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No code? No problem! The tech that’s making software development in healthcare open to everyone


If you’re as tuned in to technology as I am, you’re probably well aware of the major technological advancements transforming the healthcare industry today.

Wearable monitors are helping patients take charge of their health. Neurosurgeons are using virtual reality and robots to practice complex procedures. Telemedicine is breaking down barriers and increasing access to care. And artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize everything we know about healthcare.

Undoubtedly, these innovations (and countless other digital technologies!) are improving standards of care and driving better patient outcomes. But it can be next to impossible for healthcare providers to make the most out of this tech when they’re bogged down by outdated software, legacy systems, and—to my horror--paperwork.

The need for intuitive, agile, and powerful healthcare software has only skyrocketed as the industry continues to embrace digital innovation. However, old-school software has been a major barrier for some providers looking to enter the modern age.

Enter a potential game-changer: no-code platforms. True to its name, no-code platforms help providers create databases, build patient portals, launch custom applications, and more--all without writing a single line of code.

Whether improving operational efficiency or streamlining the patient experience, no-code platforms facilitate digital transformation within many healthcare organizations. In this blog, we’ll dive into why this new tool is so important and explore some of the ways it can help healthcare providers.

Why are no code platforms so popular?

At its core, a no-code platform is a software development environment that makes creating applications and automating processes without the need for traditional coding possible. Making an app on a no-code platform is a bit like assembling IKEA furniture, but with fewer confusing instructions and more innovative outcomes.

Of course, this does not imply that code magically disappears from the software development process, but rather that your no-code platform generates it automatically and usually behind the scenes.

The pros of no-code development

This low barrier to entry is arguably why the popularity of no-code development is surging. Healthcare organizations can use intuitive, drag-and-drop tools and pre-built templates to create tailored software faster and cheaper than traditional development methods. Large hospitals can benefit from these platforms’ speed and adaptability, deploying new updates in response to changes in the market. And by eliminating the need for coding knowledge, even small, rural clinics can create solutions that fit their requirements.

While no-code platforms make software development more accessible for everyone, it also makes it significantly more affordable. Traditional development is notorious for its escalating costs, which is often unavoidable when hiring specialists or outsourcing to a third party. Healthcare startups and small businesses with limited budgets can save significant costs associated with hiring and retaining technical talent by opting for a no-code platform instead.

No-code platforms equipped with AI and machine learning (ML) functionality can also help healthcare organizations streamline various day-to-day processes by making recommendations for the optimal allocation of hospital resources, scheduling drug deliveries to patients, and managing supplies.

The cons of no-code development

For all the speed, flexibility, and economic benefits of no-code, there are some significant limitations that healthcare companies should consider before taking the plunge:

  1. Templates run the show. No-code platforms often supply a range of templates and pre-built components as a starting point for app development. The problem begins when the user realizes they need a particular function or feature that is not available on the platform. Not all vendors will allow the user to get source code permission to make truly custom adjustments. And if permission is granted, then advanced coding knowledge is likely required to make the change, defeating the purpose of a no-code platform!
  2. Platform migration problems. Organizations might run into problems quickly if their chosen no-code platform undergoes drastic changes or is discontinued. Switching to a different platform, or transitioning to a completely custom code solution, can be challenging, expensive, and time-consuming as the software may need to be entirely rewritten.
  3. Security and compliance risks. Because no-code platforms are designed to be simple and user-friendly, they might not always provide the same degree of safety and compliance that traditional software development may account for. This is especially a concern among the healthcare companies handling sensitive patient data—an attractive target for hackers and data breaches.

It's also good to remember that no-code platforms aren’t a silver bullet solution. They simply offer building blocks, not finished products. Healthcare organizations interested in the value no-code development offers will still need to take time and people to learn, manage, and secure the platform—and then build, test, and optimize software.

For startups and small businesses, or if budgets and timelines are tight, a no-code platform may be a perfect choice to solve a particular problem or address a need. Larger organizations or providers that need a solution to a more complex problem or require deep integration with external APIs may find that traditional software development is better suited to their requirements.

No-code platforms are here to stay

As the healthcare industry embraces new technologies, no-code development platforms will likely remain a viable avenue for fast, efficient, and innovative software solutions. Like AI and ML, embracing this technology hinges on how a company weighs its needs, resources, and long-term objectives. And in a fiercely competitive market like healthcare, mileage may vary.

For more on the latest tech trends charting the future of the healthcare industry, and to get the healthcare commercial intelligence you need to be one of those pioneers, start a free trial today.

Ethan Popowitz

About the Author

Ethan Popowitz

Ethan Popowitz is a Senior Content Writer at Definitive Healthcare. He writes data-driven articles about telehealth, AI, the healthcare staffing shortage, and everything in…

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