Healthcare is a sensitive industry. Medical timeliness is pivotal to its functioning. The medical processes are complex. Technological advancements and changes in regulations require constant updates to software systems. Patient care is crucial to a good society. Healthcare systems have to fulfill government regulations concerning all these matters. As a result, testing for healthcare apps isn’t a standard process. It is an evolving one.
We list some challenges that come up in healthcare app testing:
Variation in user expectations
Healthcare apps are used by patients and medical professionals. Their needs are diverse. Healthcare apps should support multiple needs. A healthcare software testing company should carefully assess the needs of app users. For example, a diabetes patient would like to connect the app to his glucometer to upload results. A pharmacist’s interest would lie in keeping tracking of drugs in stock and updating them accordingly to hospitals and clinics they are supplying to. A doctor would want easy access to health charts and lab results of patients. Administrative staff would want to maintain patient records, billings and so on.
Sensitive healthcare data
A healthcare software testing company has to ensure the app is safe from hacks. Healthcare apps are more prone to cyber crimes because of the sensitive and confidential data involved. A 2018 Horizon Report notes that 100% of web applications tied with critical health data are vulnerable to cyber threats. The apps must meet the standards set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). According to this act, testing methods should cover security in user authorization, access control, encrypted data transfers, data sanitization, structured test data approach, audit trail, and loading balancing.
Healthcare apps have to be integrated with healthcare systems and devices like blood pressure monitors and fitness bands. These apps are used by a variety of users. If poorly integrated, users will have difficulty in using them. The communication between patients and healthcare providers will be limited. The lack of transparency will bring down patient engagements. Without this necessary interaction, the purpose of the apps fails.
Health and Safety
Software bugs can cause equipment to fail or malfunction. This can cause injuries and even death. The epic fail of the radiation device Therac-25 in the 80s serves as a reminder for software engineering and testing in the healthcare industry. Because of software bugs, the device released radiation 125 times higher than what was configured. This caused fatalities and injuries. This story makes it clear that there is a strong need for regulations in the healthcare software industry. The health and safety of patients must not be compromised under any circumstances.
Understanding these challenges is not enough. Testers have to find solutions to address these concerns. A robust healthcare app will be friendly to all users, integrate with healthcare systems, and be secure from malware. Healthcare apps have to be continuously monitored to catch and fix defects. Without adequate testing, it is not possible to maintain an app as complex as a healthcare one.
Ray Parker is a senior marketing consultant with a knack for writing about the latest news in tech, quality assurance, software development and testing. With a decade of experience working in the tech industry, Ray now dabbles out of his New York office.