Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, Microservices Journal, Linux, Virtualization, Security

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

API Testing Helps MedicAlert Increase Agility, Extend Services

Acclerating the roll out of secure, reliable APIs

MedicAlert pioneered the use of medical ID products and delivers the most dependable, responsive, and trusted Emergency Identification and Medical Information Network. The nonprofit charity provides the functionality of an e-health information exchange for emergencies through an innovative combination of a unique patient identifier linked to a personal health record and a live 24/7 emergency response service.

medicalertAs MedicAlert continues expanding its role as an innovative provider of healthcare information services, they are leveraging APIs.  To accelerate their ability to roll out new APIs in a secure and effective fashion, MedicAlert has relied on automated API testing software from Parasoft.

With Parasoft, the organization has been able to rapidly manage the functional, regression and load testing challenges associated with its new capabilities and offerings. Parasoft has enabled MedicAlert to automate the testing and validating of new APIs – enabling them to provide new healthcare information services and more rapidly respond to business opportunities.

Challenge: Agility and Scalability on Demand

MedicAlert is focused on enabling members to manage their personal health records (PHR) online while maintaining security, privacy and confidentiality. Its repository of personal health information also facilitates the delivery of critical medical information between patients, providers, payers, and emergency responders. These foundations have enabled the organization to grow by constantly introducing new product offerings such as an RFID-based medical card and a USB- enabled portable information device called E- HealthKEY.

Given the high demands associated with such endeavors, MedicAlert recognized the need to
publish APIs to support its dynamic market plans and objectives. The organization now relies on
these interfaces to support its members’ PHR, which include information about medical conditions
as well as drug prescriptions and other relevant health data.

Considering the sensitive nature and life-saving potential of such information, MedicAlert’s IT organization is under severe pressure to ensure its systems are secure, streamlined and effective. APIs represent an opportunity to roll out new  offerings rapidly, capitalize on reusability, and ensure the systems can scale up to meet the growing demands of members and partners. “APIs are about making your business more agile – being able to rapidly seize new business opportunities,” says Jorge Mercado, Principal Architect for MedicAlert’s Product Development Group.

To be sure, software quality is an essential factor in meeting these objectives – and this fast-moving organization needed a way to address its demanding quality requirements quickly and effectively. “We needed tools to automate our testing processes,” says Natalie Doan, the team’s QA Engineer. “When I joined the group, we had a very manual approach for testing.”

Action: Capitalizing on Parasoft API Testing

After exploring some of the potential API testing solutions, MedicAlert chose API testing with Parasoft SOAtest. “We found SOAtest and we ran with it,” says Doan. “Parasoft support trained us for one week and we were able to take it from there. We quickly saw that the product had a lot of powerful features that would help us automate our testing activities and processes. Parasoft SOAtest was able to support all the latest standards (ex. security and schema validation standards); we were able to test all areas of our APIs.”

Through the use of Parasoft SOAtest, the team is able to efficiently test different endpoints and ensure broad test coverage within this environment. When new updates or modifications are made to an API, Parasoft SOAtest’s regression testing can be employed to ensure that no defects have been introduced and that previously verified functionality continues to operate as expected. “I can quickly ensure that features from the previous version are in place to support the new version,” adds Doan.

Parasoft also brought powerful capabilities in terms of functionality and load testing. It enables the team to test the performance differences on the system between, say, 10 or 100 users simultaneously, updating their personal health record through the services under various scenarios. For instance, Parasoft can test how a user sending a long, data-intensive message impacts a particular API.

Parasoft also helps the group ensure authentication and authorization of data and users are managed properly. However, the key to Parasoft’s value is the range of capabilities it delivers and coverage it enables. “We load test the system from beginning to end,” says Doan. “I couldn’t do that with other testing tools we were using previously.”

Results: Enhanced API Security, Quality and Performance

In recent years, MedicAlert has realized important benefits from Parasoft along three key dimensions: security; quality; and performance.

