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QASource Blog Unique Pain Points for Healthcare Domain Testing: Part 1

Unique Pain Points for Healthcare Domain Testing: Part 1

Healthcare Software Testing | By Brandon Getty | December 26, 2018
Unique Pain Points for Healthcare Domain Testing: Part 1

When it comes to building and testing software products, the healthcare domain is one of the most rigorous and unique areas to work. Product companies in this space are helping doctors, patients, and other medical professionals reimagine what’s possible with wearable technology, hospital indexing systems, and countless other innovations.

The complexity of these new products demands testing that is thorough and stringent, as the quality can directly impact a patient’s life. Other high-stakes factors to consider are the cost and worth of the product to the customer, the protection of private and confidential patient data, and the safety of all patients or caregivers who interface with the product.

In this three-part blog series, we’ll explore the pain points that are unique to healthcare software testing, and explore their solutions.

Lack of domain expertise

Healthcare projects have a complex architecture, multiple workflows, and large volumes of data. Testers must have the right training and required certifications so that they have a clear understanding of the business workflows, make informed decisions, and can find the root cause of an issue.

Pain points

  • If the subject matter experts lack the qualifications, instead of spending time discussing the substance of clinical content, they will waste time trying to understand how the system works.

  • Poor training can also cause teams to miss defined timelines, which indirectly affects business flow, patient report generation, and medical reimbursements.

Solutions

Domain knowledge is a must for QA professionals if they want to deliver an error-free application. This can be well achieved by following the approaches such as:

  1. Adequate product training of the engineers.

  2. In-depth understanding of the requirements and business logic.

  3. Conducting timebox sessions and exploratory testing to understand the applications better.

  4. Making logical progression as each question/answer will lead to the next logical question.

  5. At the learning stage, don’t raise direct defects - instead raise questions to confirm understanding from the business analyst or product owner.

  6. Resources need to be flexible enough to inherit and grasp new technologies and tools, continuous expansion of testing skill sets will be required.

Healthcare standards

As mentioned, the healthcare space is heavily monitored and standardized - for good reason. HIPAA, the FDA, and other governing bodies ensure that standards preserving the quality of care and the security of patient data are upheld. Because of the strictness of healthcare software testing, some pain points come up.

Pain points

  • Interoperability of electronic health information and inadequacy in testing.

  • Testers need to have appropriate information of various standards like FDA, ISO, HL7, CMMI, etc., to ensure that applications adhere to proper standards including:

    • Conformance Standards (data standardization)

    • Transport Standards (address the messages format exchanged)

    • Terminologies Standards (effective communication)

    • Security Standards (administrative, physical, and technical actions to protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of  health information)

Solutions

Despite the above-listed challenges, your QA team can overcome them by taking some effective measures:

  1. Performing comprehensive healthcare application testing by adhering the rules and regulations of each healthcare standard being used in the application.

  2. Thorough functional testing using superlative sender and receiver tools will help verify correct information is being transmitted and ensuring the terminologies and lab codes being used are as per the healthcare standards.

  3. Ensuring sensitive information being shared via healthcare application like billing records and medical records is secure by performing end-to-end testing.

Data migration

New technologies emerge every day. As a result, healthcare companies migrate to improved platforms for new features, better functionality, delightful user experience, and increased security and reliability. The benefit is there, but it comes along with a risk—how to transfer the data over?

Transferring massive amounts of data is a challenge for any enterprise environment since any interruptions or issues with data storage compatibility can expose sensitive healthcare data, loss of patient data and hinder privacy. Below are some of the challenges that come with migrating healthcare data from the legacy platform to the new one.

Pain points

  • QA teams are majorly affected by migration tasks since they need to work closely on resource planning. This includes hiring of new resources with the required skill set for migration, along with retaining the existing members for testing legacy applications and understanding new application workflows based on current business logic.

  • Adhering to project timelines.

  • Re-factorization of existing test suites and creation of new test suites from scratch, as per new applications/platform, which is very time-consuming.

  • Another important factor is testing data profiling and governance of migrated data, as failure to do so may lead to data leakage.

  • There exists a high risk of major data loss for data kept in transitional states, so precise transitional testing is needed.

  • Maintaining automation suites of legacy applications is yet another additional effort.

Solutions

  1. During data migration, efficiently recruiting, managing, retaining, and re-deploying talent to ensure team effectiveness according to current and future business priorities is a must.

  2. QA teams must analyze the current processes and decide what all changes are required in all testing phases, so as to minimize above pain points.

  3. Close analysis of all the QA process tools that will be used with the new platform.

  4. Accurate effort analysis, along with timely communication of any risks or delays to the customer is significant.

  5. A successful migration is not possible unless everyone is aware of what’s happening. So open communication and transparency between all teams is recommended.

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