Vital Signs: Key Trends in Software Testing for Healthcare Tech Entrepreneurs

The pandemic has spurred a dramatic rise in virtual care adoption, prompting a significant number of healthcare organizations and healthcare tech entrepreneurs to fast-track their digital transformation to stay competitive.

Today’s healthcare software landscape contributes approximately 30% of the world’s data. This includes electronic medical record (EMR) systems, telehealth applications, smart medical devices, and wearables. For healthcare tech startups, this is an unprecedented opportunity. This is a chance to outpace their traditional competitors. They can do this by effectively integrating emerging technologies. This tech includes reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). According to the Boston Consulting Group, capitalizing on this trend could potentially unlock a staggering $1.6 trillion in business value.

Against the backdrop of a high-stakes digital race, healthcare startups and healthcare tech entrepreneurs face immense pressure. They must ensure the quality and reliability of the rapidly expanding digital landscape. Additionally, this requires an enormous investment of expertise, time, and money into software quality assurance. A recent study titled “Vital Signs,” conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) found that 94% of software testing leaders express concerns over insufficient test coverage, which poses an escalating risk to patient outcomes.

To thrive in this challenging environment, here are some recommendations for healthcare software startups:

Modernize Testing Practices with Automation

Ensuring thorough software test coverage should be a top priority for healthcare startups and healthcare tech entrepreneurs.  There is a rapidly growing complexity and volume of testing required in healthcare software. To cope, startup leaders should transition from manual testing approaches to automated ones.

Additionally, the HIMSS survey reveals that a significant portion of US healthcare providers (38 percent) still rely on manual testing approaches. This involves software testing teams going through repetitive tasks from test case creation to maintenance to identify defects. The survey also sheds light on the limitations of such a traditional approach:

  • Merely 33% of manual testers are satisfied with their organizations’ capacity to scale testing to meet new requirements.
  • Only 38% are satisfied with the availability of clear testing analytics
  • Only 38% believe their organizations can adequately develop test coverage across all devices and browsers.

Embracing automated healthcare software testing tools can significantly enhance the efficiency of software quality assurance processes, as startups can ensure that software remains reliable and secure at every stage of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Test automation is a more viable and accessible strategy for healthcare organizations and healthcare tech entrepreneurs in the long run. This is due to recent advancements in machine learning and computer vision.  According to the study, the percentage of organizations using a primarily automated testing approach is likely to triple in five years.

Link Quality Assurance to Patient Outcomes

Ensuring thorough test coverage should be a top priority for healthcare tech startups. This involves rigorous testing of all software components, functionalities, integrations, and interfaces. It is important to identify any potential issues before they impact patient care.

It is essential for startups to recognize that testing is not an isolated process. Instead, it is a crucial component of the overall patient experience. By establishing clear connections between the quality of electronic medical record (EMR) software, patient outcomes, and the utilization of automated testing solutions, startups can enhance the perception of quality assurance and also demonstrate their commitment to delivering exceptional patient care.

Furthermore, regulatory authorities like HIPAA are placing greater emphasis on software quality and its impact on patient data privacy. With a robust testing process, startups can also more effectively navigate the increasingly stringent regulatory landscape, leading to increased trust from healthcare providers, patients, and regulatory bodies.

Invest in Talent and Low-Code Test Automation 

A crucial aspect of keeping up with the evolving demands in healthcare software testing involves addressing the tech talent shortages. Healthcare software startups can also take proactive measures to bridge this gap by investing in upskilling “citizen testers” and adopting low-code testing tools.

Citizen testers are individuals who possess a deep understanding of clinical compliances and systems. However, they have a limited technical background in coding. By training them to manage automated testing processes on low-code platforms, startups can effectively address the shortage of technical testing expertise. In addition, low-code testing tools also facilitate broader collaboration in software quality assurance, thereby tapping into a larger and more diverse pool of talent and fostering a culture of agility and continuous improvement at the organizational level.

Author: Emily Yan, Product Marketing Manager at Keysight Technologies