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From Evidence-Based Concept to Product: How Wellsource Quality Assurance Maintains Product Integrity

By Peter Schmeer, Quality Assurance Engineer II

This blog post is written by Peter Schmeer, Quality Assurance Engineer II at Wellsource. Together with his team, Peter works to ensure the quality of our products through testing, innovation, and paying close attention to processes and product development.

In the Wellsource Quality Assurance (QA) department, our goal is to make sure your participants receive reliable, actionable information about their health. Our Research and Development (R&D) department puts in a lot of work to keep our products up to date with current, evidence-based health recommendations and studies. One of QA's most important jobs is making sure that work is reflected each time someone takes one of our assessments. To achieve that goal, the Wellsource QA team gets involved very early in the development process, and shepherds R&D’s ideas and specifications all the way to the end product—and sometimes even beyond.

At Wellsource, we believe that effective testing requires humans. Automated tests can be invaluable in finding certain kinds of issues, but only a human being exercising their critical thinking skills can devise, execute, and analyze tests.

After all, humans will be the ones taking the assessments, not a computer.

Ensuring Quality with Rapid Software Testing Methodology

We follow an industry-standard testing methodology called Rapid Software Testing (RST), which was developed by James Bach, a prominent software tester. As Wellsource's QA team examines our products, we use RST as a guide that allows us to focus on three things:

  • Risk management
  • Exploratory testing
  • Keeping the participant's experience at the forefront

Following a structured testing methodology means we can apply a consistent set of standards to all of Wellsource’s varied products while still allowing for creative testing, keeping our client’s needs and expectations in mind.

Incorporating Quality Assurance in Every Stage of Product Development

Early in the process of building an HRA, QA gets involved to review specifications, give an extra pair of eyes, and make sure the concept holds up to some common-sense scrutiny. By getting involved at an early stage, we can help avoid pitfalls and help to make sure that when a participant eventually sits down to take the assessment, they’re getting results that they understand.

As our development team takes the specifications and builds the assessment, QA stays involved, joining regular development planning meetings and advocating for a smooth user experience whenever possible.

Throughout the process, we aim to do more than just identify bugs; we’re always watching out for potential problems and finding ways to eliminate them before they even happen. We do our best to put ourselves in the shoes of everyone who uses our products:

  • Participants
  • Administrators
  • Software integrators

... and even the medical professionals who could potentially use the information generated by our assessments. Safeguarding your data is a top priority, so QA keeps an eye out for security issues across the entire application. This includes protecting against people who might try to deliberately access something they shouldn’t but also making sure someone using the system as intended won’t inadvertently cause a security problem. We want administrators to use the software confidently and know they’re not causing future headaches for themselves.

Once a new assessment or feature is completed, QA really gets going, putting the product through many kinds of quality checks, some administered through automation, and some done by a QA engineer using the product exactly how a participant or administrator would.

By following our human-centric approach to testing, we aim to do more than just find bugs; we can identify areas where improvements can be made beyond strict failures. During this process, we’re also keeping an eye out to make sure that the original intent of our R&D department is clear in our reporting and messaging. Administrators need HRA data that makes sense, and participants need to understand their results so that they can take the appropriate action. This is where testing done by human beings really pays off, allowing us to identify anything within the product that might be unclear or unhelpful.

Quality Time on the Wellsource QA Team

The Wellsource QA team has decades of combined experience with Wellsource products. Our depth of knowledge gives us the insight and intuition needed to anticipate the needs of our participants and administrators, even as our products grow and evolve to meet the changing field of health and wellness.

Being a dedicated QA team means our goal is simple and straightforward: make sure Wellsource maintains high quality. We don’t just want our products to work, we want them to work well, and we want them to work for you.

At Wellsource, our mission is to help people live longer, healthier lives. And we follow that mission in every aspect of the work we do – starting with building a culture of health within our own company. Learn more about Peter’s wellness journey and how a culture of wellness-inspired his health habits here.

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Tags: health risk assessment, HRA

At Wellsource, we believe that effective testing requires humans. Automated tests can be invaluable in finding certain kinds of issues, but only a human exercising their critical thinking skills can devise, execute, and analyze tests.  

After all, humans will be the ones taking the assessments, not a computer. 

Peter Schmeer, Quality Assurance Engineer II Wellsource