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HEALTHCARE IT STRATEGY MAKING
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
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
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
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