- August 23, 2019
- Posted by: Sagar
- Category: Blogs
Driven by the need to provide a smoother customer experience and better care, the healthcare industry has seen a huge shift towards the digitization of healthcare. This has been driven by major breakthroughs and innovations in digitized healthcare products. The growth of healthcare products has been phenomenal as new technologies emerge regularly. Forbes predicts “Digital health tech catering to hospitals will grow by 30% and cross $25 billion.” The need for patient-centric and ‘smart’ healthcare applications is growing every day.
Obviously, these smart healthcare products and applications need to deliver extreme accuracy, consistency, and precision. Achieving that level of quality isn’t possible without comprehensive testing and quality analytics.
But the emergence of new devices, the explosive growth of sensitive health data and records, the changing dynamics of compliance and the complex ecosystem of the healthcare sector pose many challenges in the testing of smart healthcare products.
Evolving regulations, processes, and technical capabilities to deliver smart healthcare applications create a complex mix of circumstances for those making these smart healthcare products to navigate. The task is magnified by the magnitude and complexity of the healthcare industry.
Apart from these conditions impacting the healthcare space, there is a unique testing complexity driven by the widely differing needs of the users of the healthcare products. Most research indicates that patients want more patient-centric features like ease of access, convenience, and similar issues related to improved patient experience. But most doctors, the other key users of the technology, want that the technology should not come in the way of their interactions with the patient, that it should be easy to use, and non-disruptive to their normal schedules. Also, these solutions have to factor in the usual things like data security, business and financial operational workflows, and integrations. This makes these products and solutions complex. It naturally follows that testing them becomes extremely complex too.
The magnitude and complexity driven by the growth of new technology and the rising demand for high availability of healthcare services demand comprehensive testing. Here’s the complexity testing must factor in:
Validation of workflows
Healthcare products and applications need to deliver high precision performance and service across environments and over the entire care process. For instance, a hospital application, which registers a new patient must function accurately by taking all the patient’s information to store it into its database. This information should then be available to the treating doctor, the other caregivers, the labs, the pharmacies, and even for follow-up treatments procedures. High-quality testing and validation of the different workflows alone can ensure the desired impact over the cycle.
Since healthcare applications deal with sensitive health-related data, they need to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements that ensure the protection of patient information. Any leakage of data could result in a violation of HIPAA and security breaches. Compliance impacts processes, record-keeping, data management, and several other operational aspects. Testing smart healthcare products must factor in these issues to ensure the products and solutions don’t fall foul of important regulations while in use.
Protection of sensitive data
Leveraging tons of sensitive health data, healthcare products are built to deliver informed decisions regarding usage of drugs, diagnosis and cure, risk factors, treatment outcomes, and readmission information. Healthcare applications need to ensure the safety of customer health records against cyber threats and mishandling. Also, this data flows across groups and departments. So, it becomes necessary to test healthcare applications for data accuracy, consistency, security, and stability. Security testing makes the products immune to vulnerabilities and usable across all channels.
User experience of products
Doctors, patients, nurses, and other hospital staff are conditioned by the user experiences the mobile and web world provides them each day. They expect similar seamless, intuitive, and high-quality experiences from their healthcare too. Testing is a must to ensure the provision of such user experiences. Appropriate test coverage, multi-device, cross-platform, and browser compatibility are some testing methods to factor in. Smart healthcare products deliver great user experiences on the back of usability testing. Usability testing enhances the usability of health care applications and products.
The healthcare sector operates in a mix of heterogeneous environments where smart devices interact with human minds to deliver better patient outcomes. Healthcare products must be able to interoperate between devices, workflows, and systems. They must do so while they protect data and comply with regulations and standards. Ensuring all this involves diligent testing.
Better quality of care
In the end, it’s all about providing better quality of care to the patients. Healthcare products and applications must enable doctors to serve patients better. They must function without any issue or disruption. But as products are getting more and more complex, quality assurance strategies need to ramp up. They need to ensure the products provide a tightly-integrated user experience and ensure the availability of patient data where required and when required.
In the digital age, healthcare products and applications need to be smarter and function efficiently in any environment. They must comply with regulations and standards. They should be flexible to adapt to any changes or updates in the regulatory environment. They must ensure the protection of sensitive health records and information. And they must deliver an outstanding patient experience while enabling the doctors to provide quality care. Even though there are many demands made of healthcare applications, these parameters can be achieved with a comprehensive and coherent testing strategy. This will help the smart healthcare products create an environment where patients get the quality of care that they deserve.