Healthcare Software Testing
High costs of research and development combined with changing regulations and competition demand that the healthcare industry focuses on quality. This, in turn, dictates the need for rigorous healthcare application software testing. Especially when it comes to new healthcare imperatives involving patient driven and patient centered care, having the latest software means nothing if it doesn’t work or behave in such a way that makes it easy to use for both doctors, nurses, assistants and everyone in between. Quality impacts not only what your brand represents but in some instances life and death. As such, the healthcare industry strives to develop software solutions and services to support and optimize their business processes:
- Increased efficiency and productivity through implementation of healthcare systems that make the lives of patients easier while improving patient outcomes. This can be difficult as software becomes increasingly complex with more 3rd party databases and modules. These additional capabilities bring about many permutations of how users will actually use the system.
- Accuracy and security of information combined with ever-stringent HIPAA requirements. Protecting Patient Health Information needs to be bulletproof. This is especially complex when information flows between different systems and is aggregated at different levels.
- Quality through the accurate implementation of business rules requiring ZERO tolerance for error. With HL7, conforming to the interface standard is only the beginning. We all know too well that each vendor may implement the protocol differently and with multiple systems interconnected, all messages need to ensure proper integration and operability in addition to being secure.
- Improved patient relationships through business knowledge and enhanced patient experience. Improving the patient experience has become paramount in systems design, but this is a derivative of how the software interacts with doctors, nurses and health technicians. In this case, each type of user has different needs and habits. That means many permutations in user design and attention to preventing costly user errors.
Healthcare Software Testing Methodologies for HIPAA Compliance
When testing healthcare applications, there are many government regulations that the tester must be aware of. These regulations are automatically a part of any requirements, even if not explicitly stated. These regulations will be the same for all healthcare web applications so it is incumbent for any testing organization to not only thoroughly understand these regulations but also ensure that the test strategy and test plan accommodates them. For the healthcare industry in the United States, the main law for these regulations is HIPAA.
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It has two major components.
- Health insurance coverage is protected for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs.
- National standards are established for the Security and Privacy of private health data while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high-quality health care and to protect the public’s health and well-being.
Security and Privacy of private health data are the main concerns for healthcare software testing and are applicable for all healthcare applications.
To test your product for HIPAA compliance, the five following areas must be covered:
- User Authentication – Using verification methods to ensure that those logging on are who they say they are and to deny access to all others.
- User Authorization – Authorizing access to information is based on user role and patient limitations.
- Audit trail – All transactions and all attempts of data access with a proper set of audit trail information are recorded.
- Data transfers – Ensure data encryption at all transfer points according to ANSI 5010.
- Help Information – Help information on the correct and incorrect uses of data.
There are many other specific regulations that may or may not apply depending on the purpose of your software product. A few of these requirements include:
- When a breach of security is discovered, notification to the consumer affected must be within 60 days.
- Rules for a pre-existing condition are many and complicated. For example, the exclusion period for pre-existing conditions can be 6, 12, or 18 months, depending on the circumstances. These rules are complicated, but compliance must be tested for.
- Rules concerning family members are also varied and complicated.
It’s important for the test strategy and plan to include which parts of the regulations apply and to ensure that the right rules are included in test case design to guarantee proper test coverage. Without this kind of specific domain knowledge, it is difficult to test healthcare software and ensure its quality.
Testing Software for Healthcare – Pharmacy Management Software
We have been testing healthcare software, and focusing on pharmacy management software systems for years and wanted to share a few notes from our testing experience during that time.
- First of all, data needs to be precise. Since the software deals with medicine, incorrect data could result in a wrong dosage and have serious consequences, even death. So, we have to pay a lot of attention to data verification.
- Second, usability testing is very important. Some features or user scenarios are executed by pharmacists or nurses hundreds or thousands of times per day. So any inconvenience in these scenarios is critical. In addition, pharmacists don’t want to use a mouse for frequently executed tasks. They expect to use only a keyboard with lots of shortcuts.
- Predictive text input is also a powerful function in pharmacy management systems so efficiency is very important. People always want to type as few characters as possible and then have the expected result appear in a list.
- Devices play a big role in pharmacy management systems. For example, barcode scanners and printers. They all need to be tested because medicine can’t be delivered to patients without them.Mobile applications testing will become more and more important as functionality is migrated to mobile.
- Pharmacy management systems also need to communicate with other systems, e.g. insurance systems and welfare systems. These systems will confirm or reject the transaction, so communication needs to be stable and reliable.
Finally, you need to be familiar with their business. Domain knowledge is a necessity otherwise you are just pushing buttons.
Software Testing and Software Quality Assurance for Healthcare
XBOSoft’s healthcare software testing services and quality assurance consulting are based on years of experience working with our clients to understand and improve the quality of their life-critical products, including Software as a Service (SaaS) products and electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records systems along with mobile applications. In addition to EHR, our healthcare domain expertise and experience goes deep and broad, from automated drug dispensing machines to pharmacy management, EMAR, and EPCS with mobile apps syncing in the field.
Over the last ten years, we’ve been serving healthcare software clients and have gained the expertise to provide comprehensive healthcare software testing. Our software testing services enable you to focus on your business while we worry about test coverage, cross-platform, multi-device, and multi-browser compatibility.
Download this FREE Healthcare Software Testing Strategies White Paper to learn how software testers can adapt and take on complex challenges within the rapidly evolving healthcare software landscape.