More than ever before, Boehm's law, formulated in 1979, seems to be Boehm applies: repair costs increase exponentially with every step that a fault takes closer to the production environment.
When you let this sink in, you realise that this more than timely statement was made in a time when the Volkswagen Golf and Bohemian Rhapsody were 5 and 3 years old respectively. IT landscapes consisted of a few megabytes and software testing was still in its infancy. Something we can hardly imagine now in a world of mobile first, petabytes and cloud computing. Or can we? Anyone who dives into the world of hospitals will come across remarkable defects!
Recently, hospitals have regularly been the subject of adverse publicity. Data leaks, IT malfunctions and issues with personal data are things you don't want to make the news about. As hospital management, you don't want that. If you take a closer look at the problems, you will hardly be able to deny that most of these issues can be traced back to process management.
If we look at the IT landscape as it is found in hospitals, we see complex IT infrastructures and software applications. The most important part of this is formed by EPD systems such as HiX, Epic and Nexus.
If you compare these systems with an IT environment from 1979 (of a few MB), you can see that the risk of bugs and other problems has increased exponentially. Take the monthly HiX releases alone, which result in large numbers of changes to the software. Who will test this software? Or more importantly, how do we organise the process of testing this software? Every month again! And we are not only talking about the organisational side and resources, but also the implementation (scheduling of tests, recording of test results and defects, reporting on progress, etc...).
Strangely enough, there are hospitals that pay less attention to testing, prompted by ignorance and/or cost-cutting. And this is exactly where Boehm's law comes into play! With all the unpleasant consequences this entails.
Software testing Hospitals
Fair is fair, fortunately there are also hospitals where things are going well and where there is a mature way of testing software. It is a pity that there is not yet a hallmark for hospitals with a mature testing process. Still, there are hospitals that dare to make remarkable statements when it comes to their testing process:
"We have said goodbye to our test manager because our end-users handle the testing themselves. They report to their department heads about the test results".
"We receive the test results from other hospitals, which means that we hardly need to test ourselves.
Anyone who understands a little about software testing reads these statements with crooked toes. How does that work? A head of department of nurses who has to manage his/her people on software testing in between providing care? And how do these discussions take place between representatives of different hospitals within a cooperation platform? "No, we don't use that module, so I can't say anything about it" or"No, we have organised things differently."
As mentioned before, there are also hospitals that have defined and implemented a mature testing process. And fortunately so. The Volkswagen Golf is still driving around, but according to current standards. Bohemian Rhapsody has been promoted to IMAX format film. Let's hope that hospitals that have not yet got their testing process in order will also soon move with the times.
Software testing...need advice?
Testersuite as a leading player in the market is constantly helping organizations take the testing process to the next level. Would you like to learn more about Testersuite and the experiences of our customers in the healthcare market? Then take a look here or request a demo below. Testersuite will also be at Zorg & ICT in 2019.