Health Informatics Strategy

Scenario

You are a consultant who has been asked to prepare an evidenced-based Informatics Strategy Report for a health care organisation. The report should be presented in a style that is appropriate for senior directors to read but it must be grounded in evidence and use techniques that have been appropriately referenced.

Your task

Write a report of 3,000 words that presents a health informatics strategy proposal for a health care organisation of your choice. Strategy is politically sensitive so, to make sure that you are free to draw on your own experiences the health care organisation can be anonymised to a fictitious organisation. You may choose to base it on a real health care organisation (there are many trusts that publish their business strategy and plans on the Internet) and/or you may draw your experiences from your current, or a previous, employer (see the guidance on choosing an organisation attached). You will need to describe your organisation, its business strategy and (what you assume about) its current information systems. You are free to make assumptions to make up for limited inside knowledge about the organisation but you must describe and justify these.

Report Structure

The following report structure is recommended but you are welcome to improve on it:

Executive Summary (1 page)

Briefly summarise your assessment of the organisation, its current situation, the analysis that you have conducted, your conclusions and your recommendations.

Business Drivers

Describe the business context of the organisation – its size, scope, purpose, environment, strategic direction and the challenges you believe it faces.

Current Informatics Systems

Describe the nature and state of the current information systems in use in the organisation. Your description should include a current IS Application Architecture diagram, an IS Application Portfolio Matrix of the current systems and a summary of the IS/IT resources available.

Strategic Analysis

Describe the method you have applied, the information sources you have used and any assumptions you have made (describe and justify these). Use at least five of the strategy tools that you have learned about to help you formulate the Informatics Strategy for your organisation. Reference these tools and explain why you selected them. Make sure you draw effective, strategic conclusions from your analysis.

( use the five of the strategy tools that in IS Strategy Toolkit file as below:

  • Tool 1 – SWOT
  • Tool 2 – PEST Analysis
  • Tool 7 – Porter’s Five Forces Model
  • Tool 13 – Benefit Level Matrix
  • Tool 14 – Critical Success Factors

Recommendations

Summarise your investigation with a series of recommendations for a successful Informatics Strategy for your organisation. Your recommendation should include a proposed future IS Application Portfolio Matrix and proposed IS Application Architecture diagram and a description of how you would move from the current situation to your proposed future solution. Your recommendations should be justified by the results of your IS strategy formulation and qualified by the assumptions you have made. Care must be taken to align the informatics strategy to what you know or assume about the business strategy. You should explain how your proposal delivers sustainable competitive advantage.

Assessment Criteria

Your assignment should demonstrate that you can:

  • Apply a range of Informatics Strategy tools to a health informatics context.
  • Work at a strategic level to explain business and technical issues and opportunities and challenges
  • Critically evaluate strategic options.
  • Demonstrate an ability to both understand and work within healthcare domains in the context of information systems strategy.

Your report should:

  • Be logically structured with a coherent argument
  • Use evidence from a range of sources to support your discussion
  • Use good English
  • Include accurate and consistent referencing
  • Use correct spelling and punctuation.

Word Count: 3,000 words (excluding tables, graphs, appendices and references)

Guidance for Choosing a Health Care Organisation

You are not limited to an NHS organisation or a UK health care provider but you should be careful to make sure that you can access sufficient information about the organisation, its current operations, its organisational strategy and information about its IM&T. Smaller organisations can be easier to do than larger organisations.

Some suggested organisations that you might like to investigate.

Sefton Primary Care Trust                                                     www.seftonpct.nhs.uk

NHS Lambeth                                                             www.lambethpct.nhs.uk

London Ambulance Service                                                   www.londonambulance.nhs.uk

East of England Ambulance service                          www.eastamb.nhs.uk

NHS Norfolk                                                                           www.norfolk.nhs.uk

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust                               www.enherts-tr.nhs.uk

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust                    www.northumbria.nhs.uk

NHS Bolton                                                                             www.bolton.nhs.uk

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust   www.ctc.nhs.uk

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust                               www.enherts-tr.nhs.uk

NHS South Gloucestershire                                                   www.sglos-pct.nhs.uk

The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust                                            www.ipswichhospital.nhs.uk

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust                 www.secamb.nhs.uk

Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust                       www.suht.nhs.uk

NHS Tayside

www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk

Finding the IM&T Strategy

Different organisations refer to health informatics in different ways. To find the IM&T strategy

Google:           site:.nhs.uk “IM&T Strategy”

Or                    site:.nhs.uk “eHealth Strategy”

Or                    site:.nhs.uk “informatics” board papers

Finding the Organisation’s Strategy

Many trusts publish their board papers with their business strategy and annual reports. The best way to find these is usually from the main menu of the Trust Web site look for “about us”, or “governance” then look for board minutes or similar. The alternative is to Google within the site as above.

Lateral Thinking

There’s plenty of scope for lateral thinking in your investigation. You should be able to make a good guess at what systems the organisation must have (whether they are paper based or computerised). Knowing that, you can Google their site for, for example “PACS” to see what they say about it you might find a web page that says it is “good” or “still not working”. Pick up on key words that are relatively unusual – if, for example the Informatics Director has the unusual name of “Snodgrass” then Googling the site for “Snodgrass” might find minutes of meetings where she has been seriously criticised or praised for project failures or successes. Always be careful to look at dates though – a failed project in 2006 might well be successful by now.

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