Through our implementation experience with hospitals across the country, we have been able to break down the process into 8 different phases. In the last few weeks, we have spent some time going in-depth on the first 4 phases: planning, process review, design and build. All phases are crucial to the success of a project and each blog discusses a high level view of what you can expect during each phase.
Today, we will be covering the “test” phase which typically takes 3-4 months to complete and includes multiple sub-phases that span various testing steps and scenarios.
Here are 5 key components to keep in mind:
- Approach: The testing approach needs to be documented in a test plan that includes details on the various testing sub-phases such as scope, resources, timeline, documentation and acceptance criteria. The framework for the test plan should be reviewed early in the project so your team understands the approach. The plan should be finalized and approved by the project team no later than 4 weeks prior to start of the test phase.
- Scope: The testing scope includes multiple sub-phases such as application/functional, integrated, interface, conversion, device and parallel. All of these sub-phases have various prerequisites, deliverables, scenarios and acceptance criteria and some of them could happen multiple times throughout the project.
- Application/functional is focused on testing specific routines within the application.
- Integrated targets testing scenarios across multiple applications.
- Interface looks at testing connections between MEDITECH and other third party applications.
- Conversion concentrates on testing data conversions from the legacy system to MEDITECH.
- Device is focused on testing laptops, thin clients, printers, scanners and tracker boards.
- Parallel testing is a dress rehearsal for go-live where actual patients are put into MEDITECH and compared to the legacy system.
- Resources: The project team resources are responsible for approach, scenarios and execution. It should be noted that the device and parallel sub-phases generally involve more resources. Device testing needs to be completed in all areas of the organization impacted by the new MEDITECH system. Parallel testing impact is based on the types of patients selected for testing and we recommend that you include as many departments, users and physicians as possible that could be affected.
- Documentation: Testing documentation is an important mechanism that tracks progress and issues that come from testing. The documentation needs to include the test plan, scenarios and an issue log. Project team members need to be active in managing issues and addressing them as they are identified throughout the various sub-phases. For parallel testing, items such as patient tracking identifiers should be used to ensure users can identify the parallel patient. Daily checkpoints need to be completed primarily for integrated and parallel testing.
- Acceptance: After each sub-phase is completed, there needs to be a process to accept the sub-phase by project leadership and acceptance criteria needs to be clearly defined in test plan. This is especially important because it allows the next testing sub-phase to commence. Additionally, acceptance of parallel testing is an important factor in a go-live decision.
If you are considering implementing a new system or upgrading your current MEDITECH environment, our team would be happy to provide specific insight depending on your needs and answer any questions you might have. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (855) 276-9112. We encourage you to subscribe to our blog to catch more insight on the remaining phases in this series on implementation.
About The Author:
Craig McCollum is AVP of Professional Services at Parallon Technology Solutions. In this role, he is responsible for implementation services and project delivery for PTS’ clients. Craig has more than 20 years of healthcare IT and finance experience, including practice leadership, business development, EHR project leadership, EHR implementation and financial management.
Craig is a member of Medical Users Software Exchange (MUSE) and Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Craig is MEDITECH READY certified in project management, general financials, supply chain management and human resources planning. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Fresno State University.