Why Automated Testing Is a Game-Changer In Quality Assurance for Healthcare
The healthcare industry has a complex ecosystem that requires advanced tech solutions to both simplify the daily routines and deal with more complex tasks. These technologies, in their turn, take careful designing and testing.
When it comes to complex architecture and frequent updates — a typical case for healthcare software — test automation becomes a game-changer. Automated testing helps to minimize human error and run checkups of the entire system after the smallest code iteration without spending days for this.
Our team has some experience in testing healthcare systems and applications. And as it turns out, automation is helpful not for testing large applications only. Whenever a set of complex data comes in, automation testing services become feasible and reasonable. So I decided to tell you more about the benefits and nuances of automated testing for healthcare software.
Specific Features of Healthcare Software
Complex architecture is what makes testing the healthcare system complicated. As a rule, an application integrates several pieces of software, including at least a member system & portal and provider system & portal. Often, they should interact with the finance, broker, and claims parts.
On the other hand, healthcare software that has a less ramified structure prioritizes accuracy and preciseness. Whenever a system deals with dosage calculations, diagnosis parameters, etc., even the slightest departure is harmful to a patient’s life.
Benefits of Test Automation in the Healthcare Sector
The value automation brings usually varies depending on a particular project, but there are some features all cases have in common. Therefore, automation allows a team to do the following:
- Set up data-driven testing.
- Increase the team’s productivity.
- Get faster feedback & better insights.
- Speed up product updates & releases.
- Make testing more cost-efficient.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these points.
Set Up Data-Driven Testing
Healthcare applications deal with lots of personal data. From the point of view of a QA Automation specialist, all the names, phone numbers, emails, insurance numbers, etc. are nothing else than varying inputs.
Instead of entering every small piece of data manually for every test case, it makes more sense to create automated scripts using a data-driven framework that reads data from an external file. Thus, you will be able to minimize human error and achieve higher accuracy. You can also create extended data sets to apply multiple times.
Increase Team’s Productivity
With automation, you will be able to spend less time on repetitive tests. The users of healthcare applications and systems perform pretty much the same action repeatedly, so the tests often focus on repetitive behaviors. Automating repeated user actions allows you to both save time and check the system dependability objectively.
Also, automation makes it possible to schedule overnight checks as well as run tests on multiple platforms in parallel. That saves a lot of time and helps to allocate QA resources smartly. Although you cannot cover all the features by automated tests, you can free up specialists to run exploratory testing and inspect those parts that require manual intervention.
Get Fast Feedback and Better Insights
Test automation helps to reduce the feedback cycle, in particular, thanks to the detailed automatically generated reports. These reports feature all the test-related data, gathering which manually would take much time. Shared access to documentation gives a team a better idea of what areas require increased attention.
Test automation tools provide better insights when a test fails. During manual testing, you need to do more of the detective work. Software for test automation shows memory contents, data tables, all the internal program states, and other statistics that make it easier to determine what exactly goes on.
Speed Up Updates & Releases
Faster feedback means faster fixes and releases. Also, it is crucial to run regression tests for all the features after the slightest changes in code. We never know how new elements will affect the rest of the functionality. In healthcare, the cost of a mistake is higher than in many other fields. It’s not just profit a software bug can affect — it’s human health and lives.
For example, the regression cycle may be the most time-consuming part of the check, but it’s the part we cannot neglect. Thus, automating regression testing will facilitate checkup. And since the team will be able to verify the existing features alongside the new code at a faster pace, it will accelerate the release and updates.
Make Testing More Cost-Efficient
Automation of testing for healthcare products has a high ROI. Setting up the process requires higher investments, but it is a money-saving strategy in the long term. Firstly, automation speeds up software testing, and saving time means lower expenses as well. Secondly, the ability to perform tests faster results in quicker fixes and less expensive bugs.
What to Automate: Features & Types of Testing to Cover
A good manual test suite is always a background for successful test automation. Thus, aim to automate the tests that are valuable but difficult to run manually, tests that are repetitive, error-prone, and/or time-consuming. Below are some examples of such cases.
Regular smoke tests help to save a lot of time, so it is a highly recommended practice. By creating an automated smoke test suite, you will be able to determine if a build is stable and can proceed to further testing. A quick verification can run unsupervised while you deal with other tasks.
The first thing that comes to mind when you speak about functional testing in healthcare is calculations. They can relate to bill generation, insurance, dosage, diagnostics, etc. QA specialists can enter several sets of data to use as inputs on a regular basis and minimize human errors during testing.
It is also a common practice to automate verifications and validations. For example, you can create reusable scripts for authorization and authentication, which come hand in hand with error messaging. Again, test automation engineers can use two sets of data — one with valid inputs and the other one with improper inputs for positive and negative testing accordingly. Thus, you will be able to check how an application behaves when it receives data that shouldn’t be proceeded and with what messages it reacts to each issue.
Since healthcare software consists of numerous sub-systems, it is essential to make sure all the separate components communicate with each properly before developers connect them into a wholesome system. At this stage, we check, in particular, how member & provider apps synchronize data, how separate sequences of features work when joined together, etc.
Unlike integration, interoperability focuses on external integrations. In other words, it checks how a healthcare system interacts with third-party software — payment systems, external databases, etc. Healthcare systems are highly configured and customized to the environment they are deployed in, so test automation helps to determine whether the actual outcomes match the predicted ones across numerous configurations and scenarios faster.
Automated verification of multi-platform support is more conclusive compared to manual testing. Since a QA team can run parallel tests in different environments, the chances to reveal OS-dependent and browser-dependent bugs are higher.
Performance testing encompasses several types of checkups, including essential load tests. It is critical to check how a healthcare system behaves when during peak usage and accumulating lots of data.
Healthcare software has to meet specific legal requirements to be released. It means that every change in code requires a validation analysis as well as the analysis of its impact on the rest of the functionality. It is possible to automate the process and run the tests after every change. The recordings of test results can pass for the evidence of compliance, and you won’t need to print out a compliance report after each session. You can also use test reports signed with an electronic signature.
To Sum Up
Using automated testing in healthcare QA allows you to obtain highly accurate results and reduce the risks to patient safety. You get the software tested quickly across a variety of environments and released timely. The system is examined under user peaks and in conditions of data accumulation and, thus, is ready for scaling. In short, test automation helps to deliver software that is less error-prone and promises higher accuracy faster. What’s that if not a game-changer?