Software Advice’s 2023 SMB Medical Software Buying Trends Report

By: Lisa Morris on January 8, 2023

A lot is changing for patients and healthcare organizations right now thanks to a myriad of social, economical, and political issues.

Fortunately, technology has continued to evolve alongside the healthcare industry to help providers overcome current obstacles and continue giving patients the best care possible. But there’s a downside to all that technological advancement.

With all of the new options, applications, and software vendors on the market, it’s increasingly difficult for medical practices to make clear decisions around which types of software they should implement, how much to budget for tech adoption and management, and which tools will provide the best, most secure patient experience.

To help providers understand what other practices are doing so they can feel confident in their own software purchase, Software Advice surveyed* representatives from healthcare organizations all over the world to ask about their experience with purchasing new business software. Using that data, we identified three major trends among medical software buyers that other practices can use as a guide to pick the right software for their needs.

Here’s what we found:

  • Security is critical: 50% of healthcare orgs said security was the most important factor when searching for new software.

  • Poor IT support is a deal breaker: 85% of practices have at least four full-time employees on their IT team.

  • Flexible budgeting is important: 65% of orgs waited until after evaluating a few products to set their budgets.

For medical software, security is the magic word

Use of healthcare technology among patients has risen with the growing adoption of telemedicine and other remote patient monitoring tools, and security threats have increased right alongside those adoption rates.

According to a recent survey of over 200 healthcare providers, over a third have experienced a data breach—and a quarter of those data breaches happened within the past three years. In 2021, healthcare data breaches hit an all-time high and impacted 45 million individuals, causing untold damage to healthcare organizations' finances and reputations.[1]

For all of these reasons, data security is a huge consideration for organizations looking to purchase new business software of any kind.

Top ten most important factors when selecting new software

For medical practices, every type of business software that holds patient data must be secure, meaning software vendors have to withstand an additional layer of scrutiny if they want to sell to medical facilities.

And that’s not just limited to EMR and telemedicine platforms—although those require some of the highest security measures. Accounting, business intelligence, scheduling, and even CRM software must have reliable security in order to work for healthcare organizations.

If they don’t, it’s likely to send providers searching for other software options. Which is exactly what happened to the 31% of surveyed healthcare organizations who said concerns about security and cyberattacks were one of the top issues that pushed them to purchase new software in 2022.

Top reasons for purchasing new software

The bottom line for practices who are just starting to look for new software is that security matters, regardless of the type of software you’re purchasing. We recommend prioritizing security features and safety measures when evaluating new software vendors before purchase.

Poor IT support is a deal breaker for most healthcare orgs

The second trend revealed by our survey data is that healthcare organizations prioritize continued technical support from software vendors long after a system is purchased and implemented.

In fact, help desk and IT support software was the number one software type purchased by healthcare organizations in 2022—even outranking EMR software.

types of software purchased in 2022

It’s also worth noting here that security software was the second-most commonly purchased software this year, adding to our point about practices prioritizing security.

But the headline of this data point is that IT support is a huge focus for healthcare organizations right now, and this is evident throughout our survey. For example, we found that most healthcare organizations have a robust, full-time IT team on staff.

number of FTEs on IT team

But internal IT support was not the only important thing for medical practices.

Most of our survey respondents took several steps to ensure continued communication with their software vendor, with the top two being attending regular meetings with the software provider to review its performance (50%) and using support features such as chat or email to communicate with the software provider (49%).

actions taken to continue relationship with software providers

The bottom line for practices just starting their software search is to make sure you select a provider who is in it for the long haul. You want a software solution with a robust support team and extensive training materials so that your own employees always have access to information whenever related questions arise.

A flexible approach to budgeting is the best approach to budgeting

Our last trend—but certainly not the least important—has to do with setting your budget for new software purchases. Because so many factors need to be considered in the budget-setting process, it's difficult to arrive at hard-and-fast rules for it. However, one solid piece of advice we can give is this: Don’t set your budget before you even get started.

Sure, it’s helpful to have a ballpark number in mind as you enter the software-selection process, but picking a number and sticking to it no matter what isn't the way to go.

Our survey found that only 35% of healthcare orgs went into the process with a set budget, while the majority set their budget either after seeing a few vendor presentations or after selecting their software provider.

budget strategies

A flexible budget mindset is not only important for healthcare organizations during the software-purchasing process, it’s critical to the future of your business as well.

All evidence has shown that tech adoption is not going to slow down for medical providers, meaning practices will need to continue investing in software tools to keep up with patient expectations.

Over half of surveyed providers say they anticipate spending even more on technology in 2023 than they did in 2022.

anticipated tech budget for 2023

The bottom line for providers here transcends the immediate software search and applies to a broader mindset: You’re probably never going to find a tech stack that will suit your practice forever and ever.

Instead, approach your software search to find something that works well for you right now—and offers options for growth when you need them.

Key takeaways for healthcare organizations

To refresh, the three major takeaways identified in our SMB software buyer trends survey are:

  1. Security should be the first and last thing you consider

  2. IT support is crucial to continued software success

  3. A flexible budget will give you the best shot at finding the right software at the right time

Find more information on selecting the right software or creating a shortlist of vendors that meet your specific needs by connecting with an advisor or browsing our medical resources on Software Advice.

Survey Methodology

*Software Advice’s 2023 SMB Software Buying Trends Survey was conducted online from August 2022 to October 2022 among 1,513 respondents from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and France and from SMBs with revenue less than $1 billion and 2-999 employee size.

Respondents were screened for their involvement in software purchasing decisions and those who were a leader/ member of the group or had significant influence qualified for the study.