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Three Ways Healthcare QA Helps Improve Patient Outcomes

A coherent QA strategy with clearly defined resource allocation will make healthcare solutions meet the highest standards in terms of usability, security, and interoperability.

Quality is a critical factor for any software project, and the development of medical solutions is no exception. Effective care delivery is heavily reliant on the quality of technological products used in healthcare facilities. So you need a coherent QA strategy with clearly defined resource allocation to make your healthcare solutions meet the highest standards in terms of usability, security, and interoperability. If you don’t have enough internal resources to make it possible, engage dedicated QA consulting experts in your project.

Ensuring outstanding UI and UX

First and foremost, your medical solutions should be easy to use, and robust usability testing can help you meet this requirement. You’ll make sure your healthcare software is optimized for any platform — web, mobile, tablets, and smartwatches — and its graphical objects are well organized, meaningfully labeled, and accessible.

A usability friendly healthcare solution will empower non-tech-savvy patients and physicians with smooth navigation, advanced search, and a simple login process. End-to-end UI testing will also help fully comply with ADA, WCAG, and other accessibility guidelines — to give users with disabilities an extra layer of comfort.

Considering the fact that a healthcare ecosystem covers multiple stakeholders — including patients, caregivers, insurers, and administrative staff — you’ll also need to perform comprehensive functional testing to address their versatile needs.

Unite stakeholders in user groups, identify basic and specific requirements for every group, and form advanced user journeys. Then, start testing each requirement and journey for overall user satisfaction.

For example, a patient’s requirements may include advanced identity proofing for medical portals, treatment progress visibility, or seamless PGHD transfer to EHRs. Physicians will certainly need instant updates on lab tests, quick cross-department access to patient data, and smooth text chatting with colleagues for collaborative decision-making. And to address the needs of administrative staff, you’ll have to make sure that consultations scheduling and financial transactions go off without a hitch.

Improving solution security

The HIPAA compliance is a guarantee that your medical solution is fully reliable and secure to meet the market. This is why your QA engineers should possess specific domain knowledge to effectively test solution conformance to security regulations.

As the HIPAA revolves around safeguarding patient data, you need to draft a test matrix covering relevant user roles and their access to PHI. Underpinned by this detailed testing plan, you can proceed to checking specific access control components:

  • Unique user identification: it might be a specific name or number
  • Authentication: complying with the two-factor authentication model
  • Emergency access: identifying whether the solution needs it and testing a relevant user scenario for such access
  • Automatic logoff after a particular time period

Another vital aspect of HIPAA conformance testing is audit controls. You need to test this standard to make sure that all PHI activities — including information adding and changing —  are logged for further examination.

And by testing such components as data encryption and decryption, you will ensure secure transfer of patient data among multiple medical systems at every transmission point without any unintended changes.

Increasing solution interoperability

HIPAA conformance testing sets the bar for PHI security. But to ensure collaborative decision-making, you’ll also need smooth information exchange between different healthcare software solutions such as EHRs, PACS, medical portals, mHealth apps, etc. And comprehensive interoperability testing has the right mechanisms to help you address this challenge.

By performing this testing type, you will be able to surface all possible inconsistencies around your system’s compliance with industry-leading interoperability standards, including Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), Health Level Seven (HL7), and Digital Imaging And Communications In Medicine (DICOM).

The FHIR standards framework will enable you to simplify interface building with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), facilitating data exchange between multiple systems and different components of a single system.

The HL7 is set to ensure smooth PHI transfer, retrieval, and merging — through robust testing of communication modules with tech tools such as NIST Message Validator, MQF Validation, Message Workbench, and others.

By performing DICOM interoperability testing, you’ll be able to harmonize radiology workflows — including medical image viewing, storage, processing, and sharing — within and outside your enterprise.

Final thoughts

Like the development of any other domain-specific software, building a medical solution requires comprehensive quality assurance. Among other aspects, this necessarily means early testing. Your product should be tested throughout the entire development process, not after the project is complete.

And a powerful combination of comprehensive usability, security, and interoperability testing is a sure-shot method for addressing the gaps in your technological solutions, and, as a result, revamping care.

About the author:

Yana Yelina is a Technology Writer at Oxagile, a provider of software engineering and IT consulting services. Her articles have been featured Becker’s Hospital Review, Medical News, Health Tech Zone, Healthcare Works Collective, Medgadget, to name a few. Yana is passionate about the untapped potential of technology and explores the perks it can bring businesses of every stripe. You can reach Yana at yana.yelina@oxagile.com or connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.

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