Getting Your Telehealth Operations in Gear with Automated Testing

By Guljeet Nagpaul

The global telehealth market, spurred by the need for remote patient engagement due to the coronavirus crisis, is expected to grow by $95.7 billion over the next four years, according to the technology advisory firm Technavio.

That figure accompanies a year-over-year growth rate of compound annual growth rate of over 25 percent through 2024.

That’s good news for healthcare providers and patients, who each benefit from a rejuvenated healthcare platform that delivers needed medical advice and healthcare services in digital mode, providing efficiency, speed of care, cost benefits, and most of all, safety for both parties involved in a two-way telehealth session.

The Need for Testing

There is a caveat to telehealth operational success and it’s a significant one.

Any rosy digital patient engagement scenarios likely won’t become reality (at least anytime soon) unless healthcare IT departments conduct regular automated software testing that clears the path for full-bore telehealth products and services.

The good news? Quality assurance outcomes are achievable with regular data software testing in the form of test automation.

The data bear that out.

According to a recent study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, software breaches and bugs cost US businesses $59.5 billion annually. Additionally, about 33 percent of those budget burdens could be eliminated through continuous data software testing.

The study also notes that US businesses that have embraced automatic testing cite the following benefits:

  • Faster testing cycles (88 percent of respondents)
  • Improved testing coverage (71 percent of respondents)
  • The ability to catch software bugs earlier (68 percent of respondents.)

Pure and simple, regular automated software testing is required to guarantee that telehealth services can be delivered error-free, on time, and with maximum data security involved. That allows digital healthcare products and services to roll out into hospitals and care centers as quickly as possible.

Automated testing is also very simple because of that fact that, well, it’s automated. Using software, most of the testing is done through the program. This typically consists of setting up the parameters of your test (also referred to as test planning), then it’s the test modeling phase, where predictive scenarios are created to test for any issues that may arise. After that, a report is created to showcase any changes that need to be made.

For healthcare companies engaged in telehealth services deliveries, the business benefits of automated testing are robust, with these upsides at the top of the software delivery list:

Managing high-volume software testing requirements.

Automated testing enables healthcare IT managers to streamline their own patient testing rollouts with optimal results.

Data show that AI-based coronavirus testing can cut patient wait times by over 200 percent.

Speed is of the essence in getting telehealth products and services up and running, allowing telehealth providers to test more, test more accurately, and get the exact data they need to produce positive patient outcomes.

Streamlining bookkeeping and paperwork.

Historically, healthcare industry administrators’ staffers take days to gather, review, and disseminate patient data.

Now, systems administrators can run quality control testing programs at speeds that are multitudes faster than manual software testing modes. That translates into easier and more efficient communication with patients via telehealth services—often in minutes—while significantly reducing cost-intensive errors in the process. Errors could include simple user-experience problems that cause loss of customers, or even issues surrounding data, security, and proper program results.

Getting data out to providers during the pandemic.

With COVID-19 forcing healthcare providers to increase the amount of virtual appointments, automated continual software testing gives doctor, nurses, and clinicians the data they need to make better healthcare decisions when engaging with patients remotely.

Good testing practices ensure the data that healthcare practitioners are getting are robust and up to date, and that they are easily communicated to on-site healthcare professionals and to remote medical staff.

With better, safer, and more error-free digital tools in place, telehealth providers can do what they do best—provide services and support for patients straightaway, without worrying about high-risk business continuity problems.

The Takeaway on Automated Software Testing for Healthcare Providers

For healthcare companies looking to strengthen their data software testing practices as they adapt to working with patients remotely, there is a clear path moving forward.

Ideally, the focus should be on testing solutions that combine the best elements of human knowledge your company already has on hand. That includes a good, dependable, and automated testing software package that delivers smooth data quality assurance with no breakdowns that fits within your existing software development framework.

That should be the case for the short-term in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic as well as for the long haul.

Guljeet Nagpaul ([email protected]) is Chief Product Officer of ACCCELQ.

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