Effective Test Automation for Cerner
Cerner is a crucial EHR application utilized by numerous Healthcare organizations across the world. However, the efforts of testing this critical application have proven to be challenging for many organizations for numerous reasons, and the difficulty in adopting effective test automation to ease the burdens of complexity and volume of testing required has also come with its own set of headaches.
However, through Tx3's partnership and expertise with Tricentis Tosca, we were effectively able to implement a streamlined test automation framework for a client using Cerner in several pilot areas of the application. With the pilot a success thanks to both the advanced functionality of Tosca and Tx3's best practices and expertise in implementing effective test automation, we are continuing to expand beyond the pilot areas of the application that were identified to not only additional application areas within Cerner to automate, but also to other applications across the organization.
Given that many hospital groups struggle with similar issues, I thought it important to provide an overview of this case study to outline not only what the challenges have historically been when it comes to testing or automating Cerner, but, more importantly, to show how we were able to effectively and successfully overcome those challenges utilizing Tricentis Tosca.
If you're still reading, I'll assume this topic resonates and you're anxious to get to the actual subject matter, so I'll quit dragging out the setup and instead get straight into the.......
A major California hospital group relies on Cerner applications to drive efficient operations and continuously optimize patient care. However, their manual testing approach could not keep pace with Cerner’s rapid release schedule. The constant testing of updates was disruptive, and each test cycle was painful without tools providing insight into what changed and what to focus on.
They knew that Cerner tested each new release. However, Cerner does not disclose exactly what was tested, and with what rigor. Moreover, each Cerner customer needs to perform their own testing to understand how Cerner’s updates impact the highly customized workflows that hospitals build upon Cerner’s prepackaged functionality.
Even beyond testing Cerner updates, the organization’s manual test tracking and execution process was not meeting their expectations from a reporting, status, coverage, and release traceability standpoint. It was clear that addressing these issues required test automation embedded within a more robust, mature, and streamlined testing practice—as well as a better way to organize test cases and results.
- All testing of the Cerner app was performed manually, with basic Microsoft Office tools
- Cerner does not provide details about what was tested and to what rigor
- Cerner’s own testing does not account for individual workflows that various hospital groups might build
- Manual testing and testing teams became overburdened with the volume of releases
- Manual testing process left little visibility into analytics and testing data from release to release
- Lacked the data to support a risk-based approach to test design, so everything had to be tested to the same level of rigor, every time
- Difficult to capture useful reporting data
- Difficult to track testing project status
With effective test automation in mind, this hospital group turned to Tricentis Tosca —the leader in test automation. As a strategic partner with a wealth of experience servicing Healthcare and Life Sciences organizations, Tricentis leaned on Tx3 to ensure a speedy and successful deployment.
The hospital group was the first Tricentis customer to venture into Cerner testing; thanks to great collaboration across teams and organizations, deployment and ongoing utilization was a resounding success. The hospital group not only achieved the effective Cerner test automation they had originally targeted, but they also discovered numerous additional benefits.
For example, the team can take a risk-based approach to test automation now that they have better analysis and tracking of previous testing and past releases. This drastically reduced the overhead of testing requirements and streamlined regression testing from release to release—dramatically reducing time to ROI. In addition, their automated tests can be easily parameterized and data-driven—increasing the scope of automation while reducing test maintenance and configuration required.
The implementation has yielded such positive results that the CIO has extended the project across other areas of Cerner, as well as across additional applications across the enterprise.
If your organization is struggling with similar challenges in testing Cerner or in attempting to utilize test automation with Cerner, please contact us via the link below. You can also view a webinar we recorded where we go into detail on this particular case study that we outlined.
Jason Secola manages content marketing and channel activities at Tx3 Services and has been with the company since 2016. Jason began working with the larger portion of the existing Tx3 team dating back to 2007 when he got his first start in the world of application testing which ultimately led to a focus on testing in a regulated environment. He currently resides near Sacramento, CA.
Jason Secola manages content marketing and channel activities at Tx3 Services and has been with the company since 2016. Jason began working with the larger portion of the existing Tx3 team dating back to 2007 when he got his first start in the world of application testing which ultimately led to a focus on testing in a regulated environment. He currently resides near Sacramento, CA.View all posts by Jason Secola