In a recent joint announcement from Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce, the companies stated, “The healthcare industry is at a turning point. Patients and providers are eager for advances in value-based care, patient engagement, and machine learning as they look to usher in a new era of constantly-improving health outcomes and well-being. Interoperability is key to removing the barriers between the healthcare industry and the future it seeks to build.”
A recent study found that nearly half of all internet traffic in 2018 came via a mobile app. Across sectors, it’s clear that smartphones are increasingly the preferred method for accessing web content and the trend is forcing organizations to rethink their approach to app development, accessibility and interoperability.
What happens when a good idea is poorly implemented? A recent article reported on a catastrophic catalog of errors in Electronic Health Records (EHRs) in the US. Tests were missed. Notes for one patient would appear on another’s profile. Alerts for dangerous drug interactions failed. Data was lost when text was entered with a certain combination of punctuation.
The list goes on. And the consequences were, in some cases, tragic. Lives were lost or irreparably damaged.
And while there were no doubt multiple factors at play, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that one of them was a failure to test software adequately.
Whenever you enter the healthcare system, technology is all around.
And you have to trust it.
The highly trained medical staff have all been through rigorous testing to ensure they are able to deliver the best possible care. And you probably expect the same from the huge range of technology they use to treat you, monitor your progress, and update your records.
But as that technology permeates every aspect of healthcare and the pace of change increases, it’s getting harder to ensure that everything works as intended.
To provide the best possible patient care, hospitals need to ensure that the EMR is working properly after every change. While the EMR itself is a critical link in overall patient management, ensuring seamless connectivity across numerous other hospital systems (ERP software, PACS technology, blood bank software) is also important. This means end-to-end testing of software releases, updates, functionality, and performance — not just testing that the code works in one system or another.
As we round the last corner of 2016, end-of-the-year holidays upon us, we are reminded of the pervasiveness of technology in our lives. Quick personal reflection will surely confirm that your holiday shopping, travel, and entertainment are all thoroughly driven and sculpted by tech. Yes, there’s an app for (all!) that.