As healthcare costs keep increasing and governments are encouraging to adopt EMRs, healthcare organizations are currently at variant stages in their automation with the goals of reducing costs and increasing operational efficiency. One challenge they face is how to adapt their current business processes to a computer-centred model of operations. Merely taking existing business processes and transferring them from paper to computer will not yield a high return on investment (ROI). This ROI, while eventually can be translated into monetary value, can also be looked at as increase in efficiency, reduction of medical errors, and reduction of process time. Recent studies show that waste in the U.S. healthcare system costs as much as $700 billion annually (Poole, 2010).
In this paper, the focus is on the role the Systems Analyst (SA) can play in contributing to identifying problems with current business processes and designing the right systems that will yield the desired results. Furthermore, it is proposed that SAs familiarize themselves with Lean Quality Management approaches, specifically Six Sigma, and apply it during the requirements gathering, analysis, and system design phases of the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Six Sigma is being used more each day in all aspects of healthcare ranging from applying it to improve diagnostics of chest pain (Kumar & Thomas, 2010) to improving surface precision of optical lenses in the injection-molding process (Lo, Tsai, & Hsieh, 2009).
With a significant number of tasks being automated, the role of a SA and a business analyst can merge together, and therefore, the system analyst must be capable of performing the role of a business analyst, with the added benefit of the deep understanding of technology. This helps the SA assess the potential value of automation and design the system accordingly. Read the rest of this entry