We will start with the conventional computer applications first.
Think of a business, a good business with handsome earnings, a great process design, long list of loyal customers, and a great line of products and services.
Now, think of a software engineer who wishes to automate processes of that business, imagine how critically that engineer needs to evaluate the processes, how the test automation codes will be written, what kind of user stories, scenarios, and cases will be created? Because whatever that business does, will be written, tested and executed within these lines of codes, cases, stories, scripts, interfaces, and test executions, same goes for the developers who will code, and the business analysts who will implement.
Do you get the point? Can you feel the pressure on the testers, business analysts, and developer? Can you understand the creativity and the importance of building the right application?
The software is a true reflection in an efficient form of what the business is doing manually – and that’s the whole essence of this industry. This conversion of systems result in the worst and best software solutions we come across every day. This is what we test and assure so that we shed the burden with the developers and business analysts, and at the end, the client enjoys risk-free software – just like they used to when things were not executed on technology.
Healthcare applications, what matters?
Considering the above analogy, we now understand the importance of software applications gelling up with an existing system to an extent that the users become efficient and the changes they face do not put things in difficulty for them.
Healthcare has developed itself into an important domain within the past 10 years. The realm did create its presence with applications providing information, guidance and even consultancies to its visitors, alongside an extended face and market segments to doctors, clinics, hospitals, and even academia.
To understand how critical development and testing of healthcare application can get, we need to understand the sensitivity of the human interaction with these applications.
A sensitive area:
When do you visit or access a healthcare website or application? The answer is simple, yet it is also very important to understand that in most cases we are visiting or accessing healthcare application or a website that provides medical advice, is when we are in need of medical attention or we have certain questions regarding our own or health or someone we care about.
This is the very area testers are required to test, so one can relate to the sensitivity and the importance of the information. The information that is inputted, processed, and is projected using the applications within healthcare domain.
It is a good business:
Also to be noted here, that past five years or so, the world has witnessed a grand rise in the startups. We have also seen that one of the most sellable ideas which have proven the test of time is actually healthcare and the singular reason behind this is the outreach of doctors and medicine to the patients who cannot get to a doctor due to a number of geological and physical constraints.
Testing Healthcare Applications:
Cutting back to testers, the first thing that is required here is the domain experience and knowledge of how a healthcare system works? Who are its users and what kind of information is processed by this application?
Also, it is not necessary that the users of this application are trained computer professionals, so the user experience while developing a healthcare application is also a key factor. For example, there is a dual mode solution which works in creating a bridge between the patients and doctors, where the patients can seek out their desired doctors on the basis of their locations, specialties, and let’s admit, the fee.
Once the patient finds the doctor, the system lets them connect with several options, for example, phone, email, live chat, Skype, and social media. Patients can also rate their doctors on the basis of their experience. Once the doctor and patient relationship is established, the application can track the record and can act “smartly”, in providing doctors, patients, and any other person with the information regarding the treatment.
For testers, the element of touchpoints among the patients and doctors and the follow-through of the process is a critical area to test. Since there are multiple doctors onboard one single platform, the selection and priority will matter to the doctors – as they are relying on recurrence of their practices with more efficiency now. On the other hand, the patients are relying on the right information at the right time, or for them, it can be a situation of life and death – you may have heard a few cases in the past.
We may also find this trivial at some points, but the availability is also a key factor in testing healthcare applications. For example, if the site or the application is not tested under the factors of performance criteria, the resultant will represent the same effect on patients as a closed clinic or an emergency room with no doctors to treat them. In the United States, the healthcare dot org failed on performance and load issues and was not available for millions of patients throughout the country, resulting in a serious critical situation.
Information security aspects are also very critical while testing healthcare applications, for example, the sensitivity of the data in case of online treatments, telemedicine, and prescription records, are undeniably important information, which in the case of its unavailability or theft can even result in criminal prosecution.
Grasping the realities of healthcare domain actually works effectively for testers, because once they are aware of the importance of the domain and how an error can affect the lives of millions of people who are associated with this domain, can actually make testers to leave the known side of the domain, and explore the unknown side of the domain – where the important bugs are waiting to be discovered.