U.S. Hospital Cuts Testing From Two Weeks to One Day With Eggplant

Resources freed: One tester can now cover the previous workload of more than 20 users.

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Our client is a private not-for-profit hospital and one of the most comprehensive medical facilities in the United States, serving a dozen counties with a population in excess of 4 million. One of the largest hospitals in its state, it is licensed for 1,018 beds and, with more than 6,000 employees, is one of the region’s largest employers.

The hospital’s IT systems are orchestrated around an electronic medical records (EMR) system called EpicCare, which is an all-inclusive, HIPAA compliant package with a streamlined workflow and user-friendly interface. The system is vital to the running of the hospital and any changes, updates or new workflows must be rigorously tested before being implemented.

Updates and changes to EpicCare are issued regularly, sometimes as often as every one or two days, and new workflows often need to be created and implemented across the organization. Around 90 percent of the IT department’s projects are linked to the EpicCare system and range in length from one to six weeks or even three months in some cases.

 

Automate for healthy testing

The hospital initially adopted a manual approach to testing, which required the participation and input of many staff, often including valuable and busy the medical professionals.

The IT department made the decision to implement an automated testing solution that would help accelerate testing of the EpicCare system and free up valuable hospital resources.

“There were a number of factors that led to us making the decision to explore a test automation solution,” explained the hospital’s senior testing coordinator. “The sheer number of changes and updates were a challenge to manage, but the hospital is also acquiring new clinics all the time, which adds new test cases for every clinic, and of course the extensive time and strain on resources required to conduct increasingly repetitive testing was significant. There had to be a better way.”

The hospital looked at several software testing automation solutions before making its decision to go with Eggplant Functional. With its patented, image-based approach to GUI testing that allows it to interact with any device or application in the same way a user does, by looking at the screen, Eggplant Functional uses sophisticated image and text search algorithms to locate objects on the screen in a completely technology-agnostic manner and then drive the device.

“We wanted a tool that allowed for rapid creation of test cases that could be easily maintained. We considered tools from many of the biggest players, including IBM, HP, and Microsoft but, we felt that the complexity of the solutions was not well-suited to our environment as they would take a long time to set up relatively simple test cases. When we discovered Eggplant Functional, it checked all the boxes and we fell in love with it!”

The test team took a couple of weeks to conduct the initial pilot with Eggplant Functional, which mostly comprised a lot of internal discussions at the hospital as they scoped out how they would implement the software in the first instance.

“The support we received during this period was remarkable. We had lots of contact from the Eggplant team, who helped us get where we needed to be with the product. The flexibility of Eggplant's support team was very well suited to our busy environment — they were there when we needed them and this was a key factor in our decision to go forward with Eggplant Functional.”

 

It’s a results business

After one year using Eggplant Functional, the hospital’s IT department has achieved some compelling results, slashing test times and freeing up staff to focus on their core responsibilities.

“Our primary goals for making the shift to Eggplant were to reduce test time and to free up valuable resources, and we have definitely achieved that. For example, in the past when we were testing new workflows, it would take around two weeks of testing and required the input of 22 different users, which was very expensive use of resources. Today, with Eggplant, we can now complete all testing of a new workflow in a single day and using just one engineer.”

As the hospital looks to the future, the mobile capabilities of Eggplant are becoming increasing relevant.

“We have a mandate to go mobile with all our IT systems, including EMR, and we expect that Eggplant will aid us in this initiative with its cross-platform support for mobile devices.”
 

Eggplant Manager makes a difference

In addition to choosing Eggplant Functional, the hospital also opted to choose Eggplant Manager, a web-based solution that allows easy management of systems and devices under test, definition of test runs, scheduling executions, and analysis of aggregated results.

“As we are faced with so many frequent updates to the EMR system, the scheduling feature of Eggplant Manager has really helped us overcome that challenge. In addition, being able to easily create and share reports with management is a very useful feature.”