HDS / IMS Health

Healthcare Data Solutions (HDS), now part of IMS Health, enables healthcare companies to identify and reach high-potential targets—resulting in increased leads, sales productivity and revenue. With continuously verified data that’s updated every four hours, HDS empowers healthcare businesses to make intelligent, cost-effective decisions while also remaining compliant with regulations. To support enterprise-wide demands, HDS offers data that covers the entire healthcare ecosystem—from providers to supporting organizations and the linkages among them.

Business Need

As part of its overall mission to provide data that covers the entire healthcare ecosystem, Healthcare Data Solutions aggregates large data sets from healthcare providers and other healthcare organizations. HDS then delivers the data to businesses that provide email, data management, compliance, marketing and sales services to the healthcare, life science and pharmacy industries.

The APIs that the HDS software team develops for these applications play a critical role in how effectively the information-delivery systems perform. When testing APIs, the software QA team at HDS found that the time to test multiple data sets, set up testing artifacts, and then diagnose the root causes of issues impeded its ability to release software updates on schedule.

“At one point we had to delay the release of a project for a whole fiscal quarter, which had significant ripple effects on other priorities,” says Roland Wimpey, Software QA Manager for Healthcare Data Solutions. “It sometimes took us two or three days just to set up our testing processes.”

Inefficient use of tester and developer time is something HDS tries to avoid. So in looking for a solution to solve this challenge, Wimpey and his team hoped to find a data-driven testing tool that offers point-and-click testing without requiring scripts as well as easy-to-use features that work effectively—not only for developers and testers, but also for non-developers in the testing process.

“Capturing data in the response messages—without needing to write code—so we can easily compare post changes was also an important attribute,” Wimpey adds. “We knew capabilities such as these would significantly streamline our API testing processes.”

Targeted Solution

Healthcare Data Solutions considered testing solutions from other commercial software testing vendors and open source offerings like Apache JMeter but found that SmartBear SoapUI Pro was by far the easiest solution to learn and apply to day-to-day practices. SmartBear also demonstrated how SoapUI Pro enables QA teams to reduce implementation timeframes and the total cost of testing.

Built on an open core framework, SoapUI Pro provides complete functional testing capabilities for SOAP, REST and any other development protocol. By using powerful next-generation testing techniques, the solution enables development and test teams to ensure APIs perform as intended and meet all business requirements.
One of the SoapUI Pro components that HDS particularly appreciates is Ready APIa true API readiness platform that lets QA teams set up projects and workspaces in one central location. Each user can customize their experience by building plugins or using existing plugins. QA teams can also write their own test scripts in JavaScript or Groovy, and the solution records HTTP traffic to discover APIs that need testing.

“As we continue to improve the way we utilize the Ready API feature within SoapUI Pro, we are seeing improvements that put us onto the path of even better testing coverage,” Wimpey adds. “We can now deliver feedback to the software development team in a timelier manner and achieve our on-time delivery goals.”

“As we continue to improve the way we utilize the SoapUI Pro tool in the Ready API platform, we are seeing improvements that put us onto the path of even better testing coverage. We can now deliver feedback to the software development team in a timelier manner and achieve our on-time delivery goals.”
— Roland Wimpey, Software QA Manager

Benefits and Results

Since deploying SoapUI Pro, Healthcare Data Solutions has gained the ability to data-drive automated tests—which reduces the set-up of initial testing processes from three days to just half a day. “We can also run regression tests before and after human testing to make sure we focus the right efforts on the right place in the QA process,” Wimpey adds.

Regression testing the same situations across multiple environments—development, QA/staging and production—used to require a lot of manual work. But with the SoapUI Pro Ready API environment, HDS can quickly switch the same tests to run against any environment. Wimpey’s team also revamped the regression suites to be more robust and easier to update versus the previous way.

HDS also now has the ability to provide management with an objective view over which APIs the QA Team is testing and not testing by using the coverage reports in SoapUI Pro. The team is creating test suite reports to share with the project owners and to add to the documentation of test coverage.

“By communicating what we are testing in real time to management, they can respond and re-direct our activities when necessary,” Wimpey says. “This helps us make sure the QA Team is focused on the testing that will deliver the greatest value to the company.”

SoapUI Pro, part of the Ready API platform, provides professional teams with the rapid automation tools they need to ensure their APIs are reliable, fast, and safe. As part of the SmartBear customer network, Healthcare Data Solutions is at the cutting edge of providing high-quality information delivery systems to their clients, utilizing modern skills and tools to release software often and on time. To ensure ongoing success, Healthcare Data Solutions uses SmartBear’s API readiness platform to be a leader in the digital healthcare industry and the connected world.

Business Challenges

  • Release software updates on schedule.
  • Utilize developer and tester time more efficiently.
  • Capture data in response messages without needing to write code.
  • Accelerate data set testing, setting up artifacts, and diagnosing issue root-causes.

SmartBear SoapUI Pro Solution

  • Delivers complete functional testing capabilities for any development protocol.
  • Discovers at-risk API endpoints via coverage tests and traffic recording features.
  • Provides easy-to-learn processes that can be easily applied to testing practices.
  • Allows QA to set up projects and workspaces in one central location.
  • Empowers users to build their own plugins or use existing plugins.
  • Supports test script writing in JavaScript or Groovy.

Measurable Results

  • Reduces initial testing set-up processes 80%—from three days to a half day.
  • Reduces software implementation timeframes and lowers total cost of testing.
  • Runs regression testing before and after human testing to ensure QA focuses on the right issues.
  • Makes sure that APIs perform as intended and meet all business requirements.
  • Provides management with objective views over which APIs are being tested in case adjustments are needed.
Key Products