Why is healthcare testing different?
The healthcare IT market is on an all-time rise. Numerous reports indicate that the healthcare IT market will grow tremendously over the next few years. Government initiatives and the global drive for digitization are vital factors helping the healthcare IT market advance. More investments open up more avenues for businesses to build better healthcare applications, and more healthcare applications mean more dependencies on tailored healthcare application testing solutions.
Healthcare software testing is considered crucial, like any other testing; however, it is also classified as unique for various reasons. Compared to standard quality assurance of regular application testing, the requirements and challenges of healthcare software testing are special. Testers must pay close attention to these products as the healthcare system consists of different levels of stakeholders. If the application testing turns out to be inadequate in any way, it can be detrimental to a large degree.
Understanding healthcare software testing
Applications ultimately set out to achieve a seamless and reliable user experience. However, when it comes to healthcare applications, it gets slightly complicated with the added challenge of several categories of actors directly impacted by the application. Some of the key players are providers (hospitals, clinics), receivers (patients), intermediaries (insurance companies), regulatory bodies, and solution suppliers. With such varying users, it gets tricky for testers to focus on every single factor and deliver high-quality software products.
This is mainly why most healthcare software testers follow a general approach where the application must have at least five (at times six) different types of tests. Tests such as:
a) Compliance and security testing
Protecting the patient’s data from outside access has always been a priority in the healthcare sector. In 1996, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations were brought around. The healthcare provider would be accountable for private health information (PHI) in their medical software. As avoiding data leaks becomes crucial, they also face the threat of fines of up to $1.5 million or liability if PHI is not met. Healthcare security testing is vital because it ensures that access and authorization permissions are protected across all app endpoints.
b) UI/UX healthcare application testing
A good UI/UX design can save your product, even if it is class apart. This is especially relevant in healthcare software applications. Designers must keep in mind that many of their users would need help with using several of the technologies that are present today. Similarly, some users are digitally savvy and demand innovative UI in their applications. Ergo, it becomes essential for testers to keep these different needs in mind to deliver personalised and improved user experience.
c) Medical device testing
What can an individual in the healthcare sector do when an app fails to connect with a device? Or when a wearable is connected to the system but fails to communicate data? Medical device testing is usually executed to foresee and avoid such events and ensure to solve such or many problems.
d) Interoperability of healthcare IT testing
With an increase in electronic health record systems, there was a spike in interoperability processes. There exist various types of interoperability in the healthcare sector. And as interoperability gained momentum, the need for testing them also grew.
f) Other types of testing
In addition to the testing mentioned above, healthcare software applications can also be put through various sets of testing such as– performance testing, functional testing, positive & negative testing, and more.
Why is implementing Quality Assurance in medicine important?
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the global market for cyber healthcare security increased from $15.79 billion in 2022 to $18.83 billion in 2023. A small technical problem can be extremely grave. However, these issues in the healthcare sector could be severe and even cost a patient their health. Undoubtedly, errors in medical software do not necessarily mean that patient treatment is made obsolete. But they harm the healthcare sector in a variety of other ways. Regardless of the kind of healthcare application being developed, the best course of action is to plan for as many outcomes as possible by conducting a series of testing.