Let’s take a deeper look at how these different software tools are applied across healthcare. 

No-Code Development in Healthcare

No-code app development is self-explanatory: It’s a fast and efficient way for organizations to create white-label applications without having to write any code. Instead, they use visual interfaces and drag-and-drop tools to build the software, all helped by no-code development platforms that offer pre-built templates, components, and modules. 

The user-friendly nature of these platforms also means that users with no background in complex programming languages can easily create useful apps. For healthcare facilities still facing financial challenges from the fallout of the pandemic, being able to implement necessary software quickly and affordably is critical. 

The myriad healthcare use cases of no-code development range from tools for managing patient and hospital data and automating workflows to managing clinical trials, creating onboarding systems, and building patient portals, which could make operations easier and improve the patient experience. 

The benefits are many. Think of a shallow learning curve for developers, cheaper app development, faster time to market, and improved data management. However, there are concerns. Security might be lost without much process oversight, scalability and customization can be limited, and it could lead to shadow IT – the use of hardware or software that’s not supported by the IT department.  

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Low-Code Development in the Clinical Context

Low-code platforms are like their no-code kin. They’re both rapid application development (RAD) programs that use visual building blocks – like drag-and-drop tools – to drive automated code generation.  

Where low-code development differs from no-code development is in how it comes together: Builders can add code into the mix, meaning its target users are developers rather than business operators. It still simplifies the development process, but it requires more skill. 

The use cases are also a bit different. Apart from helping eliminate repetitive tasks, no-code platforms are beneficial for creating apps that import and export data, and that pull data from sources for analysis. 
Low-code platforms have larger component libraries, can handle heavier enterprise jobs, and can integrate with other apps, APIs (application programming interfaces), and with multiple data sources. They’re also open systems that allow developers to add code for greater flexibility and functionality. 

Using low-code platforms, healthcare facilities can more easily craft apps that perform such tasks as: scaling clinical testing by automating documentation and analysis; using AI to streamline administrative and supply-chain processes; and creating bespoke patient portals. 

Just as the benefits are comparable with no-code software, so are the challenges. Low-code and no-code programs can limit customization, scalability, integration, and security. In addition – unlike with no-code tools – healthcare organizations must invest in commissioning or hiring skilled developers to create low-code solutions. 

Custom Healthcare App Development 

Custom development is a departure from the other two methods, with the goal to design software solutions that meet specific needs of the healthcare facility. These are not intended for cookie-cutter use cases, and often solve unique challenges specific to particular organizations. 

A healthcare facility may need software to run a data analytics solution that surfaces insights into patient care, hospital operations, and regulatory compliance. An online engagement platform can improve medical care for patients and enable an organization to better interact with consumers, the community, and other stakeholders.  

Custom software needs to grow and adapt with the hospital, scale as needed depending on the number of patients or the size of the organization, and integrate with other software systems, such as EHR and billing platforms. 

With custom software, healthcare organizations get exactly the software they need for addressing their challenges. But it also comes at a price. Facilities need to invest in development teams, and it’s more expensive than no-cost, low-cost, and even commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software. 

However, some of that cost can be reduced by finding a partner that has robust services. Much of the burden of custom software development falls on the vendor, such as expenses associated with hiring programmers, complying with regulations, and integrating with other hospital systems. 

A Complete Package for Healthcare App Development

When it comes to healthcare software, Elxo offers everything organizations need to build solutions to their challenges. It starts with consulting, speaking with and listening to a hospital’s leaders and frontline staff to assess and define the facility’s needs and understand their problems whether the organization is having trouble increasing patient satisfaction, reducing costs, improving technical processes, or all of the above. Then Elxo addresses these needs with personalized recommendations. 

Software development starts with the proof-of-concept and leads to a solution for a specific problem. That includes low-code solutions, most of which can be used immediately but all of which are created in six months or less. More complex problems can be solved with custom solutions that are ready in seven to eight months. 

To learn more, contact Elxo here

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