Is healthcare app testing any different from your run-of-the-mill software testing? Why is software testing essential for healthcare software applications? What kind of software tests benefit healthcare apps? And how did digital healthcare come to be?
In the past, healthcare services primarily required personal check-ups and face-to-face interactions. But in order to adapt to the changing times, health service providers began turning to digitized healthcare.
What is Digital Healthcare and How Did it Start?
The first telephone was invented in 1849, and Alexander Graham Bell won the US patent for his telephone in 1876. Just over two decades later, in 1897, the first case of telemedicine surfaced. Over the phone, a child was diagnosed with croup, an upper respiratory tract infection with a very characteristic cough.
Digital healthcare won’t progress as much in the following years. In fact, it took the world a few more decades to finally realize and work on its potential. But in 2020, the growing digital health industry received investments amounting to a total of $9.4 billion. It’s even projected to reach global investments of $64.33 billion by 2027.
Digital healthcare is an umbrella term that includes concepts and services like the following:
- Wearable devices
- Mobile health apps
Like any niche that deals with software applications, the digital health niche also benefits from software testing.
Reasons Why Healthcare Software Testing is Essential
The digital healthcare domain is a lucrative one, but it requires a high degree of quality when it comes to innovations and software applications. The industry as a whole would only accept a small margin of error, and why shouldn’t it? The lives and well-being of so many are at stake here.
Is your development team working or planning to work on a healthcare app? The development of healthcare software applications can take from a few weeks to a few years. During the development, testers and developers would work closely together to ensure app quality.
But aside from quality, there are many other reasons why comprehensive software testing is required for healthcare apps.
Reason #1: Software Testing Saves Money
Avoiding lawsuits isn’t the only way for a healthcare app developer to save money. The best and easiest way for a company like this to save money is to release apps that are functional, usable, and user-friendly. Comprehensive QA testing is the only way to ensure that apps pass these standards.
However, QA testing actually takes longer than the development itself. QA test prep begins before any actual coding happens, and the testing itself continues way after the programmers are long done coding. And everybody knows that time, effort, and manpower all cost money when it comes to business.
This is where automated testing comes in. App developers and QA testers turn to test automation to speed up testing and shorten feedback cycles. It saves QA testers hours on end-to-end and repetitive tests. Some automation testing tools even have reusable modules, self-healing features, test recorders, and AI tools.
If your QA testers aren’t automation experts, you can urge them to study automated testing for beginners. Automated testing tutorials can help you and your development team gauge if automated testing is the right fit for your projects. It can also help you find the right automated testing tools!
Reason #2: Software Testing Ensures App Security
Medical records and considered confidential information. This information is shared only between a practitioner and their patient. There can be a few problems if there is no patient consent. Divulging patient information to a third party that isn’t concerned with their care and welfare is illegal. The information can only be divulged during very specific and special cases.
Medical data breaches can result in lawsuits, income loss, and even business closure. On average, breaches in the healthcare industry are about $2 million more expensive than other primary industries.
Developers should ensure that health apps are hack-proof. Healthcare software apps will benefit from multiple rounds of vulnerability scans, penetration tests, risk assessment, and security audits. Healthcare QA testers should also look into ethical hacking.
Reason #3: Healthcare App Users Expect Quality
Digital healthcare covers such a wide area of concepts and services related to health and medicine. This is why there are so many different kinds of healthcare apps, like:
- Telemedicine for remote patient consultations
- EMR (electronic medical record) management
- Medical cost calculations and estimations
- Fitness and sport trackers
- Lifestyle and wellness apps
- Medication and exercise reminders
Healthcare app users are people who want to improve or maintain their health. They also include people who are responsible for the health and welfare of another person. So, no matter what kind of healthcare app you’re trying to develop, your target audiences will have the same goals and expectations.
Your target users will rely on your healthcare application to always provide them with the right information every single time. Speed, accessibility, and design also play a huge role in health apps. This is why certain types of tests like UI/UX, functionality, and performance testing are valuable for healthcare app development teams.
Reason #4: Big Data in Healthcare Saves Lives
Big data is a collection of unstructured data, structured data, and any other kind of data in between. This data is mined from corporations, groups, and individuals. They come from transactions, emails, research, medical records, internet logs, social networks, and even mobile app usage.
As a whole, this collection of data may not make sense for the average person. But for corporations, big data analytics offer the following benefits, among many others:
- Understanding their customers’ needs
- Offering more competitive prices
- Making faster yet better-informed business decisions
- Creating new products to better meet customer demands
The analysis, testing, and applications of big data are crucial to most markets all over the world. But in healthcare, making sense of big data isn’t just about profits — it’s about saving lives and improving health.
Big data can help in areas such as diagnostics, preventative medicine, and medical research. Monitoring big data can also help identify disease trends in the general population. It helps hospitals and health corporations analyze and reduce errors and provide more accurate value-based treatment.
Data analysts can pore over any collection of data and try to make sense of them. But the results will always depend on the quality and accuracy of the original data. In order to be truly helpful, big data needs to be valid and accurate.
Big data testing ensures that raw data is sourced, stored, and processed properly. In a single strategy, the following processes can all exist:
- Data integration testing
- Data processing testing
- Data migration testing
- Performance testing
- Processing speed testing
The digital healthcare industry is a growing industry. It may have had a slow start, but digitalized and value-based health services look like the future of healthcare.
More people are starting to rely on healthcare apps to help improve their health and well-being. This means that software testing also becomes increasingly important for health companies and development teams.