How Hard Is Healthcare Software Testing?

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Is it drastically different from non-healthcare software testing?

Healthcare software testing is extremely important as there are actual lives at stake. Nothing terrible will happen if a game app on an iPhone crashes but all kinds of terrible events may take place when the crash happens at some particular device that is used in a hospital. But is testing all that different? Yes and no is probably the best answer:

  • No, it’s not that different hence the same principles of software development and testing are being used in this niche of IT.
  • Yes as there are several specialized tests included as the Health Risk Mitigation test for example that is required to make sure medical software and hardware are 100% safe to human beings and do present any value, whether therapeutic or diagnostic.

Health Risk Mitigation tests

What is being tested during a health risk mitigation session?

  • Radiation and Electrical shock exposure as well as potential injuries and ways of preventing that;
  • Enlarged acoustic power exposure;
  • Extreme temperature contacts;
  • Possible clinical misdiagnosis;
  • Etc.

What types of tests does such a process involve?

  • Tests performed with usage of a simulator;
  • Verification of obtained images;
  • Mitigation of misdiagnosis risks due foul image quality;
  • Data connectivity and Integrity tests (mostly tests to manage unpredicted risks and verify correctness of patient info):
    • Uncontrolled loss of patient due to short cricketing or power losses;
    • Uncontrolled patient loss due to data corruption;
    • Corrupted data reports;
    • Mixes of data gathered from different patients;
  • Tests to mitigate possible injuries to patients caused with extreme temperatures or increased acoustic power;
  • Analytics verification conducted for software to make the right conclusions from gathered data.

There are also many tests you are used to that did not prove to work in healthcare software testing like stability, regression and exploratory testing. These well-known types of tests have been modified dramatically.

  • Stability testing had the MTBF metric established to improve system stability (150+ hours are the MTBF goal).
  • Regression testing was not covering all areas critical to safety, hence there was the Health-Risk Evaluation process implemented that is improving test coverage with clinical interaction scenarios based on previous experience like possible risks of hazardous situations, epidemics etc.
  • Exploratory testing was usually misused due practically limitless possibilities of clinical workflow. Hence Clinical Exploratory testing is now used and is based on clinical scenarios only. That reduced the amount of defects that were crawling into the Clinical Validation phase by impressive 75%.

As you have probably noticed testing does prove to be similar in this field of software development yet it is not at all the same and it can never be as there is too much at stake as was noticed above.