You may have heard us talk about the need to transition from manual testing to test automation as part of your EHR implementation and upgrades, and you may have read about some of the primary benefits and hidden benefits of this strategy. But, now we want to dive deeper into how it actually comes together.
Typical EHR test automation starts with the development of custom scripts based on user interactions with the system, from scheduling and registration to clinical treatment documentation to billing and collections. This can be completed on an individual module functional or unit basis or in an end-to-end integrated fashion across the system, and even between systems.
A Proven Approach to test automation
With diagnostic stewardship errors at the top of the 2019 ECRI Patient Safety Concerns list, healthcare providers face significant pressure to master digital tools for accurate data reporting and sharing. That’s yet another reason why EHR testing automation matters so much — it’s during this phase that you can work out system kinks to prevent hiccups and errors down the road.
At Santa Rosa, we employ an established best practice for integrated script development that enables our clients to get the most possible value out of test automation. This includes creating unit scripts and carefully chaining them together into fully integrated scripts. Here are a few benefits we’ve seen from taking this approach.
Reduced Duplicative Efforts
By building a single unit script that can be applied to multiple integration scripts, you save yourself from creating the same script over and over again for each integration. We recommend identifying the most common system interaction for a particular module, and using that for script development. This means you won’t have to maintain 25 different units when in actuality, only one is commonly used.
For example, we create a test automation script for patient registration, and then chain it with a script for following up on an emergency department (ED) visit to create an integrated script for ED patient workflows. This removes duplicative steps and improves overall efficiency of the automation process.
Streamlined Regression Testing
Given the evolving nature of EHRs, regression testing is critical for ensuring the system maintains functionality when you add new features. There is a common misconception that system build changes always result in workflow changes, but much of the time, this doesn’t happen. As a result, your integrated test automation scripts will remain compatible with future versions of your EHR.
When you opt for an integrated approach, you won’t have to maintain a wide range of scripts over time, which makes regression testing simpler. Additionally, by creating integrated scripts with standard unit scripts, you help ensure system changes won’t result in broken workflows downstream.
Longer Script Life
Ultimately, your organization will benefit from access to long-term scripts, rather than ones that become irrelevant quickly. In general, we have found that integrated scripts can remain applicable to an EHR for at least three years. You won’t have to continually revisit your scripts because they are built according to your team’s most common system interactions.
This saves significant time and resource investment over the life of your system, so you can focus your efforts on improving efficiencies in other technical and operational areas.
The Santa Rosa team has a long history with developing test automation scripts for healthcare organizations like yours. We have worked with all major EHR vendors and have a deep understanding of common workflows and system functionalities. Leveraging our experience, we’re able to assess and adapt to both IT changes and larger industry changes. We then build unit scripts in a manner that anticipates all potential integrations, so they can be applied to multiple uses.
Want to know more? Download our white paper “Test Automation: A Preparatory Guide” for all the details on EHR test automation.