How it works...

Message Transmission

The AHML Message Testing Engine is a server based, automated test engine that can receive many different types of electronic healthcare messages, using a variety of transmission protocols. It is designed to be used unattended, and will be accessible to clients 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

AHML offers superior message testing against current healthcare messaging standards. In addition, it allows testing for compliance with application-specific or organisation-specific message structure, content and business rules and content requirements.

Messages can be sent to the AHML Message Testing Engine and processed against the nominated message standard. A diagnostic report will then be produced, detailing the results of the testing. In addition, all tests and results are fully logged for further reference. Options can be set to control the type and depth of testing the client wishes to undertake.

Messages can be sent to the Message Testing Engine via the on-line interface. In addition, AHML clients will be able to submit messages using HTTP to the client specific URL allocated to them. HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the application-level protocol that is used to transfer data on the Web. HTTP comprises the rules by which Web browsers and servers exchange information. However, because HTTP is a request-response protocol, it can be used for other purposes. In the case of AHML bulk message testing, HTTP provides the mechanism for data (that is, HL7 messages) to be sent directly to a user-specific URL. The AHML server then directs the message to the Message Testing Engine for processing.

Regardless of the type of electronic healthcare messages to be tested, AHML is able to provide appropriate testing services. The Message Testing Engine has been developed to incorporate HL7 standard V2.3.1 (and soon 2.4 and 2.5). It also supports XML-encoded messages.

Message Testing Process

During the message testing process, a number of different areas of a message are tested. The most basic is concerned with the format and structure of the message - whether the message is constructed correctly. The actual content of the message can also be validated according to lookup tables or specific databases. In addition, the message can also be tested to make sure specified business rules are being adhered to.
A graphical description of the message testing process is available in both animated (Powerpoint) and static (GIF image) formats.

Levels of Testing

The fundamental level of testing available through the AHML Message Testing Engine is the evaluation of messages and reports and their conformance with the relevant published message standards (eg. HL7 and AS4700). Testing at this level is not concerned with application or organisation specific requirements. This enables testing at a basic level before additional specification conformance testing is undertaken. Testing could encompass the following levels:

AHML enables clients to enhance the testing profiles to meet specific application and project requirements. By configuring the Message Testing Engine, additional messaging requirements covering business rules, message content and structure specific to a project or application can be provided.
Within each of the levels testing could encompass (see diagram above), the AHML can test the message structure, content, and business rules. The design and architecture of the Message Testing Engine provides AHML clients with a powerful way of testing electronic healthcare messages in a fast, efficient and reproduceable manner.

Reporting

Test results are provided automatically in a comprehensive, easy-to-understand diagnostic report, in various formats. Message tests and results are also stored and can be accessed at any time to provide comparisons, and to assist with problem diagnosis.

Automated reporting and feedback are a valuable feature of the AHML Message Testing Engine and provide reports at the following levels:

Reporting Levels
Summary reports Technically oriented reports containing the core outcomes of the message test.
Detailed reports Provides a detailed analysis of the technical outcomes of the message processing and testing.
Test history Provides a complete history and log of all tests on a message for a specific client.

View Sample Reports (PDF): Summary and Detail