Healthcare Software Testing: It is rightly observed by a philosopher William Shedd – “A ship in the harbour is safe, but ships are not built to be parked safely”.
In other words, the unused potential is not valued. The ability of technology to change the world for the better is not a new concept, but its potential should be used appropriately.
Right from the initial stages of digital transformation, we have witnessed the role of technology in boosting productivity and efficiency in the workplace, automating business operations, facilitating personal tasks, and a lot more.
The world is meant to become more digitized in the future, leaving us with no choice but to adapt to the new ways of the world.
No matter the industry, digital transformation has become the new reality of the world. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital health has emerged as the most innovative concept in the healthcare industry.
Have a look at the industry-specific spending on technology after COVID-19.
The Realm of “DIGITAL HEALTH”
While it may be difficult for industries to adjust to the changes, the healthcare industry is already impacted. The conventional interactions between doctors, patients, and pharmaceutical companies are no longer relevant in this digital age. Gone are the days when you see your doctors, get a prescription, take the medicines, and report to your doctors for follow-ups.
Now, healthcare organizations grapple with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for the future of healthcare amid social, economic, and regulatory uncertainties. It has reopened the realm of “digital health”, with consumers looking at the broad spectrum of mobile apps, wearable gadgets, robotic carriers, Artificial Intelligence, electronic record systems, sensors, and much more.
Examples of digital health technology
Adopting Digitization in Healthcare – How and What?
Digital transformation in healthcare is not only about technological evolutions; and in fact, and it was never about that. It’s all about dealing with the challenges of healthcare and building a viable future of healthcare. The tech conversations may not be buzzing that the healthcare software industry has surpassed the mark of multi-billion dollars and shows no signs of slowing down.
Digital Health Market
As the industry continues to innovate rapidly, innovative healthcare software solutions have become mandatory. Embracing healthcare software is the only way to stay relevant in the industry. But the software needs to work seamlessly while improving patient care, reducing costly expenses, and ensuring a smooth user journey. And this is where healthcare software testing comes into play.
Why is Healthcare Software Testing Important?
In line with global digitization, healthcare institutions are implementing new technologies. But it is worth noting that a single blunder in healthcare software can endanger human health or result in ineffective medical treatments. Any late information, miscommunication, incorrectly configured software application can lead to serious health issues.
Moreover, consumers have little patience for technical issues in any industry. And when it comes to healthcare, there is no room for any tolerance. Any downtime or technical glitches caused by faulty software can lead to devastating consequences. Having healthcare software makes no sense if it behaves expectedly and makes it easy to use for doctors, assistants, nurses, patients, and everyone. Implementing a modern software testing approach is extremely important to provide best-in-class patient care and streamline healthcare business operations.
Moreover, like any application, healthcare software is vulnerable to malicious data usage and cyber threats. The healthcare ecosystem should be built following the high-end security and confidentiality regulations and HIPAA compliance. This, in turn, leads to the need for rigorous healthcare software testing.
Top Reasons Healthcare Industry Needs Software Testing
Digitization is one of the breakthroughs witnessed by the healthcare industry. However, there are various questions concerning digitization – benefits of the healthcare ecosystem, investments required to take the digital leap, need for advanced analytics to drive changes, expected performance of healthcare applications. Healthcare software testing enables you to answer all these questions and implement better digitization.
Moreover, the idea of remote healthcare services is changing the way the healthcare industry works, which demands quick and easy access to healthcare. On-demand medical assistance and home healthcare have become the new paradigm in the healthcare sector and are expected to grow in the coming years.
There is a multitude of reasons for healthcare software testing. Let’s look at a few.
- Ensures seamless operation of healthcare applications, including clinical databases, patient apps, customer relationship management systems, medical equipment software, etc.
- Helps software developers prepare for security and compliance testing with regulatory frameworks like HIPAA.
- Prevent software failures, eliminate weak integrations, and upscale the software performance.
- Helps in predicting the behaviour of medical software in multiple real-life scenarios
- Establishes reliable connections among various device networks.
Software Testing Strategies in Healthcare Industry
1. Functional testing –
Functional testing strategy ensure the product behaves expectedly even in unlikely situations. It helps in identifying the gaps and validating the healthcare scenarios.
