Healthcare application testing guide

Healthcare Application Testing: Comprehensive Guide 2023

Two years ago, the average cost of a software data breach for US medical businesses was $8.64 million (Source). Failing to establish interoperability among apps could result in losses exceeding a billion dollars. Additionally, if a medical website performs poorly, it can lead to a loss of 53% of users. To avoid such losses, healthcare companies can turn to healthcare application testing. By utilizing the expertise of QA specialists, vulnerabilities in software can be identified and addressed. This ensures the launch of a secure, efficient, and user-friendly product that adds genuine value to patient care services. KPi-Tech, with its extensive experience in healthcare application testing, offers quality assurance services to assist businesses in this domain.

Quality assurance in healthcare: 6 Essential considerations

In healthcare, quality assurance involves considering six essential factors. The approach to QA services varies based on the specific project requirements, determining the necessary tech stack. Manual app reviews using tools like Postman and Apache JMeter are used in some cases, while automation software like Jest is employed in others.

Despite the diverse nature of medical software testing, certain app features must be thoroughly reviewed to ensure the delivery of a high-quality medical product. Let's explore the most crucial considerations for software testing in the healthcare domain.

  1. Security and compliance testing

    In the medical technology industry, adhering to regulations like HIPAA is crucial to safeguard private health information (PHI) stored in medical software. Even minor vulnerabilities can result in significant data breaches, leading to potential fines and liabilities. To ensure the security of medical software and compliance with regulations, healthcare testing plays a vital role. Automated testing helps identify any weak points in the software's endpoints, ensuring proper authorization and access permissions. Additionally, healthcare application testing specialists assess whether the software implements Transport Layer Security (TLS), which encrypts communication between web applications and servers. By conducting thorough security and compliance testing, healthcare organizations can protect sensitive data and mitigate potential vulnerabilities in their software.

  2. UI/UX healthcare application testing

    A poor UI/UX design can negatively impact a healthcare product, especially for older users unfamiliar with technology. UI/UX healthcare testing ensures an intuitive and user-friendly design, addressing any navigation challenges. It involves two stages: static testing, which reviews the non-dynamic app design, and dynamic testing, which evaluates the app's performance under various conditions. Various approaches can be employed for healthcare application testing. Overall, this testing ensures the development of a highly usable application for a wide range of users.

  3. Medical device testing

    Ensuring the reliability and performance of IoT systems is crucial in the medical industry. Medical device software testing is the key to securing these systems and addressing issues like connectivity and data inconsistencies. By reviewing the functionality and connectivity of medical device databases, such as InfluxDB, QA specialists ensure the preservation of medical device data and optimal system performance.

  4. Interoperability healthcare IT testing

    Interoperability is gaining traction in healthcare as systems become more complex. Compliance with regulations set by influential organizations like ONC and CMS is vital for participating in incentive programs. Healthcare software testing identifies and resolves issues that hinder app and platform interoperability. QA specialists use manual requests to examine data exchange instances, ensure compatibility with the FHIR standard, and test connectivity with third-party services. By verifying the interoperability of medical software solutions, healthcare IT systems can function seamlessly and exchange data efficiently.

  5. Performance testing

    In healthcare, where speed and efficiency are critical, performance testing is vital to identify glitches and ensure compliance with productivity requirements. By evaluating factors like location, device, connection quality, and user load, performance healthcare IT testing helps developers create scalable apps that run smoothly under various conditions. Performance testing in healthcare involves different scenarios and utilizes tools like Apache JMeter to measure app productivity. Manual testing software like Postman is also used to simulate requests sent to app endpoints and third-party services, replicating various data loads and operating systems. This type of medical software testing helps identify potential performance issues and ensure proper app functionality.

  6. Other types of testing

    In addition to the aforementioned types of testing for medical devices, there are other testing approaches based on project specifications. These additional testing methods ensure comprehensive evaluation of medical apps from various perspectives.

    • Functional testing: Validates that the app performs as expected and meets the functional requirements, even in uncommon scenarios.
    • Cross-browser testing: Ensures consistent performance and compatibility across different web browsers, operating systems, and devices.
    • Mobile version verification: Focuses on testing the app's functionality and performance specifically on mobile devices.
    • System integration testing: Tests the interaction and integration of different components of the medical software to ensure seamless operation.
    • Positive and negative testing: Involves testing the app with valid and invalid inputs to verify proper behavior and error handling in different scenarios.

