Benefits of Automation testing for healthcare applications

Medical technology plays a critical role in healthcare systems globally. It supports health care professionals in their daily activities, improves the patient experience and protects the privacy of patients.

Electronic Health record system (EHR) which supports the creation and sharing of patient information is at the heart of many health care systems. They promote the following benefits:

  1. Better, safer clinical decision making
  2. More informed and engaged patients and citizens
  3. Integration of services across care settings
  4. Increased availability of information to enable proactive management of patients and conditions
  5. Improved patient outcomes

Cerner and Epic are two of the top EHR systems used in hospitals in the US. Boston Children’s hospital IT team used CelticQA Automation testing services to improve the quality of real time data, increase confidence in the security of patient information and improve data accessibility.

Cerner Background

Cerner has been providing software to the hospital and healthcare sectors for 40 years and was acquired by Oracle in June 2022. Cerner is at the forefront of medical software development, including innovations in cloud enabled applications, AI, and machine learning. Cerner software applications improve the efficiency of medical care, allowing clinical staff to spend less time on administration and more time with patients.

Epic Background

Established in 1979, Epic develops software to help people get well and stay well. Over 250 million patients have an active electronic health record (EHR) in Epic. These Epic EHRs, maintain the history of individual patient’s healthcare, over time.

Epic software is used by hospitals, medical service providers and by patients on all types of computers and mobile devices. Patient’s and healthcare providers, use Epic software to view patient medication, test results, appointment details and medical billing information, all in one place.

Boston Children’s Hospital

One of our hospital / healthcare clients is Boston Children’s Hospital. CelticQA provided Boston Children’s Hospital with QA and test automation services for their Cerner and Epic applications. These mission critical applications are used by Boston Children’s Hospital, to support the successful delivery of patient care and manage patient EHRs.

Interoperability

Boston Children’s Hospital’s requirement was to improve software QA and test automation across over twenty different software applications, including those provided by Cerner and Epic. Key factors on this engagement, included leading, managing, testing, and validating the integrations between these applications. The automated test solution we developed, is run on all these applications, and validates end-to-end data across all applications.

Security and Privacy

Due to the obvious sensitivity of patient health related data, tests are required to validate that users have and do not have access to the appropriate data and health records. As an example, we have created automated test solutions, which verify that patients have access to their personal medical details and that medical service providers have access to the information required to do their jobs and deliver successful health care to their patients. These automated tests also validate that sensitive data is only accessible to those authorised to view it.

Realtime Data

The medical applications we have tested include applications delivering real time data to health care professionals. Data such as:

  • Which beds, in which wards, are occupied by which patients
  • Which beds are ready for patient occupation
  • Beds requiring cleaning
  • Hospital wards / beds flagged as isolation units or at risk of spreading infection
  • Appointments happening today
  • Medical staff currently available
  • Patients’ current medication.

Our automated test suites validate that this data is available to those who need it, when they need it.

Web and Mobile Environments

Data from Epic and Cerner applications is used by our client hospital and healthcare provider, patients, and staff in different environments. For example, patients access their data and required resources on desktop computers, mobile phones, and various other mobile devices. Medical staff access applications on mobile devices, desktop computers and workstation / kiosk like devices on hospital wards and nurse’s stations.

As a result, automated tests are scripted to run on various environments. Test modules are designed and created to be easily maintained and to be reusable across multiple platforms. Scripts are also created to provide for and validate how data is displayed in different formats on different devices.

Continuous Integration

Bamboo CI, Azure DevOps Jenkins and other CI servers are used to automatically run automated test suites on Cerner and Epic applications, on a daily, nightly, or weekly basis. This allows for any bugs to be found quickly, to be reported on, and dealt with before they cause any issues or are found by users.

Medical and Non-medical Messaging

Patients use the functionality of these applications to send medical and non-medical messages to hospital and healthcare provider staff. Our automated test suites test the process of sending messages, validate that messages are available and visible to the correct people, in the correct folders and that they are not visible in locations where they are not supposed to be. The process of removing test messages is also scripted to ensure that applications on the various environments do not contain test messages at the end of the test run.

Audit Trail

Due to the critical nature of medical software applications and the strict compliance regulation within the healthcare industry, an audit trail is required for the QA and testing of these applications.

Our automated test suites produce, log and store detailed test reports at the end of each test run. Reports include summary information on tests passed and failed, together with more detailed information on each test step.

By analysing these reports, compliance and management teams have a clear view of the state of these applications at a particular point in time. Test reports also include screenshots of various screens and actual values presented on the applications, throughout the test runs. Video recordings of test runs can be automatically captured and stored with all test reports.

Automation Outcomes

The implementation of test automation solutions, on medical applications including those provided by Cerner and Epic has yielded the following positive outcomes for our hospital, healthcare, and medical clients:

  • Increased test coverage.
  • Significant time and cost savings on manual testing.
  • QA and Business staff time freed up for exploratory testing and other strategic activities.
  • Bugs found much earlier, resulting in significant development cost savings, improved reputation and less inconvenience to users and customers.
  • Daily and weekly scheduled automated regression test runs.
  • Automated test suites, run over a broad range of apps, validating critical integrations of client systems.
  • Automated test runs on different production, development, and test environments. Allowing new builds to be tested quickly and efficiently, prior to production releases.
  • An audit trail of test run reports, with detailed screenshots and validation results for every test suite, test case and test step.

Automation testing is key to increasing the quality, speed, and velocity of releases. Allowing IT teams to reduce the amount of time doing repetitive testing which in turn frees up people to work on other priorities/ projects. It also increases the IT’s team’s ability to react to changes quickly helping them build their flexibility muscle.

Automation testing may sound simple, however simple is not to be confused with easy. It takes knowledge and experience to build the right framework that allows for rapid implementation and easy maintenance to deliver automated scripts that deliver a meaningful result for all stakeholders.

CelticQA Solutions have supported many IT teams to build, implement and maintain end-to-end QA testing / automation solutions, and successfully integrate QA processes into their development lifecycles. We specialise in QA Process Maturity, Automation (test and RPA) and Independent Validation and Verification project leadership.

We would be happy to have a chat about how CelticQA Solutions can help you improve and evolve your QA testing function. Check us out for more information at www.celticqa.com or contact us at info@celticqa.com. 

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About Us

CelticQA solutions is a global provider of  Integrated QA testing solutions for software systems. We partner with CIO’s and their teams to help them increase the quality, speed and velocity of software releases.  

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