Out with Manual Testing in Healthcare, In with Automation

  • By SureTest Inc
  • September 10, 2019
Out with Manual Testing in Healthcare. In with automation

The timing couldn’t be more right for test automation in healthcare delivery. The convergence of increasingly complex IT ecosystems with more frequent vendor upgrades and releases has presented healthcare organizations with a growing number of testing challenges at a time when pouring more money into traditional manual testing is, in most cases, simply not practical. Testing the same old way is not the answer.

So, what are the primary benefits of a successful test automation approach?

The obvious (but trite) answer is, “it depends.” An organization’s specific situation and current state of testing will determine the value and tangible benefits that can be realized. However, Suretest’s extensive, diverse experience in establishing successful Test Automation as a Service (TAaaS)  programs suggest that most organizations adopting test automation achieve the same top benefits but to differing degrees, including:


It’s a no brainer.

Let’s face it: CIOs and application leads face agonizing choices when it comes to manual testing because there’s simply not enough “manual” to go around. So, for every EHR or system conversion, new release, and major upgrade they must decide what not to test and how little to test. The unfortunate reality is it’s like playing Russian roulette with an array of risks. EHR test automation can make those decisions far less agonizing by automating up to 80% or more of today’s manual testing – typically the more repetitive (yet crucial) tasks. SureTest’s Test Automation as a Service (TAaaS) program, which includes automated test scripts for functional, integrated, and performance testing, dramatically increases testing capacity, scope, and frequency at a mere fraction of the cost of attempting to do so manually.


To Err is human.

We know you know people generally hate to test. Testers would rather focus on the higher value activities than passively repeat extensive regression testing, for example. And subject matter experts (SMEs) who are willing to help test have their day jobs on their minds while doing so. The end result is a good deal of inevitable human error and shortcuts that undermine the reliability and integrity of testing results. Leveraging a test automation strategy allows people to focus on higher value, more cognitive activities while minimizing SME time away from what they do best. This not only means more testing but better testing.


Volume + Variation = Value

Along those same lines, how often do we hear someone say, for example, that they tested a particular workflow such as patient registration with “20 or 30 records?” Can we really consider something tested if the volume and variation of test data is a small fraction of what will be experienced “for real” during a single day in production? There definitely needs to be more zeros on the end of your testing quantities. SureTest’s TAaaS program accepts large-scale test data inputs via multiple formats, such as Excel, that more closely reflect reality and include rare but important data combinations so we can really “take it out for a test run.”


Testing Is Not an IT Thing.

In the end, EHR testing is all about risk. Risk reduction, to be specific. It is not about fixes, user issues, and support tickets. It is about safeguarding an organization’s revenue cycle integrity, patient safety, and clinical care. As such, a test automation approach delivers the comprehensive testing essential for preventing problems and minimizing mission-critical risks. It is no surprise that SureTest increasingly finds test automation program sponsors outside the IT department, including CMIOs and CMOs, CNIOs and CNOs, and even Chief Data Analytics Officers. We predict this trend in test automation will continue as the IT ecosystem looks beyond acute and ambulatory settings and toward population health and digital health.


Happy Testers Are Great Testers.

We’re not naïve. We know testers may can perceive initial discussions of test automation as threatening. It doesn’t take too long, however, to turn that notion around when testers understand they can contribute in a more exciting and valuable way with automation. All it usually takes is an open dialogue about everything that needs to be done to improve testing and its impact on the organization – if only there was enough time. An EHR test automation approach can free up that time and enable testers to focus on more rewarding activities that may expand and enrich them professionally.


Stop Forcing Users to Be Testers.

It is no secret that users are far more satisfied with systems when they don’t encounter bugs at almost every turn. This is especially true during the difficult go-live period. That satisfaction builds confidence and support, which leads directly to higher levels of adoption – and ultimately increased likelihood of achieving any expected objectives for the conversion, release, or upgrade. Inadequate testing erodes satisfaction and adoption. A robust test automation strategy, for all the reasons cited above, is a key ingredient to improving both.


Prevent Re-Creation Frustration.

We’ve all been there: a tester (or end user) finds a bug, reports it to the vendor, and the first words out of the vendor’s mouth are “Can you re-create the problem and send us that documentation?” Unfortunately, too often testers cannot fully repeat the problem and it goes onto a parking lot list along with a healthy dose of hope that it doesn’t recur in production. Test automation prevents this frustrating scenario. SureTest’s TAaaS program automatically captures a screenshot of both warning and fatal errors, along with a complete log of the problem, and sends that valuable information to any designated recipient to share internally or with the vendor. As such, test automation again bolsters testing results internally and externally.


The Ever-elusive, but Very Real ROI

Few would disagree that test automation is by far the most cost-effective (and effectual) path as compared to conducting additional manual testing to significantly bolster shortcomings and meet escalating testing challenges. But, what is the ROI? Surprisingly, many organizations have not really calculated their current total testing costs to include everyone involved in testing, not just testers. Additionally, many organizations turn to test automation to fill widening testing gaps rather than to replace existing resources, essentially completing more and better testing in a cheaper way than hiring individuals for the project. Taking these factors into consideration, SureTest’s TAaaS program routinely delivers significant ROI in less than a year.


Test automation is no longer a future capability for healthcare IT implementations; it’s happening now. If you pursue EHR test automation today, you’ll not only strengthen your testing capabilities but also reduce risk, increase system adoption, and ultimately achieve the ROI you desire. Test automation can also deliver several hidden benefits that enhance technology adoption and optimization over the long run.

SureTest’s Test Automation as a Service program provides end-to-end testing services that ensure you get the most out of your workflows.

Want to know more? Contact us.

This content was originally published on the Santa Rosa Consulting site.