Why should you implement quality assurance in Healthcare IT?

A minor technical issue can turn a client away from your product. However, in the healthcare industry, the outcomes of such problems are even more significant, as the price of a mistake can be a patient's health. Surely medical software faults do not necessarily ruin the entire process of patient care. However, they may be damaging to healthcare businesses in many other ways. Here are the most common medical software implementation issues:

  • Non-compliance with medical interoperability regulations mandated by ONC or CMS, resulting in exclusion from lucrative insurance programs.
  • Breaches in security can lead to substantial penalties due to non-compliance with HIPAA requirements.
  • Errors in medical data leading to incorrect decisions by healthcare practitioners.
  • Inconsistencies in data causing delays in software release or disruption of existing applications.
  • User interface and user experience (UI/UX) design problems that create inconvenience for application users.
  • Variations in software performance across different devices or operating systems.
  • Challenges with connectivity of medical device software, causing disruptions in patient monitoring.

Implementation issues that might occur with your medical software depend on many factors, and the exact type of healthcare software is one of them. Regardless of the type of software, the best course of action is to prepare for as many outcomes as possible before starting QA testing in healthcare.

What type of healthcare software should you test?

When it comes to testing healthcare software, there are several categories that require attention. These categories include:

  1. Healthcare mobile apps

    These are applications designed for use on mobile devices, such as telemedicine apps, personal health management apps, and medical reference apps. Testing mobile healthcare apps should focus on usability, user experience, and ensuring smooth functionality.

  2. Healthcare web apps

    These are web-based applications, including electronic health records, medical reference databases, and patient portals. Testing web apps involves assessing their complexity, feature set, and compatibility across different browsers and devices.

  3. Healthcare desktop software

    This category includes software used on desktops and laptops, such as clinical decision support systems and practice management software. Testing desktop software should prioritize interoperability with other systems used in a professional healthcare setting.

  4. Medical device software

    This type of software is integrated directly with medical devices, such as insulin pumps or diagnostic software for imaging machines. Testing medical device software is critical as it directly impacts the treatment process and patient outcomes. Rigorous testing is required to ensure functionality, security, and adherence to regulatory standards.

Regardless of the category, healthcare software testing should encompass various aspects, including compliance testing, performance analysis, security testing, and more. By implementing thorough quality assurance measures, healthcare organizations can protect their reputation, avoid non-compliance fines, and mitigate potential liabilities associated with medical software.

What are the Challenges in healthcare app testing

Challenges in healthcare app testing are influenced by the unique characteristics of the healthcare industry and the sensitivity of patient data. Here are the key challenges faced in testing healthcare applications:

  1. Security and data privacy

    Healthcare apps handle sensitive personal information, making security and privacy crucial concerns. Compliance with industry regulations and protection against breaches are essential. Users prioritize security and privacy in healthcare apps, and ensuring robust security measures is of utmost importance

  2. Complexity of testing healthcare applications

    Testing medical apps is more complex compared to other software types due to factors such as interoperability, compliance requirements, and data accuracy. Specialized expertise may be required to address these complexities effectively. Outsourcing testing to software QA experts can help manage the challenges efficiently.

  3. Clinical accuracy

    Healthcare applications must demonstrate clinical accuracy, which adds an additional layer of challenge to the testing process. Users, including patients and medical professionals, have concerns about the reliability of healthcare apps in providing accurate medical advice. Ensuring the accuracy and reliability of medical content and features is crucial to build trust and confidence in healthcare apps.

To overcome these challenges, it is important to prioritize security and privacy measures, engage specialized expertise in healthcare software testing, and conduct thorough validation of clinical accuracy. By addressing these challenges effectively, healthcare organizations can develop high-quality, secure, and reliable apps that meet the needs of users while complying with industry regulations.

Final Thoughts

Having a deep understanding of healthcare domain testing essentials and recognizing the significance of quality assurance in healthcare is crucial. However, this knowledge alone is insufficient without the expertise of QA medical specialists who can thoroughly assess your application and identify any vulnerabilities it may have. Outsourcing medical software testing to reliable software engineering professionals is often the optimal solution.

KPi-Tech is a trusted Healthcare IT Service provider with comprehensive expertise in all aspects of quality assurance services for medical software. We have a proven track record in developing solutions for various types of healthcare software, including mobile apps, web apps, desktop software, and medical device software.

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