User Acceptance Testing and Healthcare. What is the purpose of UAT in medical apps?
As the healthcare sector is shifting to digitalization, the market is getting overloaded with healthcare applications of the most diverse types. Healthcare software is a rather specific product, and thorough testing is a must. QA teams go out of their way in order to provide first-class quality as in certain cases it can be a matter of life and death. User acceptance testing is considered to be one of those essential phases of the QA process that cannot be omitted when it comes to healthcare app testing. Why is it so? Let's get into the nitty-gritty.
What is UAT?
We offer to start from the basics in order to be able to see and understand the whole scope of the issue. So, first of all, let's define what UAT is.
UAT, an abbreviation for User Acceptance Testing, is a level of software testing that aims to reveal whether a software product is ready to be released. Except in rare circumstances, it is performed manually with the application of the black-box testing technique in the tail end of the QA process when all other tests have been successfully completed.
What sets UAT apart from other types of software testing is that it is carried out not by a QA team itself but by product owners, their representatives, BAs, subject matter experts, or a focus group of intended users.
The key factor is domain expertise, a good understanding of the way an application should work, and testing from the perspective of end-users.
By the time user acceptance testing is conducted, all technical issues must have been already detected and fixed. As a result, during this testing, the focus is shifted from a technical side to business-related issues.
In other words, UAT is conducted with the purpose of validation, i.e. to make sure that an application matches all business requirements and satisfies real users' needs letting them efficiently and effectively solve their tasks.
Only when user acceptance testing is successfully completed, it can be decided if an application can be released.
What are the benefits of UAT in healthcare app testing?
If you still wonder why user acceptance testing is a big deal and especially for [healthcare app testing](https://www.deviqa.com/industries/healthcare-testing-services/), there is a list of UAT benefits to help you overcome the temptation to skip this type of software testing.
Keeping expenses as low as possible
User acceptance testing lets detect either business issues, usability issues, or technical issues that could have been missed out on by QA and development teams. As a result, all the necessary tweaks, improvements, and bug fixing can be done before product release. It is conventional wisdom that fixing issues in development rather than in production is less expensive and risky for a business of any kind not to mention those involved in the healthcare industry.
Taking advantage of end-users' vision
As long as UAT is executed from the perspective of end-users or carried out by intended users themselves, it gives a great opportunity to reveal issues and weaknesses that tech-oriented experts could not even think about. Since healthcare apps can target a few types of users at once, e.g. doctors, nurses, insurance companies, and patients, it is indeed important to involve each party in the testing process to be sure of the AUT business value.
Better app robustness and usability
User acceptance testing is an essential part of a QA process as its results let a product team ensure app robustness and usability by revealing problems that were not obvious before. When it comes to healthcare apps, it is indeed important as every wasted minute or app failure can cost a human life.
Increased end-user satisfaction
User acceptance testing is carried out to check whether a development team has understood and interpreted business requirements correctly and whether the AUT can satisfy the needs and expectations of a target auditory. This approach lets you be confident of the high rate of user satisfaction and consequently user acquisition and user retention which is one of the core goals for any business.
Implementation of UAT in the healthcare industry
In general, user acceptance testing is implemented in the same way just with minor tweaks depending on the app type. So let's consider the way it is carried out when it comes to healthcare applications. As we have mentioned, in the perfect scenario user acceptance testing is performed by a focus group consisting of real users while all corresponding preparations are made by a QA team that also supervises UAT execution.
In essence, we can differentiate the following steps of UAT implementation:
Analysis of requirements
The first step is pretty obvious. Everything starts with an in-depth study and analysis of project documentation in order to understand the way an app should work and reveal which business goals, as well as user requirements, should be met. QA engineers review a Business Requirements Document, a System Requirements Specification, use cases, process flow diagrams, etc.
UAT plan design
As soon as requirements are utterly understood it is high time to get to designing a UAT plan. As a rule, it outlines a strategy to be applied as well as defines test scenarios, exit and entry criteria, deadlines, needed resources, test environment peculiarities, etc.
Test case design
The next step is test case design. Simply put, a test case is a testing artifact including a list of steps to be done and an expected result. Each test case corresponds with one usage scenario. In other words, a test case defines actions that a user should perform to check whether an application under test works as expected.
Environment setup and test data preparation
This step is also of high importance. The thing is that UAT should be executed in a pre-production environment and with production-like test data. So the corresponding arrangements and preparations must be done.
UAT scheduling and management
A QA team must take care of all the aspects of this test execution, including deliverables, environment, schedules, focus group, and many others.
Particular attention must be paid to the members of a focus group. As we have already mentioned, UAT can be conducted by a product owner, BA, or stakeholders, but when it comes to healthcare apps, it is definitely better to organize a focus group consisting of the most suitable app users. Depending on the app types it can be doctors, nurses, patients, subject matter experts, etc. All of them must undergo corresponding training and receive necessary instructions.
When all other types of software testing have been performed and all critical defects have been eliminated, it is a turn of UAT. The focus group performs testing on the ground of test cases and provides feedback as well as reports detected bugs that are fixed ASAP and then a corresponding retesting is performed.
On the ground of the feedback of the focus group, UAT results, and reports, it is decided whether the healthcare application is ready for use and can be moved to production.
The healthcare domain is rather specific. Moreover, it is subject to strict regulatory constraints and severe competition. As far as healthcare app development is concerned, brand name, reputation, and even human lives and health are at stake. To eliminate all possible risks, it is highly important to conduct all the necessary types of software testing. User acceptance testing is one of them. The thing is that healthcare apps are designed for the most diverse medical specialties and can target either doctors or patients. Since user acceptance testing implies the involvement of real users and domain experts in the process of software testing, it can provide a product team with valuable insights and let it understand if the app will be well accepted by a target audience as well as whether the healthcare app is ready to be moved to production.