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Healthcare organisations generally tend to have complex structures and this is due to the fact that healthcare workers tend to have different lines of responsibility and management.

Developing IT strategies for healthcare organisations is even more complex and has a higher chance of being rejected as compared to commercial organisations. This is probably due to the fact that cost justifications are not the only things that are considered when investing in a new healthcare strategy, but there also has to seen that it would bring about an improvement in the delivery of healthcare.


IT strategies can be done internally by members of the same organisation or by external consultants, who though expensive tend to have greater experience.

There are no formal methods in developing an IT strategy and though informal methods on IT strategy are many, they tend to be mainly adopted by the organisations that developed them. In the UK, most organisations within the National Health Service (NHS) tend to make use of the IM&T strategy.

Development of an IT strategy can be done using the following stages

  • Planning - Here the organisation’s long term IT goals are examined and compared with the current the current position of the organisation. How can the organisation can move to from it present positions to its future goals, along with re-examined long-term goals are also explored.
  • Acquisition of Information - This done by assessing the organisation’s present IT capabilities, holding series of interviews and through the use of questionnaires to gather information needed for the IT strategy. Older strategies are also a good source of information.
  • Analysis – This is the breaking down of all the information acquired in the second stage, retaining what is necessary and chucking what is not. It also involves follow-up interviews and work group discussions. The work groups tend to involve people whose jobs would be affected by the strategy. It is also at this stage that the strengths and weaknesses of the strategy are also examined, along with the threats, such as the organisation’s work culture, to the strategy and the opportunities that might arise from implementing the new strategy.
  • Delivery the Strategy – This involves presentations about the IT strategy and have discussions about it. This is followed by the delivery of a detailed report of the strategy, which can range of a few pages to hundreds of pages.


  • Smith, M., F. Healthcare Computer Systems. Manuscript. July 1999 



International Medical Informatics Association
American Medical Informatics Association
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British Computer Society Health Informatics Committee
European Federation for Medical Informatics
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American Telemedicine Association

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Last Updated: 9 August 2006.

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