Parasoft’s support for security is critical to an organization that manages personal health records for its four million members. It relies on Parasoft to ensure authentication and authorization capabilities are performing as expected – whether this requires the team to test SAML assertions or HTTP authentication procedures. With different levels of security support, MedicAlert benefits from Parasoft’s expansive testing capabilities.

In terms of quality, Parasoft’s regression testing capabilities are particularly valued. Doan notes that she can use the same test suites she built two years ago to test new versions of products such as E-HealthKEY, ensuring that all members are continually supported. “When we upgrade to new versions of an API, I can rerun tests and make sure the new API actually supports the previous functionality,” she says. “It’s reliable. It assures me that the functionality is there and working as expected.”

Without such testing capabilities, MedicAlert would run the risk of upsetting its members. APIs might not perform and member data might not be saved or updated properly. “We have to ensure members have an effective experience and that data is there when you need it in an emergency,” Doan adds. “The data must be valid and correct. It must be rapidly and correctly updated. Parasoft helps us ensure these objectives are consistently met.”

Finally, Parasoft supports MedicAlert’s progressive efforts to enhance online performance for its members and partners. Doan explains that the performance of the organization’s APIs was “quite slow” when they initially launched their effort. Updating one’s health record could take as much as a minute to complete. However, through continual testing, iterations and improvement, the team has been able to reduce the time associated with such transactions to less than four seconds.

“We don’t want our members or partners to wait at all,” says Doan. “So we are continually upgrading our services and enhancing the performance of our system to ensure the members have an effective experience.”

Ultimately, automated testing has enhanced the user’s experience online, strengthened relationships with members and partners, and contributed to the agility of MedicAlert. Parasoft’s delivers a “strong return on investment,” says Doan. “We use it on a daily basis for reliability and support throughout our API infrastructure.”

Such capabilities have clearly strengthened the linkages between IT and the business. “Business leaders at MedicAlert want to be able to react quicker and make our APIs more valuable,” says Mercado. “They want to bring on more members at a faster rate. Being able to more rapidly respond to different business opportunities addresses their objectives – and now they realize that APIs can help the organization meet those goals.”

[PAPER] API Testing Business Drivers

Learn about the business drivers behind API testing solution purchase decisions, as well as the opportunities for ROI. This 6-page API Testing Business Drivers paper explains how an automated enterprise-grade API testing solution delivers

  • Reduced costs by reducing testing costs, reducing technical debt, and exposing defects earlier in the SDLC
  • Reduced risks by applying more exhaustive testing techniques, increasing test coverage, and immediately exposing any defects introduced by modifications
  • Increased efficiency by leveraging sophisticated automation and enabling artifact reuse

More Stories By Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia Dunlop is the lead technical writer for Parasoft.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
Cloud is not a commodity. And no matter what you call it, computing doesn’t come out of the sky. It comes from physical hardware inside brick and mortar facilities connected by hundreds of miles of networking cable. And no two clouds are built the same way. SoftLayer gives you the highest performing cloud infrastructure available. One platform that takes data centers around the world that are full of the widest range of cloud computing options, and then integrates and automates everything. Join SoftLayer on June 9 at 16th Cloud Expo to learn about IBM Cloud's SoftLayer platform, explore se...
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete between sessions.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make smarter decisions, faster.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Collecting data in the field and configuring multitudes of unique devices is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that can stretch IT resources. Horan & Bird [H&B], Australia’s fifth-largest Solar Panel Installer, wanted to automate sensor data collection and monitoring from its solar panels and integrate the data with its business and marketing systems. After data was collected and structured, two major areas needed to be addressed: improving developer workflows and extending access to a business application to multiple users (multi-tenancy). Docker, a container technology, was used to ...
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS solutions that provide a Hadoop flavor either make choices for customers very flexible in the name of opti...
For years, we’ve relied too heavily on individual network functions or simplistic cloud controllers. However, they are no longer enough for today’s modern cloud data center. Businesses need a comprehensive platform architecture in order to deliver a complete networking suite for IoT environment based on OpenStack. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dhiraj Sehgal from PLUMgrid will discuss what a holistic networking solution should really entail, and how to build a complete platform that is scalable, secure, agile and automated.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be