November 2018

Worrying level of software testing in healthcare

More than ever before, Boehm’s law, formulated in 1979, appears to apply: Recovery costs increase exponentially with every step that an error comes closer to the production environment. If you think a minute about this, you realize that this, still current, pronunciation was made at a time when the Volkswagen Golf and Bohemian Rapsody were respectively 5 and 3 years old. IT landscapes consisted of several megabytes and software testing was still in its infancy. Something we can hardly imagine nowadays in a world of mobile first, petabytes and cloud computing. Or is it? Those who dive into the world of hospitals come to remarkable conclusions!

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Process management

Lately we have seen hospitals coming negatively in the news. Data leaks, IT failures and issues with personal data are matters you do not want to be reported about in the news as Management of a hospital. Anyone who studies the problematics can hardly deny that the majority of these cases can be traced back to process management.

If we look at the IT landscape as it occurs in hospitals, we see complex IT infrastructures and software applications. The most important part of this is formed by EPD systems such as HiX, Epic and Nexus.

If you compare these systems with an IT environment of 1979 (with the size of a few MB) then you understand that the chances of bugs and other problems have become exponentially greater. Just look at the monthly HiX releases that ensure large numbers of changes in the software. Who will test these these changes? Or more importantly, how do we organize the process to test these changes? Each month again! And we are not only talking about the organizational part of it and the resourcing, but also about the execution (planning of tests, registration of test results and defects, reporting on progress, etc …).

Strangely enough, there are hospitals that tend to give less attention to testing, motivated by ignorance and / or cost savings. And this is where the law of Boehm comes into effect! With all the negative consequences.

Software testing Hospitals

To be honest, fortunately there are hospitals where things are going well and where there is a mature level of software testing. It is a pity that there is still no quality mark for hospitals with an adult test process. Yet there are still hospitals that dare to make remarkable statements when it comes to their test process:

“We said goodbye to our test manager because our end users arrange the testing themselves. They report on their test results to their heads of department”

or

We get the test results from other hospitals so we hardly have to test anymore

Anyone who understands a bit about software testing will raise an eyebrow while reading these statements. How does that work? A head of department of nurses who have to manage his / her people between care providing and software testing? And how do these discussions run between representatives of different hospitals within a collaboration platform? “No, we do not use that module, so I can not say anything about that” or “No, we arranged it differently.”

As mentioned earlier, there are hospitals that have defined and implemented a mature level test process. And thank goodness for that. The Volkswagen Golf still drives around but according to current standards. Bohemian Rapsody has now been promoted to film in IMAX format. Let’s hope that hospitals update their test process in order to prevent a lot of damage. 

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Software testing…need advice?

As a leading player in the market, Testersuite is constantly working to help organizations raise their testing process to a higher level. Would you like to know more about Testersuite and the experiences of our customers in the healthcare market? Then request a demo below or read about us. Testersuite will attend Zorg & ICT in 2019.

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