2. Performance testing –
Performance Testing checks the response system of the healthcare software even when the network is not at the top parameters. This healthcare software testing strategy focuses on scalability, architecture, and tuning.
3. Penetration and vulnerability testing –
Healthcare software deals with a lot of personal information and is more dangerous for hackers. Penetration testing strategy helps exploit the vulnerabilities or weaknesses in networks, systems, human resources to stress-test the software effectiveness.
4. UX testing –
Also known as user experience testing, this strategy reveals if the software is intuitive, easy to use, and has a short learning curve. It also focuses on the flexibility of applications to handle controls while meeting the healthcare software objectives.
5. Localization quality testing –
This testing strategy is used to understand the behaviour of healthcare software for a specific culture, region, or locale. It helps in testing the appropriateness of linguistic and cultural aspects for specific regions. This healthcare software testing technique is usually conducted when you are customizing the software for a targeted region, language, or country
6. Automated testing –
Automation testing technique leverages automation tools to control the execution of tests to compare the actual results with expected results. It helps in managing the test data and utilizing the results to improve the healthcare software continuously.
Healthcare Software Testing Peculiarities
Healthcare is a highly regulated industry, and there is a dire need to work in close connection with legal advisors, medical staff, insurance company representatives, and all the relevant stakeholders. Therefore, the outlined software testing strategies should have specific objectives to ensure high-quality healthcare software. These include:
1. Interoperability of medical devices
The healthcare sector has a considerable demand for regulatory compliance, interoperability, data privacy, and security. There are a lot of medical applications and devices that need to connect to deliver the expected user performance. For example, if healthcare application interacts with mobile apps, both should show accurate results. This has to be conducted very diligently as it determines the sustainability of business and ensures compliance.
2. Functional Validation of the Healthcare Software
It is essential to ensure that the software is viable enough to deliver the required service. For example, a healthcare application helps in generating patient reports with a secure login. The application should function all the time and provide accurate results. The healthcare software testing helps validate the business workflows and takes all the required performance measures to achieve the desired results.
3. Application Security
Healthcare applications deal with sensitive data related to patients and their health information. It can lead to a significant information breach if the application is hacked. The security testing helps in making the application sustainable and hack-proof in this challenging scenario. User login authentication, firewall testing, and user data encryptions are critical measures in healthcare software testing to ensure application security.
4. Big Data testing
Healthcare deals with tons of data related to the patient, health records, treatment history, and a lot more. This data is crucial for healthcare organizations and related segments to build relevant products and suitable device strategies. Many healthcare companies implement big data to derive the proper inferences and make informed business decisions related to disease cure, drug inventions, research and development, and alike. The software testing ensures flawless implementation of big data and leads to expected outcomes of the healthcare application.
5. Usability Testing
Usability testing is critical for healthcare software as it deals with multiple user scenarios that doctors, nurses, and pharmacists face every day. These tasks can be eased with the automation of tedious processes. The user experience of healthcare software, apps, and medical devices can also be enhanced with much-needed usability testing methods.
6. Effective Implementation
Healthcare organizations need to ensure increased productivity and efficiency to serve the patients in a better manner. With the increasing complexity of applications, it is vital to ensure that they function seamlessly without any interruptions. Healthcare software testing ensures that all the software nodes work effectively and provide a holistic experience to the users.
7. HIPAA Compliance
Healthcare companies need to comply with various healthcare industry laws, including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations. The main components of this compliance include health insurance coverage, privacy and security of health data within the healthcare applications, user authorization and authentication, audit trail information, data encryption at transfer points.
Healthcare Application Testing – Test Scenarios
Some of the sample test scenarios include:
· The application should allow to enter, edit, and save the data of providers.
· The positive flow system testing includes scenarios to enter different healthcare providers, save, change, and inquire about them.
· The negative flow system includes scenarios to save the provider details with incomplete data and enter duplicate provider data in the system.
· System integration testing includes scenarios to validate the feed to different systems such as provider portal, claim, and finance system.
· The application should allow entering, editing, saving brokers’ data, and calculating brokers’ commission based on the premium details fetched from the member system.
