Everything You Wanted to Know About Healthcare Programming
The Covid pandemic proved that adequate healthcare is one of the essential elements of modern life. Covid policies, particularly those restricting movement, showed that healthcare technology could help deliver medical services and led to an explosion of healthcare software and applications (https://sonatafy.com/10-popular-types-of-medical-software-programs/). According to Global Market Insights, the global mHealth market was valued at $56 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow by 30% annually until 2030.
In 2023, healthcare will be more technology-dependent than ever before. Anyone who wants to access healthcare services, as well as healthcare providers, will have to embrace healthcare software.
Frequently Asked Questions About Healthcare Programming
The development of healthcare software also means programming. There is massive demand in the healthcare software and application market mHealth apps, telehealth, and health IT systems. Software for medical devices like MRI machines is also necessary, including software to operate wearable technology and fitness trackers. (Click to see a more in-depth look at softwares used in hospitals)
As Ceci Conelly, Head of PwC’s Health Research Institute, said in a past report, “Doctors are expressing more openness and willingness to consider information from their patients coming from DIY devices.” Therefore, mobile devices will play an increasingly significant role in healthcare provision.
Programming language is the backbone of any software. The type of programming language used to create a healthcare software or mobile application will ultimately determine its performance and adoption.
Though there are many programming languages, software and app developers must consider various factors before choosing the one they want to use. Some of the factors include.
- The type of application
- Supported device or platform (e.g., iOS, Android, Windows, etc.)
- Security features to satisfy HIPAA compliance
- Long-term sustainability
- The application’s or software’s complexity
- The applications or software features
There are many best healthcare programming languages. It will also depend on the development team or company and its goals. However, there are various languages that programmers often use for healthcare software and application development.
The following are the most common languages for healthcare programming:
Java programming language
Java is one of the world’s oldest and most popular programming languages. It is a multipurpose programming language used extensively in healthcare IT.
Almost 60% of healthcare software and app development firms want programmers proficient in Java. Companies will pay handsomely for a developer with significant Java programming experience.
Java is used to build healthcare software and applications for many reasons. For starters, it is easy to use and has a robust network. It is also relatively stable and economical to maintain, which is fantastic for new healthcare tech startups with limited funding.
One of the most substantial benefits of Java programming for healthcare apps and software is its cross-platform development capabilities. Using multiple platforms to create a product ensures it is more comprehensive.
Java can be slow compared to other healthcare programming languages, but it has excellent built-in security features and a wide range of APIs. Java’s features and capabilities make it particularly useful for Electronic Record Systems (EHRs).
Python programming language
Python is one of the fastest-growing and most versatile programming languages in healthcare. Many programmers claim it is straightforward to use hence its rapid adoption (1).
“Python is an essential programming language that data scientists use to create solutions for multiple challenges in healthcare, and it offers a diverse set of tools to generate significant insights from data for healthcare professionals.”
– Data Camp
Python has a vividly clear and readable syntax. Therefore, developers can quickly write working code, so they spend less time fixing bugs and troubleshooting.
Since Python code can run on multiple operating systems, its interpreters are available for various platforms. The language’s versatility and interoperability are simply unmatched.
Python is used in healthcare software and app development for various purposes, such as machine learning, data science, and Internet of Things (IoT) software development.
Python is also used to develop Machine Learning (ML) algorithms for drug discovery, genomic studies, medical image diagnostics, and predictive analytics.
Python offers enhanced security for HIPAA compliance which is essential in healthcare. The open-source language means it has extensive community support; hence programmers can easily and swiftly solve any problems with the code.
It is scalable when managing vast amounts of data which is vital for healthcare software and apps with a global reach. However, there may be speed limitations in this regard.
Kotlin for application development
Kotlin is a newer and more modern programming language. Many programming experts think it may replace Java in the foreseeable future as it is compatible with the Java platform. It is just as easy to learn and use as Java, but it can create more robust applications.
Kotlin is an open-source programming language primarily for Android. It has an intuitive and straightforward syntax, so it is so easy to learn. Kotlin mobile applications are also relatively easy to maintain.
The language has more capabilities than other languages, which is why Android mHealth app developers prefer utilizing it. Developers can access multi-platform mobile, server-side, web frontend, and many more platforms because of Kotlin’s constant improvements.
Kotlin is getting increasingly reliable, meaning more developers will use it for healthcare programming. It has a limited community, so learning resources are scarce, but its potential for mobile health apps could be much higher.
Standard Query Language or SQL is a programming language used for database interaction and management. Healthcare is a very data-intensive industry. Healthcare institutions and providers must have patient tracking data, payment information, medical histories, and more hence the need for sufficient databases.
