How Healthy is Your Health Care App?

It would not be an exaggeration if the intervention of technology and innovation blurs the existing traditional healthcare boundaries. Studies show that the global digital healthcare market is expected to rise from USD$182.63 Bn (2017) to USD $665.36 Bn (2026) with a CAGR of 15.4%.

This alarming growth has brought the healthcare and life sciences industries to the brink of a humongous disruption. Now, that the future of the healthcare industry is getting defined by radically interoperable data, secured open source platforms and integrated safety measures, how will your app fare in the increasingly competitive and inevitable healthcare digital world? What role is your app going to play in this scenario?

At this point, the proper functioning, user experience and the safety of the patient’s data stored on your healthcare app is of utmost priority and it is important that you pass your app through rigorous healthcare app testing services. These services can seamlessly help, in implementing operational digital strategies, to give the app credibility and edge.

The initial necessities of developing and testing a healthcare app is to access control, promote navigability, implement strict authorization requirements and enforce data safety. As applications grow in complexity by the day it is becoming increasingly important to ensure thorough app testing services are leveraged. Outlined below are some of the core areas to keep in mind:

Security Testing Services

This is a niche practice to rectify and resolve the loopholes, which may otherwise foster a security breach compromising the integrity, safety and confidentiality of patient’s important data, and reducing the usability of the app. The assessment starts by reviewing the security features and understanding the scope based on which test scenarios are created; an effective toolset is then identified and shortlisted.

The security tester initiates the architectural review process of the app and provides a guide to implement features keeping security in mind. The tester also observes the already existing security features and reconsiders the framework for authorization, authentication, data security, audit logging and more such as:

  • Configuration Management Testing
  • Business Logic Testing
  • Session Management Testing
  • Data Validation Testing
  • Denial of Service Testing
  • Web Services Testing
  • Ajax Testing
  • Testing for OWASP top ten vulnerabilities such as XSS, SQL Injection

The above approach increases the development team’s awareness for security vulnerabilities and associated action plans to mitigate them.

Load Testing Services

It is estimated that the global mobile health market is expected to reach USD$37 Bn in 2019. With app publishers releasing apps for health and fitness, which is increasing by the day, the stat mentioned is only going to increase exponentially. In this competitive market testers need to understand the performance characteristics of the app to ensure it delivers the desired result. Hence, testing under severe load conditions becomes an important factor in this marketplace where users are in abundance, probably millions using the app at the same time.

The process of this test effort, generally starts by analysing the application’s architecture, its components, integrated 3rd party services and the expected capability of the device (connectivity, storage usage, cache memory) to be used by the consumer. These factors provides the tester the potential performance choking points that need to be taken into consideration. The information generally pertains to:

  • Scalability Issues – The testers provide information on the scalable capacity of the app which is its capacity to scale up or down according to the number of logged on users and altered architecture

  • Error Rectification – Identifying problems regarding the functioning of the app or elements which may cause a lag in performance. This covers errors due to architecture, software design, hardware capability and all other configurational issues.

  • Measuring Load Curves – These results from a load test gives an idea of how the app is performing under constant flux of load.

  • Page Load Issues which determines the time taken by the page to load the user’s device.

  • Reporting load point, which determines the point at which the server cripples down.

Usability Testing

This form of testing is essential in building various customized user scenarios and features that are unique to the healthcare industry. These instances are built and checked in real-time as well as virtually.

Let’s take a critical case scenario of a senior user who wants to use the condition management facility of his healthcare app – will the patient be able to locate and tap the call button quickly? Would he be able to send an alert to the concerned person? The answers to these questions is ‘it all depends upon how easy it is to use the app’. Usability testing services makes sure that solutions to these critical situations are taken care of with utmost priority.

Usability test serves as a blueprint for the actual performance in real-time. The customized test plan for any healthcare app though doesn’t have a set structure but generally comprises of the test sections mentioned below:

  • Objective and goal of testing
  • Methodical design of the testing process
  • Task list
  • Testing environment
  • Data to be collected and error rectification measures
  • Reporting and presentation

Making your Healthcare App HIPAA Compliant

Healthcare organizations are continuously making necessary advancements due to the rising demand of new healthcare mobile apps. However, it is also essential for developers to have a thorough understanding of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) compliance. This compliance outlines the necessary safety precautions and implementations that software developers must adhere to. The act was created to formulate the flow of ePHI (electronically protected health information) and to protect the same from frauds, thefts and unauthorized access. To make your app HIPAA compliant the following needs to be addressed:

Technical safeguards – This comprises of access control, which strongly defines unique user identification, emergency access procedures, automatic logging off from the system and complete encryption. Apart from above, while transmitting ePHI over any network specific security mechanisms must be implemented to ensure that there is no loophole in the transmission.

Physical safeguards – These include facility access control, which allows only those with authorization to access the ePHI. Any distributed stream of devices such as laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones must be screen protected and logged off before the user leaves.

Administrative safeguards – These manage the development, implementation and maintenance of ePHI protection measures. They also ensure only relevant ePHI data can be accessed and only by authorized users. In case of data breach there must be a backup function that alerts the affected users and authorities.

To ensure the health of your healthcare app, it is advisable to opt-in for independent software testing companies who test and bring in HIPAA compliance. Going the other way might cost you a fortune as initiating from scratch is quite an expensive process. If you are still not able to determine the health of your healthcare app simply request a call back, to see how we can help

About the Author

QA InfoTech

QA InfoTech

Established in 2003, with less than five testing experts, QA InfoTech has grown leaps and bounds with three QA Centers of Excellence globally; two of which are located in the hub of IT activity in India, Noida, and the other, our affiliate QA InfoTech Inc Michigan USA. In 2010 and 2011, QA InfoTech has been ranked in the top 100 places to work for in India.

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