The first medical software was released some forty-plus years ago. Back in the late 70s, you could only run a medical program on one device at a time. This is why healthcare software Q&A was not a big priority for medical professionals.
Nowadays, medical software solutions are far more complex, interoperable, and complete. Healthcare applications are no longer deployed just on one device but on thousands of devices simultaneously. While the new generation of healthcare applications makes our lives easier, it also requires a more thorough healthcare software Q&A process.
So, is medical software testing necessary? Yes, more than ever. But don’t get discouraged! Healthcare software Q&A testing is more straightforward than it looks. In this article, we will:
- Establish what modern medical software testing is
- Debunk myths of healthcare software Q&A.
- Explain how different types of medical software methods work.
Curious to know how your medical practice can implement better Q&A practices? Read on!
What is Medical Software Q&A Testing?
Medical Software Q&A testing is an end-to-end quality assurance process, which assesses all core functions of medical software through the entire development cycle.
Like any other Q&A activity, medical software testing ensures the highest quality standards of the end product. But unlike software testing in any other industry, medical software has to abide by a set of additional, rigorous legal frameworks.
For instance, all medical software dealing with patient data has to be HIPAA-compliant to ensure safe storage and usage of personal data.
Depending on where you come from and what kind of medical software you will develop, you will also need to follow a set of official medical software development certifications imposed by your government. For our USA colleagues, an example of such a governing body would be the FDA. The FDA recently established a set of rules, known as the software-as-a-medical-device (SAMD) framework.
Essentially, SAMD is a set of principles agreed on by the IMRDF (an international group of device regulators) that has to be followed by all medical software makers during creation. Ensure that you research any additional local medical software registrations or hire trusted medical software developers who are familiar with your frameworks.
4+ Undeniable Medical Software Q&A Benefits:
Proper medical device software testing workflow will not only help you achieve the most out of your solution but will also bring a myriad of additional benefits.
#1: Ensuring Proper User Experience
A key to successful healthcare software Q&A is in repeated testing of all critical features of your program. Such tests need to be done through the entire development process (and not just in the end) on a myriad of medical devices simultaneously. Proper Q&A testing will entail a multi-step process where actual user tests will be carried out repetitively to ensure superb performance of your application down the line.
#2 Device Interoperability & Legal Compliance
The majority of modern medical software applications will run on multiple medical devices. Moreover, such software solutions must abide by the right set of regulations. Therefore, one of the most crucial steps in every healthcare software Q&A test is ensuring that things are working smoothly across all compatible devices and that all the legal boxes are “checked” properly.
#3 Protected Data Flow & Application Security
Almost every modern application deals with sensitive patient data that needs to be stored appropriately on encrypted storage. In other words, medical software Q&A testing ensures that your data flows and is stored properly in the back end with HIPAA compliance. Last but not least, since you will likely deploy your application in the cloud, your developers will run a few security and penetration tests to ensure that your medical solution is hack-proof.
#4: Functionality Validation & Load Testing
Whether you are in business for radiology imaging solutions or need to “upgrade” the brains of your MRI scanner – you will need to execute many medical software tests. You will need to run these tests to ensure that your application can hold significant data streams and that all the features within the program are working correctly. Unlike user experience testing, which is focused more on the “feel” of your program, these tests pinpoint all the possible technical issues deeper down in the “brains” of your medical solution.
5+ Healthcare Software Q&A Testing Methods
Not a single medical software program is the same. Medical programs run on different types of devices, and they serve other purposes. What does this mean for medical software testing? Each one of the medical software programs that you create will require a unique Q&A testing approach. The good news is that you can “mix and match” the different testing techniques mentioned below to achieve the highest quality final deliverable.
#1: Automated Testing
Sometimes it’s better to delegate your work to the machine. Automated software testing techniques simulate how your medical software would work inside a medical device (without actually burning it onto it). When the tests are being executed, your engineering team will take notes on any encountered bugs, record all the metrics and take a note on anomalies so that they can research these problems afterward. This should always be your first test.
#2: White-Box Testing
White box testing involves taking a deep look at all the code that is powering your application and visually scanning it to identify any possible errors. It is also known as “clear” testing. Such a deep scan of the code can help your developers identify areas for improvement, understand data flow in its entirety, and improve the software design.
#3: Functionality Testing
White-box testing and functionality testing are two sides of the same coin. While the former testing method is all about back-end work and code analysis, the latter involves physically testing software features and possible user paths. During functionality tests, you need to define all the possible user journeys and test them one after another on real devices to get a complete picture of how your medical software operates.
#4: Software – Hardware Fit Tests
Any medical software needs a device to run on. And sometimes, even if your software is coded well, there might be some compatibility issues precluding you from a successful release. Luckily, you can identify such problems during hardware fit tests. During such tests, your software is deployed into several different devices, where it is tested to identify potential bugs and solve arising compatibility issues.
#5: Verification Tests
Whenever you are done with all the previously-mentioned tests, it will be time to bring everything together. During verification tests, you need to keep an eye on all the problems identified and test them again during the exact scenarios. If you could not identify any bugs during these tests – that’s good news.
So, is Medical Software Testing Important?
Indeed, the Healthcare Software Q&A process ensures that your application will run correctly on many medical devices and provide users with the best possible experience. Moreover, it will help you ensure that all the legal guidelines have been met during the development process.
Healthcare software testing is a multi-step process, which requires you to execute the five separate tests mentioned above. Still not sure how to conduct medical software testing properly?