Covid-19 has transformed the global health care sector forever. Technology has been so critical to the COVID-19 response at UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) and various other health systems that blur the gap between traditional health care and digital health. Digital applications and technologies that once were not utilized well have now become a permanent solution to provide the best possible care to worldwide patients.
The pandemic has forced payers to intensify their digital transformation process from years to months, months to weeks, and weeks to days. Seemingly miracles in healthcare, members' demands have moved to simple navigation through virtual care. Prior to the pandemic, 56.40 percent of Americans were not ready to believe they could receive quality care from telehealth in comparison to in-person care. Yet, recent polling indicates 79.85 percent of Americans now claim it is possible. Skyes surveyed 2,000 adults from March 2020 to March 2021, in which it identified the telehealth attitudes and experiences. Below are some important findings collected from the survey results:
In March 2020, about 65.6 percent of Americans had numerous doubts in their minds about quality care provided in telehealth appointments. However, after one year, 87.82 percent of people want to continue using telehealth services.
In March 2020, around 19.5 percent of Americans preferred telehealth appointments, whereas this percentage gets increased in March 2021 by 61.05.
In March 2021, approximately 85.52 percent of Americans accepted they could get easy care with telehealth. 31.36 percent of US citizens said they had experienced a massive decrease in healthcare costs after using telehealth.
Many healthcare executives from across the U.S. joined Becker’s Healthcare Telehealth Virtual Forum to discuss their views on difficulties and opportunities in the digital health space. They all seem impressive from the increasing influence of virtual care and telehealth services in health systems.
On the flip side, they also noted the worst medical technology dangers. For example, technology provides numerous benefits to patients, but it also brings significant risks that can threaten patient's safety. Alarms on medical devices, such as ventilators, infusion pumps, and dialysis units, are designed to give warnings to patients in case of potential dangers. But it can also contribute to severe incidents. Life-saving radiation therapy can be catastrophic if errors occur. Insufficient usage and dose levels of CT can lead to unnecessary radiation exposure for patients.
Hospitals need to maintain a higher level of employee engagement and they must measure quality assurance procedures. For radiation therapy, they need to ensure that their staff will follow all guidelines and standards before working on patients' treatment procedures, including they have to develop standard checklists, expand their digital capabilities for hospitals and health systems. To overcome the limitations in the latest virtual healthcare, they need to facilitate end-to-end integration between EHR systems and other digital solutions. They must have required resourcing while integrating telehealth into their main healthcare delivery model.
Clearly, this year we have experienced many more shifts in the adoption of telehealth platforms. It’s the right time to understand the importance of Virtual Healthcare in 2021 with how the latest trends will help us shape the health departments, sectors, or industries.
Trends to Follow for Virtual Healthcare in 2021
High Use of EHR Software in Telemedicine
Over the past few decades, Telemedicine has progressed from basic phone conferences to advanced technology-rich solutions that connect doctors, nurses, patients, and researchers, plus allows them to achieve more successful and reliable healthcare delivery. The EHR (Electronic Health Record System) has an advanced level of capabilities. That’s why it becomes one of the main drivers of telemedicine growth.
Since the first “official” telemedicine trial (circa 1924) through radio transmission, pioneers have been working to enhance patient services and outcomes using new technologies so that both doctors and patients can engage well. Television transmissions based on audio and visual communication allow patients and doctors to communicate in real-time. Due to web-based EHR software systems, it becomes feasible for patients to access medical services from specialists and providers all over the world. When used with integrated healthcare technologies, EHR software encourages doctors to make science-based and well-informed decisions that further ensures fewer prescribing errors, faster diagnosing, and better results with detailed use of digital images and patient histories.
Electronic health records are imperative to integrate into your telemedicine apps as it allows healthcare providers and patients to save medical records or histories in the app. Moreover, Apple Healthkit and Google Fit integration also prove valuable to access previous health information available on a patient’s smartphone. Interactive Voice Response is necessary for this app to communicate with patients using digital speech.
Read our case study on Testing of a Pharmacy Dispensing Machine
Role of Testing in EHR Systems
Testing is the major need for EHR systems because such software deals with patients’ sensitive information that should be carefully checked and protected for their well-being. EHR systems are a vital cog in the wheel of healthcare management. However, it needs to be quickly accessible, especially from remote places. Lots of people prefer online-based healthcare services because they have a fear of Coronavirus, so they want to stay safe at every moment. Due to this, EHR systems should be secure too. They should be able to provide better monitoring and management services to help patients track their health. As the record systems contain interfaces with various software and hardware suites, so they should be tested well in the production environment to ensure better efficacy.
EHR systems are at the center of Healthcare IT transformation that we can’t neglect during the time of testing. EHR systems should be tested with various test scenarios. There are different types of EHR testing services like functional testing, interoperability testing, security testing, performance testing, ICD-10 testing that is the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.
The Results of EHR Testing Effort Incorporate:
Specific Areas to Consider in EHR Systems That Require Quality Assurance
Multiple workflows include in EHRs, from patient admissions to insurance verifications to issuing medication prescriptions and obtaining laboratory results. Also, such workflows can differ as per different healthcare facilities and healthcare professionals. During functional testing, a test engineer is responsible for verifying each workflow with the requirements specification.
To acquire optimal test coverage without hampering testing quality, it is necessary to perform a functional test on EHR systems based on the functional value of business processes and unexpected business risks. For example, medication order search is less important; hence the workflow can be treated here as of a medium priority and tested once in the testing environment. However, medication order prescription is crucial in EHR systems, so it should be prioritized first and tested quickly with different test cases and across distinct testing environments.
