Performance Testing the Vaccine Rollout
By Jaspar Casey
The speed at which COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and produced hasn’t been matched by society’s ability to administer doses. As of this writing, 30 million doses delivered in the US have yet to be administered. With numerous reports of temperature-sensitive doses going to waste, the efficient rollout depends on robust systems for registering and scheduling appointments. However, among the many challenges posed by the vaccine rollout, the performance of these IT systems should not be one of your concerns.
Too much of a good thing
In January, shortly after the first vaccines received FDA approval, we were contacted by one of our customers, a large health system in the US. They had received multiple times the expected number of doses, so their focus immediately switched to asking the question: “How can we safely vaccinate as many people as possible while minimizing waste?” Their newly built vaccine registration platform seemed to function as intended, passing the usual spate of tests to ensure quality. However, there is a big difference between typical testing conditions and scenarios where hundreds — if not thousands — of patients and staff are simultaneously trying to register for a potentially life-saving vaccine.
That’s why they turned to Eggplant Performance to make sure everything held up. Eggplant Performance allows teams to conduct cross-system peak load testing. This means not just making sure the registration website loads properly and looks good on a multitude of devices and browsers; it also means that the various connected systems — such as electronic health records (EHRs), databases, and scheduling systems — work flawlessly under peak load conditions. Systems to properly notify and register patients for their second dose also required rigorous testing. In addition, our customer needed to ensure that patients accessing regular health guidance and services would be unaffected, and that regular updates about guidelines around pre-existing conditions, social distancing, and symptoms could be efficiently pushed out across the network.
Stress testing the whole system
To make sure that critical systems can hold their own under immense stress, Eggplant Performance helps IT teams understand the impact of peak traffic beyond simply website performance; it can stress test everything from the user interface (UI) to the network level. Because Eggplant interacts with websites and applications in the same way real users do, customers can be sure that these synthetic load tests faithfully mimic the impact of surges of real user traffic. Parameters, such as the number of virtual users, can be dynamically adjusted to test various scenarios.
Our technology-agnostic approach helps maintain peak performance across any application, browser, or device. In this case, it ensures that registration and scheduling processes integrate effectively with any EMR or related healthcare system. Website and system performance issues are identified through Eggplant's AI-powered testing, helping IT teams fix any potential issues before patients encounter them. Reporting and analysis further help pinpoint problem areas. Ultimately, this allows providers to put patients first by delivering the vaccinations they need. It also means allowing healthcare professionals to focus on what they do best.