· The positive flow system testing includes scenarios to enter different healthcare providers, save, change them, and calculate commissions for active brokers.
· The negative flow system includes scenarios to save the provider details with incomplete data, enter the duplicate data, calculate the commission of terminated or invalid broker.
· System integration testing includes scenarios to validate the feed to different systems such as broker portal, member, and finance system.
Member / User:
· The member system should enrol, reinstate, terminate, and enrol members, remove dependents, process premium payments, and generate premium bills.
· The positive flow system testing should include scenarios to enrol different members, change and inquire about members, generate premium bills for active members, terminate active members, and re-enrol terminated members.
· The negative flow System testing should include scenarios to enrol members with insufficient data, generate a premium bill for terminated members.
· System integration testing includes scenarios to validate the feed to different systems such as member, provider, broker portal, member system, claim, and finance system.
Healthcare Software Testing Best Practices
Healthcare applications deal with sensitive data and multiple stakeholders. Therefore, the technology needs to provide accurate results to all the end-users. A single failure to meet the patient data security requirements and deliver results can lead to expensive consequences for your healthcare organization. This applies to any industry’s software, but in healthcare, technology is meant to save lives and improve healthcare practices. Here are the healthcare software testing best practices to ensure the top-quality performance of your healthcare application.
1. Domain Expertise
A strong tester in the healthcare industry is challenging to find as it requires a solid background of experience, required certifications, and extensive training to understand the complex healthcare architecture. The testing professionals should have healthcare domain expertise, an understanding of project requirements, and business logic to deliver effective results. Without healthcare domain expertise, the testers will spend more time understanding the workflows instead of testing the software, leading to insufficient testing, missed deadlines, and reduced software quality.
2. Requirements Gathering & Test Plan Strategies
Healthcare software is not like any other application. It has a lot of specific requirements to ensure its compliance with user-friendliness, seamless integration, strict regulations, and the ability to provide data security and privacy. Healthcare applications need to fulfil the requirements of providers (healthcare organizations), healthcare recipients (patients), intermediaries (insurance and finance companies), regulatory authorities (HIPAA), and solution providers (medical equipment). And all of this can only be achieved if you have the right test plan strategy. The healthcare software testing plan must verify that the requirements pass the vulnerability assessment, penetration and performance testing, user experience testing, conformance testing, and localization testing.
3. Setting Security Standards
Since the healthcare industry is known for its heavy monitoring needs, government bodies like the FDA and HIPAA have set guidelines to preserve healthcare quality and patient data security. Along with these laws, it is also essential for healthcare software to comply with other security standards like FDA, DICOM, HL7, ISO, and CMMI.
4. Set Up a Comprehensive Testing Framework
There is a lot of things to cover when it comes to healthcare software testing. Some of the elements include patient apps, medical device software, payer system, clinical records management. So, it is crucial to set up a complex and diverse testing strategy. And the success of a testing strategy depends on the proper testing framework. Some of the critical elements of the healthcare testing framework include data-driven testing, authentical validation, repetitive accuracy results, secure transmission of data despite user volume and scenario. It is highly recommended to automate your healthcare software testing. It allows you to process a large volume of data across multiple platforms, environments and operating environments without any glitches.
5. Document Everything
Well, documenting everything about your healthcare software is easier said than done. There is little time left to report it when there is so much to be tested and many on-the-spot changes. But taking out time for documentation is extremely important as it can make the whole process of healthcare software testing more manageable and more systematic. Robust documentation ensures the quality of healthcare applications and leaves no stone unturned. To save time and effort, you can implement the documentation practice from the initial stages of the project. Develop templates for every kind of documentation to keep record-keeping consistent and make it easy for your team.
Automate Your Healthcare Software Testing Today
We live in a technology-dependent world, and after the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry cannot function without relevant technologies. That’s why it is vital to have an efficient, secure, and compliant healthcare application capable of handling a large amount of data and improving patient care experiences.
Surely, healthcare entered a new era of technology, but one thing that remained constant is the devastating repercussions of manual mistakes. To avoid this, healthcare applications should be thoroughly tested with test automation.
If your team is new to test automation? QAonCloud’s healthcare software testing services can help you with specialized expertise in the healthcare domain and test automation practices. Get in touch with us today.