If you had a nickel for every no-code software solution, you could buy yourself a coffee every day for months.
Over the last few decades, the emphasis on software and technology to drive value induced a secular shift in almost every industry and revolutionized how most of us work.
The one downside to this change is that technology and software development has historically been expensive and time-consuming. With the availability and flexibility of the Cloud, options to create applications and software to support your business or sell as your business has become much more accessible.
Recently, a new trend has emerged to make custom software solutions even more available: No–Code or Low-Code Software Solutions. These solutions are made available to individuals and businesses so that they can design and develop software without programming knowledge.
There are some drawbacks, which we will discuss. Still, for building custom workflows into software for your unique business needs, No-Code Solutions provide the ability at a fraction of the cost of traditional software development.
Check out Intely’s article on designing or strategizing a solution within the digital health market.
This article will cover No-Code Solutions and their capabilities, a few ways to use them in healthcare, and some design decisions to be aware of when building and using them.
- No-Code/Low-Code Overview
- 3 Ways to Use No-Code Solutions for Healthcare Workflows
- The Digital Front Door
- The Patient CRM
- The Practice Website
- No-Code/Low-Code Design Decisions
Before we dive into how we can use No-Code as a solution to healthcare workflows, understanding its capabilities and how they work is critical. Fundamentally, No-Code platforms can design solutions from a graphical user interface using pre-developed building blocks and functions. Low-Code generally means an additional level of extensibility where users can add custom code or functions. This can add capabilities to a solution that may not entirely support a user’s exact needs with the framework provided.
No-Code Solutions can provide codeless options to develop an entire tech stack for a solution or just part of the tech stack and infrastructure. Software platforms like Unqork, Appian, or Bubble can design the front-end and back-end of software or workflow solutions and can be used internally or provided to customers.
Other offerings like Retool intend to create solutions that automate internal business processes and workflows. Airtable or Smartsheet operates like a no-code database (e.g., Microsoft Excel on steroids) and serves to provide back-end data infrastructure.
A handful of other types of no-code apps also specialize in specific functions – form building, automation, customer service, marketing, and project management are some examples of workflow and functionality segments.
The amount of no-code/low-code options available is enticing to build solutions that benefit your business and workflows. However, selecting the right tools and stitching them together can often be tricky.
3 Ways to Use No-Code Solutions for Healthcare Workflows
The Digital Front Door
The digital front door to healthcare is a broad concept but entails providing a digital experience and patient options that improve access to care and interoperability. Solutions that engage patients at various touchpoints throughout their care journey all fall into this category.
A healthcare provider can use no-code solutions to develop a patient portal that manages everything from the secure patient login to storing an individual’s medical history. Many can even manage claims and let patients schedule appointments or communicate directly with their providers.
Using a drag-and-drop interface, a provider or practice can develop an app that lets patients see their medications, visit history, and health recommendations, chat with their provider, schedule visits, and more. These capabilities are generally only available through patient portals that EHRs supply with the medical record software. The EHR solution is often expensive and rigid, reducing the localization possible for a practice or organization and reducing the value for both the provider and patient.
Patients and healthcare consumers are seeking better digital experiences and access to care. The pandemic period changed many of the journey points of healthcare. A flexible digital front-door solution allows providers and healthcare organizations to adapt to evolving engagement dynamics and demand.
Digital health companies give us plenty of reason to be excited in 2023 and beyond.
The Patient CRM
Patients have always been the consumers of healthcare. Now, patients want to feel like consumers of their healthcare. With the availability of information and the increasing number of choices, a person has for their health (in most cases), treating a patient like a client is paramount.
If a healthcare practice or provider has goals to automate the relationship management, engagement, and communication workflows, a no-code solution to set up a Patient CRM solution is a great use case. Many CRM systems support the management of patient populations, including the behemoth Salesforce. Often, these solutions are more than what is necessary and may cost too much or be too much work to manage. A database-like solution like Phase Zero or Smartsheet can store and keep patient data. An automation and integration tool, like Intely 😊, can trigger communication through services like Paubox or Twilio. It’s generally an option even to integrate a patient portal link if you want to fold in the previous no-code workflow use case and enhance your digital front door!
The Practice Website
A website may seem like a use case that should have been left off the list in favor of a more innovative solution. Websites are so basic and boring, but the power of an intuitive, attractive, and highly functional website is a vital component of a healthcare provider’s strategy. The website is the digital curb appeal to the front door.
Marginal or incremental patient acquisition and retention improvements can be the financial difference between a highly successful or mediocre private practice. So many examples of practices with virtually static websites still exist today that provide no utility to the patient. With tools like Webflow, WordPress, Wix, and many other website building and CMS solutions, assembling an attractive and functional site is a breeze. Workflows for scheduling, payment, and patient engagement can be added to the site and embedded without coding. Customer Data Platforms and analytics tools can tie website visitor data to a CRM. The patient portal can be accessible to existing patients through a simple link on the webpage, which connects this back to the digital front door!
No-Code/Low-Code Design Decisions
Security & Compliance
Many No-Code and Low-Code solutions are not specifically for healthcare use cases and workflows. Digging into the security practices to ensure an application handles patient data responsibly is critical. Ask if the solution is HIPAA compliant and whether they have SOC2 or HITRUST certification.
When developing any software, determining your use cases’ prerequisite integration capabilities should be completed early. Building all the integrations at the start is unnecessary, but having an API or other interfacing ability should be accounted for in the framework.
Users building solutions on no-code or low-code solutions should ensure that the applications and systems can be connected to share data seamlessly. That’s where Intely can come into the mix. Suppose the no-code solution has an external API. In that case, you can connect to Intely and access a plethora of pre-built app connectors and data mapping tools to integrate applications without any programming.