High-performance databases ensure that healthcare service delivery is swift and error-free. Modifying and analyzing data to reach conclusions for better healthcare is also vital.
SQL is a programming language that is crucial to healthcare application development. It is easy to learn and needs minimal coding and programming skills. SQL is entirely interactive and ensures swift query processing. Healthcare applications and software administrators can use SQL to analyze data and manage databases (2).
“Firstly, it makes storing large volumes of patient information a breeze and does a much better job than basic spreadsheet software in this respect. If you find that your Excel files are getting unwieldy and confusing, leaping an SQL-powered database could be ideal.”
– Health Works Collective
On the other hand, using SQL is expensive. It requires the best security with constant updates because databases are constantly under threat due to the sensitive data they contain.
Because of the complex interfaces of SQL-programmed databases, the language can sometimes take much work to use. Moreover, users only partially control the databases, which is a drawback.
R is a programming language specifically designed for statistical computing by statisticians. It is also called the lingua franca of statistics. It offers new ways of reading, manipulating, and visualizing data.
The R programming language was developed to make data computation as efficient as possible because more data and technological advancements have complicated healthcare provision. It is hence the preferred programming language for data analysis which is critical in healthcare programming. For example, R is the best programming language to design, observe and evaluate clinical trials.
It is an open-source programming language and has a substantial community for support with more than six million repositories on GitHub.
R also has cross-platform compatibility and support, making it relatively easy for healthcare programming. Being compatible with multiple programming languages enhances R’s efficiency.
Developers can use R for data wrangling, web scraping, and data cleansing. They can also use R for machine learning.
HTML is an abbreviation for HyperText Markup Language and is specifically used to build websites. Though software and applications are the main areas of healthcare programming, websites are also important.
HTML is used to format a website’s user interface and information. Many healthcare organizations use HTML websites to acquire more patients and make online appointment bookings, digital marketing, and customer education.
HTML is an open-source programming language that has a massive global support community. It is straightforward to learn, so many healthcare programmers will use it.
It is browser friendly and has a simple structure. It is a light language that loads quickly, especially compared to programming languages like Python.
On the other hand, HTML has limited features, so it can only be used for websites. It requires extensive code, and each page must be programmed separately, which consumes time.
The HTML programming language is static; hence changes are hard to make. Therefore, errors are usually costly. HTML security is typically less secure than other programming languages as well.
Swift for application development
Swift is a new and up-and-coming programming language. Swift is one of the best programming languages for developers who want to create software and applications for healthcare efficiently.
Swift is a secure, interactive language with an optimized compiler for enhanced performance. Programmers can quickly fix bugs in their code and software using the compiler.
Developers can quickly write code while producing results immediately. Swift can do so because, unlike other programming languages, it requires very few lines of code to complete a task.
The young, open-source programming language is quickly transforming healthcare by providing multiple security layers and better data encryption which is paramount for healthcare technologies like wearables.
Developers can utilize Swift as a universal language to make custom healthcare applications and software. It enhances readability and reduces errors. Apps and software coded with Swift are easy to maintain primarily due to improved safety and performance.
Despite being relatively new, Swift has a dynamic community with excellent support. Contrarily, it has a low capacity for interoperability with third-party tools, which should change and improve with time. Therefore, developers should expect compatibility issues when using Swift (3).
“Additionally, Swift improves the often-complex process of software and apps integration, allowing healthcare IT experts to easily add new solutions to the existing healthcare IT ecosystem.”
– Cloud Secure Tech
The custom healthcare software development industry is experiencing tremendous growth that will continue to grow. It paves the way for developers and healthcare software development companies to thrive. The programming language is the most fundamental app and software development issue. Each computer programming language has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is up to each developer, development team, or company to determine the best language that suits their purpose. They must have a vivid vision of how the healthcare software or application will benefit healthcare providers and patients while meeting financial goals.
- Python is an essential programming language that data scientists use to create solutions for multiple challenges in healthcare, and it offers a diverse set of tools to generate significant insights from data for healthcare professionals. – Data Camp Quote
- Firstly, it makes storing large volumes of patient information a breeze and does a much better job than basic spreadsheet software in this respect. If you find that your Excel files are getting unwieldy and confusing, leaping an SQL-powered database could be ideal. – Health Works Collective Quote
- Additionally, Swift improves the often-complex process of software and apps integration, allowing healthcare IT experts to easily add new solutions to the existing healthcare IT ecosystem. – Cloud Secure Tech Quote