How ‘Code Profiling’ Helps Protect Patient Privacy & Safety In The Medical Industry
Test and Monitor | Posted January 04, 2018

Since 2012, 783,000 medical devices have been recalled due to software issues. As medical equipment becomes more innovative, connected, and software based, they also become vulnerable to new security threats that compromise privacy and safety. The FDA estimates that between 13-75 device recalls happen daily.

The medical industry must focus on software quality to ensure privacy and safety

The majority of software issues in medical devices result from code defects. Developers inject an estimated 100 defects into every 1,000 lines of the code they write. Code defects can come in various forms: memory leaks, code coverage gaps, and performance bottlenecks, all of which can surreptitiously degrade functionality and crash applications.

Although most of these issues are caused by software reliability problems an attacker can also intentionally trigger a memory leak and launch a denial of service attack. An attacker may also take advantage of unexpected program behavior resulting from these code bugs. Not all of these bugs are caught during the testing phase as some have no impact on the particular test case scenarios. According to the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), “Software quality assurance needs to focus on preventing the introduction of defects into the software development process and not on trying to ‘test quality into’ the software code after it is written.”

‘Code profilers’ allow developers to pin point bugs quickly, and overcome the traditionally long and arduous debug process

To ensure fully functioning, high-quality code, developers must implement a strong debug process and peer review process. However, debugging can be a long and arduous process as bugs are highly variable, rise from different use cases and may be difficult to pinpoint in large scale applications with millions of lines of code. Code profilers are a category of tools that enhance the debug process by identifying and locating performance issues.

Code profilers collect crucial performance and memory/resource allocation information at runtime, synthesizes and displays them to a developer. These outputs can be statistical summaries of the events observed (profile), a stream of recorded events (a trace), or graphical representation of information.

Iterative inspections using code profilers ensure high code quality early in the software development life-cycle.

Many organizations naively believe that they can engage in an ad-hoc development process and just inspect at the end to remove all defects. On average, the later a bug is found the costlier it is to fix.

The better approach is to have an iterative inspection process using a code profiler. For robust, multi-code base projects where code quality is paramount, AQtime Pro profiling tool is a necessary addition to a developer’s debug process. AQtime Pro is a powerful memory, code coverage and performance profiler that can perform static tests, traces, failure emulations, and more. It allows developers to pin-point bugs faster, and has strong language support (C/C++, Delphi, .NET, Java, etc.). It also integrates with Visual Studio, and RAD Studio IDEs to integrate easily into a developer’s workflow. AQtime Pro enables developers to drill down on code defects that may not be exposed during the testing stage. AQtime Pro is trusted by over 1000 developers across the world in organizations where code quality is mission critical. As Ryan explains from FlexxMedical:

“AQtime Pro helped us speed up old code that was less than optimized. Using the performance profilers we were able to quickly pinpoint pieces of code that were poorly written and correct them, then verify the results. With AQtime Pro, we now have less memory leaks and better test coverage. Also, debugging hard to find issues, like memory leaks, no longer requires guessing. AQtime Pro points out the problem in the actual line of the source code that is causing it.” Said Ryan.

In the medical device / healthcare industry, having poor code can be the difference between success and failure -- don’t ever sacrifice code quality. AQtime Pro can help find tough bugs and accelerates high quality code delivery.  Learn more about how AQtime Pro can help your organization and how we can cure your mission critical “code aches”


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