Agile Software Development: The Future of the Healthcare Industry

December 06, 2013

templates-1Healthcare is a complex industry and healthcare organizations often face great pressure to meet regulatory and data management requirements. According to International Data Corporation (IDC) the total amount of data has grown to 2.7 billion terabytes in 2012. The growth of data volumes is unlikely to slow down in the future and it brings various challenges for healthcare organizations to face.

Since the latest healthcare project of the United States Federal Government, named HealthCare.gov, the $500 million online insurance market has failed there are lots of discussions about whether Waterfall or Agile software development approach is the right for Healthcare industry.

Healthcare.gov as so many other government projects was developed with Waterfall approach. Waterfall as a linear approach does not allow the government to deliver “minimum shippable” to test and discover potential failures before they arise or alter features due to changing demand. Waterfall is still widely used in many industries and it works well in an environment where everything is routine and predictable; but this is not the reality in many businesses.

Harper Reed, the former Obama for America chief technology officer recommend a modern, incremental software development approach, best known as “Agile”. Agile software development would have enabled HealthCare.gov to evolve over time in incremental steps in relation to real-world use and evaluation and to avoid having a product at the end that doesn’t meet customers’ expectations.

In the age of constantly emerging new standards and technologies not having the right software to detect failures in time can be extremely costly, life-threatening, or both. Many companies look for solutions that combine the benefit of Agile and ALM. Where ALM focuses on improving technology, Agile puts the “improvement of the “process” in focus.

Benefits of Agile for Medical Device Development and Healthcare Organizations:

  • Scalability – it is crucial for organizations to deal with large data volumes and to control costs.
  • Compliance – it is critical to organizations in the Healthcare industry to avoid failing intentional standards which could result in expensive penalties, the death or serious injury of patients.
  • Agility – it is the ability to adapt to change and it allows companies to adapt new standards without running expensive development.
  • Accessibility – To access data accessible from anywhere improves collaboration within the organization.

Check out codeBeamer ALM for Medical Device Development to learn how to face the challenge to be compliant with standards, to meet the rapidly changing requirement specifications and to achieve full traceability.

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Eva Johnson

Written by

Eva is an Economist (MSc) and also holds an MBA in Marketing Communications. She has over 10 years of experience in journalism, digital media communication and project management working with several multinational companies and governmental institutions. You will find her blogs posts on a variety of subjects from Agile-Waterfall Hybrid, Scrum to DevOps.

Eva Johnson has written 35 posts for Intland Software.

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