Automation gives internal IT teams a big boost; expands enterprise application testing coverage
There’s a reason working in hospitals is sometimes compared to being in a war zone. It can be as frenetic and unpredictable, and if you find yourself in either setting, you’ll soon be assigned monumental responsibilities.
Increasingly, that’s not just for clinical workers. In today’s technology-dependent healthcare organization, internal IT teams are pulled in countless different directions—managing the latest system upgrades, keeping ahead of potential security threats, integrating systems post-mergers and acquisitions activity…the list goes on.
While these are all consequential tasks, one of the most essential responsibilities for IT frequently goes unchecked — regular, comprehensive testing of the systems everyone in the healthcare organization depends on. Especially EHRs. A single defective workflow can put patient safety or revenue at real risk. As these errors and defects add up, system users, particularly clinicians, can quickly grow distrustful of the system.
Despite what’s at stake, the majority of healthcare organizations don’t have the internal resources to test these systems thoroughly and at a regular cadence. Moreover, testing a system across an entire healthcare system is complex, even for the few organizations with a dedicated testing team in place.
Automation: A powerful “force multiplier” for testing
More and more, hospitals are applying intelligent automation to solve these business and clinical challenges, and testing is one of the latest examples. And what have they discovered? Advanced, automated testing tools can significantly increase a single IT staffer’s testing capabilities.
To borrow another military analogy, think of automation as a “force multiplier”—which in military terms, refers to a strategy or device that increases something’s or someone’s power. Correctly deployed, automated testing tools give our single IT staffer the same testing acumen and coverage as ten or even more staffers performing manual testing.
Additional compelling benefits to replace manual, inconsistent testing with automation:
• Decreases test scripting efforts • Helps eliminate human error and knowledge limitations • Automates exploratory testing and user journeys not previously considered • Minimizes testing time and disruption—can run thousands of parallel tests at once
The link between regular application testing and safety
At the end of the day, patient safety is everyone’s first priority.
In a well-known report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and the American Medical Association, “real world testing” of electronic health record systems was a key recommendation for system safety and usability.
This means testing EHRs already in use--which is the responsibility of the provider or payer where the system is deployed. Such testing has historically been a resource-intensive and sporadic effort, but automation can put an efficient and consistent testing schedule on track. In healthcare, that’s one very important battle won.
With more than 25 years’ experience in the healthcare industry, Tanya has a strong track record of managing and building solution practices, including testing and go-live/activation. At CTG, she leads the North American Testing practice.