TestComplete Improves Test Automation Efficiency - Mayo Center for Innovation - Healthcare Design

How TestComplete Helped Me Ace EHR Test Automation

Post Written By Kat Quinn, MBA

As a test automation engineer, I understand the difficulty that goes into finding the right tool for the job.  Considerations such as features of the application under test, complexity of the test automation tool, and integration with other tools are all things that we ponder with each project.

These were all considerations that played a part when we started a project with a hospital and clinic network.  

The client approached my company to partner in test automation because they had previously been performing only manual testing, and were discovering that it was impossible to maintain quality when their organization was growing at a rapid rate. Furthermore, they decided to unify their system by implementing a new, cross-organization EHR solution, which integrated a number of large off-the-shelf Healthcare Information Systems (HIS). The client recognized that this EHR project was larger and more complex than projects it had done in the past, and that it would literally be impossible to only perform manual testing to ensure that this important project would hold the quality and efficiency that their clients expect. A moderately complex test could take hours to perform, and more complex test cases could even take days. Furthermore, the test coverage that was judged to be achieved was approximately at only 30%, due to the large amounts of data that had to be tested and analyzed.

When the client approached us, they had no idea where to even start with test automation! We knew that we would need to get their test automation off the ground quickly, so the ability to quickly grasp the tool was an important factor. We knew that HP QuickTest Professional was a market leader at the time, so of course it was immediately considered in the short list, along with TestComplete. In the end, we chose TestComplete for a number of reasons:

  • TestComplete allows many languages, while QTP only allows VBScript. This was frustrating, as it requires a much more niche type of programmer. For our project, we used JavaScript because it is modern and more powerful with more up-to-date and extensive documentation
  • TestComplete is more adaptive, compatible and economical than QTP
  • TestComplete has better integration with source control tools, which allows for better collaboration amongst team members
  • TestComplete’s Name Mapping feature is far superior to QTP’s Object Repository, because it is customizable and dynamic, so that you can handle more scenarios and more adaptive to change, making maintenance easier
  • TestComplete is MUCH more affordable than QTP, while having all of the features that we needed
  • The SmartBear organization is much more responsive than HP, which is a big help when running into problems

With TestComplete, there is a wealth of training materials that come with the product, the functionality was compatible with our needs, and it was easy to get the tool up and running so that we could get to testing!

The project was mainly involved with testing their Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, including integration testing, functional testing, and system testing. The EHR System refers to the collection of patient and electronically-stored health information in a digital format. EHRs include data like medical history, medication, radiology images, and so much more. These records had to be shared throughout all of the hospitals through network-connected information systems. With 2.5 million patients and more than 1,000 clinicians in the ERP system, the system integration and data-driven testing aspects were crucial!

Some of the key benefits that TestComplete brought to the project included:

  • Functional and Data-Driven Testing: When the functional test is required to enter values into the various fields, data can be pulled from external sources such as CSV files, Excel spreadsheets, database tables, script arrays, table variables and so on. TestComplete’s data generator lets you generate test data of various types and store it either in a TestComplete Table variable or an Excel file. This approach decreases the time spent on preparing data for data-driven tests. This then allows us to leverage the same test operations with different sets of data without code change. This helps to ensure that data is processed accurately in graphs, reports, etc., and that data correctly populates registries and reporting warehouses. This functionality was a lifesaver when dealing with the huge amounts of data in an EHR system!
  • Cross Browser Testing: Running tests on multiple web browsers ensures that the application works as expected in all supported environments. This is important to verify that workflows send and/or receive data properly between systems, like between EHR and pharmacy or billing, PMS messages and EHR, etc.
  • Optical Character Recognition: Some applications write text to the screen in a way that is difficult to read programmatically, like rendered images or unsearchable PDFs. The OCR feature translates images of typewritten text into computer readable text. This was important when reading invoices from the physical EHR, and ensuring that data was processed correctly and the generated invoices were accurate.

Key Benefits that were gained through Automation with TestComplete:

  • Efficiency improvement of up to 95%. Moderately complex tests that would take an hour or more to conduct manually can be executed in 5 or 10 minutes. Even extreme tests that would take a day or more to complete manually can be run in under an hour.
  • Gaps and risks are identified early in the process, reducing bugs at later stages and avoiding project delays.
  • Test coverage was gauged to be at 90%
  • Calculated positive ROI gains within months after the start of a testing engagement
  • More tests could be run simultaneously, allowing testers to dedicate more time to analysis and discover the root cause of issues, rather than devoting time to manual test execution.
  • The client received expedited test automation implementation as a fixed price service, resulting in lower prices.

About the author:

Daniel Schwartz is a content strategist who sheds light on various engaging and informative topics related to the health IT industry. His belief in technology, compliance and cost reduction have opened new horizons for people in the health care industry. He is passionate about topics such as Affordable Care Act, EHR, revenue cycle management, and privacy and security of patient health data. He can be contacted at @dschwartz20

About the Editor:

Kat Quinn, MBA is a digital health start-up specialist with a focus in HealthIT and Direct Primary Care (DPC) start-ups and co-founder of SheepGuru.com, one of social media's leading Free Market health care voices.  Her primary objective is to help launch digital health start-ups and Direct Care practices.  Her passion is health and wellness, and she is an advocate for empowering the doctor-patient relationship.