How Proper EMR Validation Impacts Patient Care
Posted on: Friday, November 12, 2021 By: KorchekStaff
With most healthcare organizations either upgrading their current EMR system or implementing a new one, proper testing and validation of the software is critical to delivering peak patient care. Validating an EMR goes beyond data quality verification and extends to include testing key workflows, ancillary application integration, and custom rules-based systems. Even the most modern healthcare organizations struggle to accommodate proper testing due to lack of understanding regarding software testing fundamentals and/or lack of resources. In these situations, hospitals greatly benefit from outsourcing the organization’s testing needs to a trusted vendor that specializes in software verification backed by clinical experience to ensure that the software is production ready. Regardless of how a healthcare organization chooses to test their software systems, the testing process should focus on three areas: functionality (with a patient safety focus), integration, and regression.
The functionality of an EMR system needs to be tested to prove that the application works as expected. Providers are increasingly dependent upon a properly functioning EMR system to improve quality of patient care, assess new treatments, identify high-risk patients, and facilitate clinical research. The functional testing of an EMR system poses a significant challenge as many facilities seek to implement customized workflows to handle niche SOPs. Additionally, as today’s EMR systems grow in complexity and scope it becomes burdensome for healthcare organizations to properly design a comprehensive test plan that tackles all functionality testing.
Integration testing is performed to confirm that all ancillary systems in an EMR system are communicating correctly. Present-day EMR systems interface with an abundance of disparate clinical systems such as PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System), LIS (Laboratory Information Systems), or even other healthcare organizations. Creating an integrated test plan for linking diverse systems across medical departments can be demanding for a healthcare organization not familiar with complexity of data flows across diverse platforms. Ensuring the seamless integration, accessibility, and flow of data is vital to empower providers with convenient access to the information they need to provide best-in-class patient care.
The final area of focus, regression testing, checks that the core elements of the EMR system works as expected after a software upgrade or the introduction of a new interface to an application. Any software upgrade may introduce new features that may adversely impact custom workflows or configurations; making regression testing necessary to ensure an uninterrupted upgrade path. Many EMR vendors may require multiple upgrades per year placing heavy strain on a healthcare organization’s resources to properly test updates. This lack of testing expertise and resource capacity causes healthcare organizations to fall behind on needed software upgrades which could negatively affect patient care.
Korchek is the industry leader in clinical software testing and has worked with a wide array of healthcare organizations to develop thorough testing plans that cover every aspect of the software verification life cycle.
This post summarizes information from the below articles:
Electronic Health Records to Facilitate Clinical Research
"How the Virtual Health Landscape is Shifting in a Rapidly Changing World." Deloitte Insights.