Utilization review (UR) software is constantly improving, and there’s little reason to believe the evolution will slow down any time soon. Users and developers have seen clear trends emerge over time and must now work even smarter together to keep up with the changing medical management landscape.
The 1990s: Speed and Integration
In the early ’90s, developers concentrated on building scalable systems capable of working at high speeds. The biggest challenge was integrating the new software with existing legacy systems. Users typically created files in one system, printed them out and then re-entered the data into another system. Because of these inefficiencies, software developers began focusing on integrating UR software with organizations’ existing systems.
The 2000s: Security and Privacy
In the mid-2000s, system architects became occupied with security issues. Visa was leading the security conversation and issued a warning to banks that credit card security had to improve. Companies began developing more sophisticated PIN processing and higher encryption standards for data transactions. The 2000s saw the introduction of security applications into mainstream software, and security became a fundamental aspect of most systems.
During this time protecting individuals’ privacy also became paramount, especially in industries in which companies entered, stored, accessed and transferred medical information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) had required the creation of national standards for electronic health care transactions and mandated national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans and employers. Software for electronic health records and other medical management processes had to keep pace with these privacy requirements.
2010 and Beyond: Usability Reigns
Improving security and privacy remains critical, and that will not change any time soon. But increasingly sophisticated usability demands now drive utilization review software development. Mobile and tablet computing and software targeting users in all demographics must focus on the user experience. Organizations are asking their customers what they want, tracking usage patterns, and developing solutions that increase efficiency and compliance and ultimately help them compete in the UR marketplace.
Additionally, the research firm Gartner, Inc., reported on March 6, 2013 that current priorities in technological solutions revolve around the development of cloud or SaaS (Software as a Service) capabilities. The still-untapped potential of cloud service presents an additional layer of opportunity and challenge that UR software developers and users must address.
Software today must address all three of these major priorities: speed and integration, security and privacy, and usability. Successful organizations are focused on understanding their customers’ needs and developing software that gives companies more value for their UR technology investment.