The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the general perception about a lot of things around us. No other sector was as impacted and in the spotlight quite as the healthcare sector.
With more and more impetus being laid on the need of social distancing, growing work from home mode, frequent lockdowns being imposed on some or the other state, there has been a huge demand in terms of the ready availability and the immediate need for telemedicine.
Today, many hospitals have become exclusive COVID-19 treatment facilities and many doctors as well as healthcare professionals are preferring to provide telemedicine facilities because of the risks of COVID spread as well as the number of tasking hours that they put in during these unprecedented times.
Once a hard sell, today, telemedicine has become a necessity for both healthcare professionals as well as healthcare seekers.
The rise in the popularity of telemedicine has also resulted in the growing demand for healthcare application testing services. Healthcare app development has increased, and thus, there is an urgent need to test them to ensure that they:
- Perform with superlative efficiency and functionality
- Offer services that are safe and secure, especially where financial transactions are concerned
With telemedicine practice guidelines finally issued by the government and its related agencies, it has become easy for registered medical practitioners to incorporate it into their daily patient consultations. While the lockdown and social distancing coupled with the fear of contracting the contagion acted as a deterrent in getting proper medical care, the application of telemedicine has provided a much-needed relief during this pandemic.
Surprisingly, the healthcare sector has adapted and evolved in India and has embraced the new technologies with open arms. The adoption of digital options like telemedicine had a huge role to play in this. The promise of better and structured healthcare in India is no longer a dream; it is well on its way to becoming a reality.
More and more patients are adding critical health records and personal information on these apps and are sharing their medical history with healthcare professionals. This has further resulted in the structuring of patient records, easy correspondence between patient and doctor along with ensuring complete confidentiality in the transaction of information on the apps.
Healthcare application testing services plays a critical role in ensuring that the apps are not only robust, agile, well-equipped with the latest technological features but are secure and have encrypted communication and transactions from both the ends.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine refers to healing from a distance. It essentially deals with the online delivery of health care services by certified and trained healthcare professionals. There is the use of advanced digital technologies related to information and communication to facilitate:
- Exchange of relevant information for the correct diagnosis of the ailment
- Prevention and treatment of injuries, diseases and infections
- Medical research and evaluation
- Imparting continued education to enhance the knowledge and education of all types of healthcare providers etc.
Telemedicine and tele-consultation are two terms that are used interchangeably. While both focus on providing healthcare services using the digital medium, telemedicine is a broader term which consists of 3 major components. These include:
This refers to a virtual visit or consultation between the medical practitioner and the patient. This is generally done through video conferencing and is the most popular aspect of telemedicine.
This refers to instances when one doctor gets medical advice or mentorship from another senior or super speciality doctor online. Thus, one doctor seeks advice from another when a particular medical condition is beyond the realm of his treatment.
This allows for easy monitoring of patients at home. Herein, the patient is connected to a biosensor like a glucometer, a vital sign monitor, an electronic scale etc. The doctor receives data from them and administers treatment based on its analysis.
In all of the above aspects of telemedicine, patients need to install an app in their smartphones. These healthcare apps are generally comprehensive and secure since they undergo rigorous healthcare application testing. These apps provide several options to patients and they can seek tele-consultation, order medicines and even avail blood tests, ECG, X-ray etc.
Role of Telemedicine in the Indian Healthcare Sector
The structured rise in telemedicine has annihilated a major way of transmission of the contagion. Thus healthcare providers remain safe so do the patients. This has become a huge boon for patients with comorbidities for whom visiting a doctor or a healthcare facility has become a stressful activity and increases their chances of contracting the deadly virus.
Healthcare in India has always been riddled with problems like accessibility, shortage of healthcare providers and medical practitioners etc. The main purpose of coming up with guidelines and streamlining the process of Telemedicine was to ensure easy healthcare access to the privileged as well as underprivileged population so that:
- Better communication enables quicker and inexpensive treatments
- Easy follow-ups by expert medical practitioners
- Secure record maintenance of the medical history of patients for future reference
Telemedicine has further helped remove geographical barriers which made getting proper healthcare a cause of concern. The deeper penetration of the smartphone technology, the familiarity and frequent use of mobile apps, the ubiquitous internet connectivity and availability of inexpensive data packages have all been contributing factors to the massive rise in telemedicine. This has also further enhanced the availability of healthcare facilities for the Indian populace.
Role of Healthcare Application Testing Services
The internet has a huge role to play in the popularisation of telemedicine. But with the increase in hacking and phishing attacks during the lockdown period, the safety and security of healthcare apps have become a cause of concern.
Online financial transactions act as the magnet which attracts and allures hackers and other forms of cyber threat attacks.
To eradicate this threat, each telemedicine or its related apps needs to undergo rigorous healthcare application testing services. This helps to ensure that the app:
- Is functionally perfect for the required purpose
- Business workflows have been properly and appropriately developed and incorporated and
- The required performance and security measures are in place.
Thus healthcare app testing is not one test but an accumulation of several QA tests that need to be conducted before the app is sent out in the market. These tests ensure all-round safety and security for the concerned telemedicine app. The common testing services that are usually availed are:
- Functional testing
- Performance testing
- Test automation
- Usability testing
- Test support areas
- Security testing
- Compliance testing services and
- Other niche services like:
- Mobile testing
- Browser compatibility testing
- User experience testing
- Globalization testing
The need for using healthcare application testing services arises from:
- The need to protect app security so that major breaches related to sensitive patient data, health info etc., can be actively avoided
- To enable Big Data handling so that the extensive data that gets stored for each patient can be kept in a well-organized and sorted manner
- To service the dual need for efficiency and expertise for the flawless performance of the app
- The need to be flexible and adapt itself to testing for various scenarios faced by the medical staff
Telemedicine in India still has a long way to go. But with healthcare application testing services becoming specialized and problem-specific, the day is not far when healthcare services in India will attain a structured, secured and planned outlook.