As technology continues to advance so do the methods required to keep up with it. Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems help manage this data flow. EMR software manages the clinical, financial and administrative aspects of any healthcare organization. A system is only considered an EMR when it integrates information from multiple sources captures data at the site of service and supports caregiver decision making. Some of the more well known EMR systems include, but are not limited to Epic, Cerner, GE Healthcare, McKessen, Greenway Medical and Sage Health.
Since these systems capture incredible amounts of critical data and are integrated with numerous other software applications in a single organization, testing becomes an integral aspect of maintaining the system. As the EMR software continues to evolve due to changing government regulations of patient data, system upgrades and software patches, these changes need to be deployed throughout the system. Some manufacturers send out as many as two hundred patches or upgrades per month. Deploying this litany of patches and upgrades carries the risk of causing major issues within the system and the integrated applications. Historically, IT departments have tested the new changes manually. This is a time consuming and costly process especially in today’s market, where even hospitals are being hit financially. Test Automation Engineers can develop functional tests that are designed to check specific EMR component operations for accuracy. These Test Engineers will use structured test script execution to deliver one framework that covers all EMR components allowing for a solution that is scalable and accessible to the hospital’s IT staff. Automation testing of EMR systems’ deployments (upgrades and maintenance) helps hospitals reduce risk, improve efficiency, and is a cost effective measure for keeping systems updated and operational.
According to a study by the American Hospital Association, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, despite budget cuts hospitals are determined to go ahead with critical IT projects like EMR’s. This will necessitate the need to find ways to cut the cost of maintaining these systems. The automation of regression testing is one such cost saving measure. Test automation will increase the accuracy of testing, increase the quality of the software application and reduce the time needed to test deployments – all resulting in an overall cost savings. Test automation can have a significant impact in the overall bottom line of any healthcare organization that chooses to be proactive in using automated solutions.
Childrens Hospital in Denver is one example of a healthcare organization that chose to be proactive in using automated testing solutions. This hospital contracted SLI Global Solutions (then SysTest Labs) to automate tests tailored to their particular EMR system. Our Test Automation Engineers developed functional tests designed to check specific EMR component operations for correctness. They also structured test script execution to allow for rapid, wide-ranging confirmation of EMR operations after installation of patches. This solution resulted in SLI delivered one framework that covers all EMR components. The frameworks is scalable so that it can be quickly upgraded or changed to handle future changes of EMR components and is accessible so that the client’s IT staff can exercise full control of operations and maintenance to meet changing needs. The SysTest Labs’ solution allowed Childrens to stay ahead of EMR upgrades and patches, to deploy the EMR with confidence, and to complete the EMR system deployments in appreciably less time.