Saturday, February 18th, 2012 at 10:05 am
During the last semester of my post-grad studies, my group and I were asked to conduct an interview with someone who was involved in the system analysis & design processes for software in healthcare. Naturally I took to the Twitterverse and reached out to a couple of my contacts. I got a positive response from @colin_hung, Vice President of Operations at RL Solutions and an online interview was scheduled over Skype. Before I get to the interview, I would like to thank Colin for taking time out of his busy day to do the interview and also would like to thank my colleagues Matthew Maragnos & Rebecca Parker for collaborating with on this paper.
The tools used and methodologies followed by a System Analyst in any project have a direct influence on the quality of the developed system. If a system analyst does not collect the right requirements, with the appropriate level of details, and does not prioritize those requirements accurately, the effects will be sever during development, implementation, and post-implementation. Examining the methodologies and documentation used during the System Development Life-Cycle (SDLC) by RL Solutions allowed us to understand their Agile approaches to developing and customizing their systems.
Our primary source of information for this paper was an online interview over Skype with Colin Hung, VP Operations and Andy Yang, Senior Software Developer, which took place on October 14 2011. A list of potential questions were emailed in advance and only relevant points were discussed during the interview. After the interview, we have outlined 9 major themes/topics which were discussed: 1) Agile Software Development, 2) User Stories, 3) Software Testing, 4) Data/Process Modelling Tools (MS Visio), 5) Sequence Diagrams, 6) Use Cases, 7) User Manuals, 8 ) System/User Mock-ups, and 9) Data Flow Diagrams.
For each concept, we listed our questions and the interviewees’ answers. After each answer, we provide a definition for each concept and list advantages, disadvantages, and the relevance of those topics for a system analyst. This information was gathered from multiple academic and non-academic sources as well as drawing on the team’s personal experience in system analysis and design.
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Friday, December 16th, 2011 at 7:49 pm
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
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 at 8:39 pm
By observing the increasing engagement of patients in managing their own health, searching for health information online, and sharing their experiences with the community, one question comes to my mind: as more patients are using Personal Health Records (PHRs), are current EMR/EHR vendors putting efforts into developing PHR components of their existing products? and are hospitals & medical practices involving patients in the EMR/EHR selection process?
Since patients are the real customers of a health care organization, the objective of any EMR implementation should be focused on meeting the needs of, and enhancing the experience of the primary customer. So far, the currently marketed EMRs hardly include any educational material for patients nor do they provide components for patients to access their records. They are rather focused on having clinicians document on the screen instead of on paper. Of course separate products are sold for patient education material, but why not integrate it with the EMR? The internet is filled with medical information, and many patients do go online to look for that information. Yet, there are two problems (at least that I’ll mention here) with patients looking for health information online: 1) The information found might not always be applicable to each patient’s unique case, and 2) The internet is an open network, giving anyone the ability to voice opinions rather than facts (e.g. re: the benefits of certain vaccinations). Read the rest of this entry