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Business Plan

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DESIGNING A TOTAL HOSPITALWIDE INFORMATION SYSTEM

This paper is a general description of the elements and components of a Total Hospital-wide Information System (THIS) for a typical general hospital. It is a guide to the development of a typical system and is not meant to be all-inclusive nor should it be taken as a project brief or specifications for a system.

A Total Hospital-wide Information System is an attempt to provide a mechanism for the sharing of information between all the functional units of a hospital using modern information technology.

It is more appropriate, effective and efficient to design systems around functions rather than locations or administrative divisions of services. Before any system is developed it is imperative that the functions of a hospital is analysed by answering the following questions:

 What is a hospital?

 What business is it in?

 What services does it provide?

 To whom are the services provided?

 How will the services be provided?

 What are needed to provide this service?

Functions of a Hospital

The services provided by a hospital can be broadly classified into

* the core business of patient care

* services that facilitate this function

* services that enable the hospital to run as a facility / enterprise.

All these services require data (data as input) and also would generate data (data as output). Data required as input may originate from within the organisation or from external sources. Data generated as output can be either in the form of results or records of events and can be used internally or be exported to other systems.

Services provided to run the hospital as a facility are very similar to those in other service organizations. These will be discussed first.

Information System to support The Hospital as a Business Entity and also a Hospitality Facility (Management Information Systems)

Hospitals have very complex organisation and management systems. Besides the core function of managing patients, the hospital is a business entity as well as a facility providing hospitality services. The information system to support these management functions could be designed to be integrated from the start or can be built from the integration of existing applications. Whatever the approach, the resultant system should be capable of integrating all data related to the management of the hospital and could be called the Management Information System. The various functions and services and the corresponding likely information system modules that may have to be developed are tabulated below. This list is obviously non-exhaustive. It may not be necessary to develop a separate information module for each function. Instead, a common module may be designed to support a group of related activities.

Functions and Services and The Corresponding Information System Modules

Function or Service Information System

1 General Administration of Hospital facility Office Automation

Facility-wide Communication System (e-mail, intranet)

General Management Information System

2 Finance Financial & Accounting Information Systems

Billing

3 Budgeting, Emolument

4 Human Resource Management (employment, orientation, training, credentialing, privileging, leave, benefits) Human Resource Management Information System

(including Staff Services)

5 Staff Services (staff health, staff safety, staff welfare)

6 Procuring, Storing & Supplying Procurement and Inventory Control System

7 Facility management, Maintenance and Engineering Facility Management and Maintenance System

8 Hospitality Management (Catering. Linen, Cleaning, Comfort, Aesthetics etc.)

Food and Beverage Ordering and Supply System

Linen Inventory, Ordering and Supply System

Cleansing Scheduling and Monitoring System

9 Safety & Security

Safety and Security Information System

10 Data Management Data and Document Management System

11 Library

Library Procurement, Inventory and Supply System

12 Quality Management Quality Management Information System

Managing a hospital though complex is not too far different from managing other business entities. Many excellent software suites for office automation and for using

e-mail as a communication tool are available (e.g. Microsoft Office ProfessionalTM, Lotus Office SuitesTM ). Proprietary Finance-Accounting, Inventory control and Human resource management applications tailor-made for hospitals or used in other service industries are also being marketed. Solutions requiring the use of databases can be provided by the use of programmes such as Microsoft AccessTM or Dbase4 etc. Suitable applications can be selected and modified by reprogramming or other means to suit uses in a hospital.

Well-written texts on Management Information Systems have been published and should be consulted for further information.

Clinical Patient Care

The core business of hospitals is clinical patient care i.e. the management of the health and illness of patients. However, hospitals are increasingly getting more involved in promotive and preventive health services. Therefore clients may include people who may not be sick and are therefore not necessarily patients.

Administrative

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