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Static analysis for medical area

Code should work without errors. However, the medical area has much more serious requirements for the code — even a small software bug can cost human lives.

What damages can errors cause in medical software

Let's recall two infamous cases when errors in medicine-related software became a reason for sad news.

Oldschool computer
Medical stuff

The first one is a sequence of tragic events, caused by errors in Therac-25, a radiation therapy machine. From June 1985 to January 1987, this machine caused at least 6 massive radiation overdoses. Some patients received doses that were hundreds of times greater than normal. At least two of them died as a result of the overdose. This tragedy was caused by software errors and the faulty security strategy.

Some creepy brain photos
Some creepy brain photos

The second case demonstrates that errors may also harm people indirectly. For example, errors in the MRI software call into question about 40,000 scientific studies. Over decades, neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists have used the AFNI, SPM, and FSl statistical programs to analyze the fMRI data. As it turned out, due to incorrect algorithms, these programs may return 70% of false positive results, instead of the expected 5%.

Therefore, errors in code of medical applications can harm people's health either directly or indirectly.

How to avoid errors in medical software

One of the ways to minimize the possibility of critical errors in code is to use static analyzers like PVS‑Studio.

PVS-Studio is a tool that detects errors and other defects in code written in C, C++, C#, and Java. The analyzer uses various technologies for deep code analysis and detects a wide range of erroneous patterns, typos, and security defects. Here's a list of errors, our team found while checking various open‑source projects.

PVS‑Studio can be effectively used to improve the quality of application software and to check the code written for embedded systems. For convenience, the analyzer can issue warnings, classifying them according to the following standards:

Case study: how static analysis searched for errors in X‑ray endovascular surgery training simulator

Doctor (not Livesey)

How we tried static analysis on our X‑ray endovascular surgery training simulator project.

”I'd like to tell you a story about how we analyzed our project with the PVS‑Studio static code analyzer trying to find out how much we could benefit from this tool. I won't be discussing unique and interesting bugs here. In fact, all the bugs and defects found by the analyzer in our code proved to be quite trivial. What I'd like to talk about instead is my personal opinion of this tool as a project manager. Perhaps this point of view is not that accurate and objective as that of a software engineer, because it is affected by the specifics of work management in a particular project, but I still believe that the ideas I share in this article will help those who consider trying static analysis in their work; or those who regularly face big resource expenses on fixing bugs found at the testing stage”.



Download and try the PVS‑Studio static analyzer

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