In the present setting of hyper-competitive environment, the survival of any business hinges on its ability to handle the competition while keeping track of the latest technological trends relevant to its operations and utilizing them effectively with the aim of becoming a profitable venture. As such, the healthcare industry is not insulated from the changing trends. “Goldman Sachs says the digital revolution could save healthcare providers $300 billion. It’s clear that smartphone technology and mobile apps are going to continue to reshape healthcare.”
Think about any product or place or activity you would like, and I am sure you will find a relevant app for that. Say, for example, from banking to e-commerce, entertainment, there’s an app covering a wide variety of services, and the healthcare industry is no longer an exception. Moreover, they started to introduce mobile platforms across the care delivery cycle, creating a voluminous medical app market.
Have you come across the term mhealth? It’s a rare practice that allows people to access quality healthcare services through software applications installed on their mobile devices such as smartphones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), etc. Mainly used for disease surveillance, treatment support, diagnosing ailments, and tracking medical progress for patients, these mhealth apps seem to have gained a sudden momentum. Medisafe, ChronicCareIQ, and WebMD Symptom Checker are some of the best mHealth apps in the market.
Speed and quality are the two major aspects used in serving the healthcare sector effectively, do you agree? But at the same time there are several undying challenges demanding of the sector having led to major inventions and enhancements. However, there are various questions concerning digitization in healthcare such as its benefits, need for advanced analytics to drive significant changes, the potential investment required, Quality Assurance and Testing, and the list goes on. Now adequacy, quality and security are some of the main concerns which must be considered before they can be securely conveyed to the clients.
One of the biggest QA challenges is getting the healthcare applications tested and accepted under certifiable conditions with an expansive and invariably developing variety of cell phones and OS versions. Below, I would like to mention specific challenges usually faced while testing healthcare applications.
1. Compliance Testing
Along with other conformance standards such as HIPAA, HL7, CCD/CDA, etc. the industry is now also working on implementing ICD-10, that will change every aspect of medical practice – from the front desk to the back office – from policies and procedures for documentation and systems.
Solution- Enroll your professionals or budding ones in online training programs just to ensure so that they can help their current clients with a smooth transition. Train your testers or QA professionals on various standards which help them to ensure that the designed application conforms to fulfill the requirements of the different standards completely.
2. Mobile Testing
It is assumed that by the end of 2015, around 500 million mobile phone users worldwide will rely upon mobiles platform to consistently utilize some health care applications; by 2018, the industry specialists expect 1.7 billion versatile consumers to utilize health care applications. These users generally include nurses, doctors, patients, pharmacists, and health care professionals. Testing healthcare apps for web and mobile compatibility is another one of the biggest challenges across the industry.
So here, what can be done is to make sure that every healthcare app is optimized for key mobile devices across multiple operating platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows phone. QA engineers must test applications keeping in mind certain aspects such as:
- Healthcare mobile applications should be intuitive, easy to use, and require less learning effort.
- It must fulfill the requirements of various standards.
- Reliable, secure, and accurate to meet consumer requirements.
- Data synced from any third party tool should be verified because of most of the healthcare applications, import data of patients from the third party.
- Furthermore, different status generation and alerts should be verified as per the clients’ needs.
- Criteria of data population against various filter tabs should be completely verified on all devices as requested.
- Roles and workflows should be tested accurately because Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and patients all have entirely different roles assigned; therefore, the test strategy should be according to their responsibilities.
- Interconnected workflows should be tested.
3. Security breaches
Being on the rise, application-level testing takes on new importance. With a range of conformance standards, security becomes a key testing area for any healthcare application.
Solution- Featuring the right set of skills and security testing tools to perform comprehensive penetration and security testing. Try contributing to security assessments in various phases such as compliance and implementations.
4. Agile Development & Testing
With healthcare development going agile day in day out. A sudden need for testers seems to be increasing to understand and adapt to the process. A tester is no more a bug hunter.
Solution- You can think of training testers with the right kind of business domain knowledge so that they can contribute above and beyond their traditional roles. Also, you can focus on equipping the team with latest dev trends, particularly SMAC.
5. Cloud, SAAS & Big Data
With the entire healthcare market shifting to the cloud, it seems a range of new testing challenges will be found waiting for us. As a result, most of us end up using more service and network virtualization to handle the cloud; evolving performance testing practices and establishing Data Quality Management practices to test data migration initiatives. QA resources will be trained to test the BI/reports & dashboard, data population against various metrics and attributes and migration & transformations of data as per the applied business rules.
6. Testing Center of Excellence
As other industries embrace the TCoE model, the health care industry also needs to make that switch. Introduction of standards, testing processes, test tools, and methods will facilitate all major kinds of testing types and hence ensure scalable and robust applications. Apart from this, healthcare apps are massive in terms of testing scope and maintenance. The best way to handle that is automation testing.