Usability flaws can give bad working experience to healthcare professionals while using EHR systems. Similarly, it can have an adverse impact on patient’s health. Thus, one needs to validate the EHR convenience as per relevant user scenarios and roles. It is the duty of test engineers to ensure that each transaction will complete from the end of the clinical staff at each step of the patient’s admission or appointment. From upcoming visits, treatments, examinations to diagnosing, every process should comply with the HIMSS’s principles of EMR usability and the requirement specifications.
Performance testing is needed to validate the EHR’s functionality and ensure that every feature works perfectly with a normal and extreme load. Test engineers should check the readiness of EHRs for traffic spikes using load testing. They should even check its reliability, velocity, stability, and response time.
EHRs need to have the given precautionary features against data security violations. Similarly, it is requisite to follow the HIPAA Security Rule’s Technical Standards. Check out which features need precautions in EHR.
Being a test engineer, you should confirm the system’s activity logs can consistently record all user actions and ensure that these logs will provide sufficient information and provide excellent protection to patients' health information.
Test specialists warrant that personal health information is secure against unauthorized deletion and improper altering. They ensure that EHR features from a data integrity perspective are working as intended.
EHR systems need to be verified for user authentication, user identification, and emergency access procedures.
Test engineers are responsible for verifying patients’ health data, and this information should be transferred through encryption and decryption format.
EHRs are combined with systems like radiology information systems, laboratory information systems, departmental-specific systems, picture archiving and communication systems, patient portals, and many other systems. These systems help exchange patient’s information in several formats, so test engineers should ensure that each format complies with relatable interoperability systems in the event of data transfer.
Importance of Data Mapping Testing in Interoperability
Data mapping testing is needed for EHR systems as it assists the application in obtaining its interoperability objectives and allows to match the data between a source and target. The source can be one specific kind of system, and the target can be of another system. Both these systems contain the information in a varied form to exchange the patient’s information and other data in a meaningful way. Data mapping is the needed component of data integration and data migration. It can be used to gather and integrate healthcare data from systems like EHR, EMR, and other data sources. The merged data can be utilized to prepare case studies, perform analytics, forecasting, and other work purposes. Errors that are failed to detect in the data mapping process lead to severe implications and problems. It can become the reason for a patient’s data privacy breach. To calm down this situation, data integrity testing is necessary for the data mapping process. With the best evaluation, one can ensure only clean data will get loaded into the target storage.
When planning to build a telemedicine application, you must cross-check what features are necessary for EHR systems. All of the features are willing to give surety of better appointment management, security, interactive audio/video communication, secure messaging, easy location tracking, etc. Other than that, test engineers should perform wireless testing through wearable integration.
Other Trends in Virtual Healthcare to Follow for 2021
Artificial Intelligence plays a significant role in vaccine development, thermal screening, pandemic detection, analyzing CT scans, facial recognition with masks. According to the FDA, thermal screening systems and non-contact infrared thermometers use numerous strategies and tactics to identify the human’s temperature. AI can easy to identify people with high temperatures.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) have the potential to improve the quality of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. This technology can turn science fiction into reality, especially when it comes to educating medical professionals regarding process simulating and scheduling the provider’s and patient’s visits faster.
Blockchain acts as a helping hand in the healthcare industry. Digital ledgers allow healthcare providers to share transaction records to patient's safety. The healthcare department's need is to improve security, accessibility, and portability that blockchain can do very well with other trends like cloud computing and IoMT.
Remote Monitoring and Automated Communication
The applications and software for remote monitoring and tracking of healthcare activities have helped physicians to engage with their patients in a more comfortable and safer zone. Healthcare specialists use a growing number of automated communication tools for post-discharge care instructions, rule-based messaging, and appointment reminders through text, IVR, mobile alerts, and SMS. Intelligent remote monitoring devices and telehealth systems give real-time support to patients and allow them to get medical assistance from their homes.
Contract tracing applications use Bluetooth to trace and track infections. This technology is widely used in South Korea and Singapore. It utilizes an advanced level of analytics and link analysis to alert patients about the Corona situation in quick minutes.
Virtual healthcare is the element of Telemedicine, and it involves remote-based and technology-driven healthcare services. It combines all strategies and methods executed by physicians/doctors in their healthcare practices, including report generation after the in-person visits with later patient’s treatment plans and possibilities.
Various applications and websites like MFine, Practo, DocsApp are popular nowadays to connect a doctor with its patients. Virtual consultations, digital payments, easy medicine prescriptions are one of the best advantages of virtual healthcare in 2021. Both medical professionals and patients are dependent on these apps. Thus, it is essential to consider healthcare app testing and quality assurance to enhance hospital reimbursement and patient outcomes.
Also Read: Importance Of Testing Healthcare App
At BugRaptors, our QA professionals set quality goals, build strategies & teams, identify focused areas, collect and analyze before-and-after data, and integrate many programs to ensure that medical facilities will follow all relevant state, federal, and local laws and regulations along with third-party payer requirements. We even assure that healthcare organizations will better meet the criteria for accreditation by sufficient accrediting bodies. We focus on three areas – structures, processes, and outcomes, and promise to take your healthcare care business to the next level.
Give a basic read to BugRaptors’ case study and check how we helped our client in EHB testing using Android and iOS devices.