Why EPD testing is becoming increasingly important
The primary task of a hospital is to provide care. It is no secret that more and more automation is involved in this. Patient data is shot back and forth between practitioners, general practitioners, nursing staff, health insurers, etc... But how do you know that this daily volume of privacy-sensitive information is processed, consulted and distributed safely and correctly?
Medical errors are bad enough for a patient. Let alone that they are caused by an error in the automated systems. This means that there must be a continuous process of software testing. Crucial moments in this process are implementations, migrations, updates and linking of systems. In our October 2018 column Let's Talk About Test, the following can be read:
Problems with the EPR can have a major impact on patients. The ICT department must therefore have a controlled process for implementing system changes and carrying out tests that show that the quality of the system can be guaranteed.
The same applies to the ECD (electronic client file), the HIS (hospital information system), the AIS (pharmacy information system), etc... Investing in a thorough test process for these systems is of vital importance!
Whether it's Epic, HiX, Nexus, SAP or another EHR, being alert to errors and data breaches remains a major responsibility for healthcare providers. Updates, new releases and new links remain a potential risk. Part of the solution seems to be for hospitals to share the testing work for a new release. In itself a good initiative, but it is not sufficiently conclusive. After all, irrespective of whether hospitals are customers of the same EPR system, differences will always remain. Think of customisation, differences in the use of modules and links to other systems. So, once again, a plea for the establishment of a controlled and complete process for EPD testing for each individual hospital.
Despite the theory as stated above, in practice we often see a contrary movement. Especially when a hospital decides to purchase a (new) EPD system. The board of a hospital often seems to be overwhelmed by the impact of the implementation of a (new) EPD system. Not least because of cost control. Going live and the associated continuity (and cost control) of services come first. The consequence is that the test manager can join the back of the queue. And this is where Boehm 's law comes into effect: recovery costs increase exponentially with every step that an error takes closer to the production environment.
If you want to know more about the process of EPD testing, please visit our stand 10A 056 during the Zorg & ICT conference from 12 to 14 March.