NextGen cuts script maintenance by 50%

NextGen Healthcare Reduces Automation Scripting Time 50% by Switching to Automai Loader

NextGen Healthcare helps medical practices improve community health and patient outcomes at a lower cost with expertise, services, and technology solutions. The company services more than 7,000 clients and 90,000 providers. They support interoperability that facilitates the care of more than 150 million patients.

NextGen was using LoadRunner to test their electronic health records (EHR) application but was seeking a reliable solution that could test their complex application workflows and require less maintenance.  They chose Automai Loader to handle their testing needs.

Seeking a better testing solution

The company’s main product is NextGen Enterprise, an EHR solution for ambulatory healthcare providers that helps increase clinical productivity, enrich the patient experience, provide patients expanded access to their own data, reduce healthcare disparities, and ensure healthy financial outcomes.

NextGen Enterprise is a thick-client server legacy application that is not web-based. It is built on a two-tier architecture with a .NET front end directly connected via OBDC to their SQL database. The application is also supported by a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

“We were spending a good deal of time maintaining our test automation which was the biggest pain area for us,” says Aliya Tasneem, Senior Engineering Manager, Platform Engineering Team at Next Gen. “We had three main requirements when we started our search for an alternative testing approach. First, we wanted to reduce the maintenance time that was required with LoadRunner. Second, we needed to be able to create complex scripts more quickly. Third, we started implementing Shift Left Performance Testing. For this we needed the development organization and our manual and automation engineers to be able to create test automations and run load tests themselves. This required learning LoadRunner which has a steep learning curve. We wanted a solution that was easier for them to learn.”

The NextGen team conducted several tool investigations and determined that Automai checked all three need boxes.

“Not every tool supports our kind of application for performance testing of concurrent users logging in,” says Aftab Alam, Engineering Manager at NextGen Healthcare. We found  Automai Loader allowed us to test the EHR workflows our users use.

Automai Loader cuts scripting automation time in half

“LoadRunner requires extensive script maintenance,” says Alam. “If there was any change in our application, we had to refactor and update the automation scripts.”

“We cut our automation scripting time by 50%,” says Tasneem. “Automai Loader is a UI-based automation scripting product, not necessarily language dependent. It also enables reuse of script components and the way we were able to structure the code. The creation of scripts was reduced from three days to a day and a half.”

NextGen is also pleased with the price point and ROI of Automai Loader.

“Definitely licensing Automai Loader vs. LoadRunner provides us with significant cost savings,” says Tasneem. “We are now testing for 7,000 users with a goal of moving to 10,000.  Getting up to those loads is costly, and it would’ve cost much more with LoadRunner compared to the pricing Automai is able to give us.”

Increased productivity

NextGen has been using Automai Loader for two years and has seen increased productivity when conducting large scale load testing because of the benefits of Automai Loader:

  • No need for coding
  • Ability to easily build custom workflows to fit their business processes
  • No need to install anything on their application servers

The end-to-end monitoring by Automai Loader via robots that simulate multiple users from PCs at multiple test locations is also beneficial for NextGen. Scenario setups take minutes with Automai Loader which is then able to apply consistent, measurable, and repeatable loads. NextGen is then able to use the data to pinpoint scalability concerns before impacting the end users.

Responsive partnership

NextGen is pleased with the partnership they have cultivated with Automai. They are continuously working with the Automai team to adapt the tool to meet their changing needs.

“They are always there to support us,” Alam says. “We get immediate response whenever we have an issue. They are quick to provide a fix for it.  For example, we requested a tool to integrate Automai Loader into a continuous integration and continuous delivery/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline, something more of our customers are using. Automai quickly created some APIs that enabled us to integrate our tests with that pipeline.”

Tasneem also relayed an example of excellent support from Automai.

“We were working on a very important release during the Thanksgiving and Christmas timeframe,” she said. “The Automai team was amazing with the way they were able to support us with morning and evening calls. The turnaround time and the assistance they provided was excellent and very professional. The dedicated focus and attention that the team gave us really made all the difference.

“The technical expertise of the support staff is also commendable,” Tasneem continues. “They are usually able to understand the issue immediately on the call. The technical skillset of the folks with us is good. They’re able to help us create and follow the right best practices and everything that Automai Loader offers. They explain in detail how to understand and use its features.”

“We have a good relationship with Automai,” Alam summed up. “We continue to get more features added to the tool and that is helping us be more productive in achieving our work.”