QA in the healthcare industry

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Health information technology is the area of IT that involves the design, development, creation, use and maintenance of information systems for the healthcare industry. These systems improve medical care by increasing efficiency, reducing costs and errors, and contributing to patient satisfaction. Today, the market for medical software is rapidly growing. It includes electronic health records (EHR), healthcare CRM, mobile apps for medical staff and more,

Medical products must guarantee thoroughness and exactness. Which demands extensive testing of medical applications. The expensive research and development, continuously changing rules and high competition, require the health care industry to focus on quality. Thus, arises the need for diligent testing of health software.

Software convenience and security concerns in healthcare are the top requests. It’s about interoperability and user-friendly interface. In this article, we indicate the main focus of healthcare software testing.

Protection of sensitive data

Healthcare software deals with sensitive personal health information (PHI). This is a subject to cyber attacks. There are legal sources to rely upon, such as:

– the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the U.S.

– the European Union’s (EU’s) Directive on Data Protection

– Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). They regulate patient records and other sensitive information. Engineers must have a thorough understanding of these documents to cover all regulations.

The law compliance testing concentrates on such areas:

– authentication and user authorization

– audit log

– data transfers

– information on correct/incorrect data use.

This testing partly covers security one. But both types of testing are necessary to ensure that sensitive data is protected.

Healthcare industry regulations compliance

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry controlled by particular documents and procedures. The major of them are:

– the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP)

– Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative. These documents are the basis for functional testing of health apps and workflows. Because they give legal frameworks and testing tools. Such as MESA, Gazelle or Laika.

Usability – the highest priority

The convenience of healthcare apps means a comprehensive usability testing. It is based on user scenarios for each role. And with regard to rules and regulations inherent to industry standards. The more user stories vary – the better.

As health apps offer sophisticated functionality and many user roles, it is crucial to track dependencies. Engineers provide a test case management system. It has to keep and develop a test procedure for tracking dependencies. Again with expected and unexpected results.

Usability testing emulates and checks the same examples in real-time and virtually. Automation simplifies this process. Usability testing also improves the user interface and experience of the healthcare apps.

Ensuring interoperability

The dialogue in healthcare is above all. It’s about productive patient-doctor relationships and complex information systems of industry. The main standards for data transfer in healthcare are:

– Health Level Seven (HL7),

– Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR)

– Digital Imaging And Communications In Medicine (DICOM).

Focus on mobile apps

Mobile apps are gaining popularity in the healthcare industry. They save time and solve many healthcare questions.

And yet mobile apps set extra challenges for QA engineers. The work of mobile apps depends on outer conditions. Thus, require comprehensive load and performance testing. We suggest simulating real conditions. They assure the app won’t fail in an ordinary environment.

Domain and System Understanding

QA engineers should have appropriate knowledge of the functionality, the usage and the environment in which the software will be used. All forms and error messages should use specific industry naming procedures. Testers should study relevant sources of medical information.

Summary

QA testing in the healthcare industry requires agility and experienced testers. They must have expertise in data integrity, data scrubbing and database queries. Also, they must be able to implement automation to generate data and AI. This is to reduce the risks related to testing in the healthcare industry.

By Julia Irtegova for QArtrock

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