Systems Development Life Cycle (SLDC) is more of a project management model that identifies the stages involved from the inception of a project to its completion. The various steps include planning and requirements definition, analysis, design of the new system, implementation, & post-implementation support. The use of SLDC has become a common practice in the healthcare system. The inclusion of nurses at every stage of the process is vital in improving the quality of information systems. It would be challenging to meet quality outcomes in cases of healthcare improvement, notably when nurses are excluded from the SLDC stages. Besides, multiple consequences can be manifested when nurses are not engaged in the stages of SLDC when a healthcare organization purchases and implements a new health information technology system.
Planning and Requirements Definition
The planning and requirements definition stage involves defining the challenges to be addressed by the new health information technology system. The health information technology system is vital for an improved and organized workflow (Workflow Assessment, n.d.). Nurses are involved in defining the various objectives as well as resources to be used as the project progresses. Excluding nurses from the decision-making process at this stage would make the organization miss essential aspects such as the required personnel for the system as well as the costs involved (Ehrler et al., 2019). Before a formal approval, nurses, along with key actors such as the project manager and senior analysts, can address the challenges of technical, economic, legal, operational, and scheduling feasibility (Cusack et al., 2009). As a nurse, I have been included in the initial planning and requirements definition process for a computerized provider order entry to improve hospital inventory and address clerical errors. The results were positive as the system has been viable to date.
The analysis phase involves the determination of user requirements for the health information technology system. Since nurses are more conversant with the patients, clients, and other stakeholders, they are deemed competent in determining the end-users requirements (Yen & Bakken, 2011). Excluding nurses from the phase would make the entire system ineffective as the documentations would have unimportant data as gathered or elicited (Wang et al., 2019). The analysis stage is the most critical for a healthcare organization. In my organization, I was involved deciding on the aims of the new system. Since there were more errors in radiology and laboratory departments, I raised it as an issue, and it was successfully considered. My participation led to enhanced entry and sending of treatment data.
Design of The New System
The design stage involves laying out the health information technology system through mockups (Wang et al., 2019). At this stage, the involved parties define the components of the project, modules, and other aspects, such as security. The phase may primarily involve system architects and programmers. However, nurses are also an essential consideration as excluding them would cause errors in defining the data that should go through the system. In my organization, the participation of nurses in the phase established the data that should be integrated by programmers of the system. A system was then built per the laboratory and radiology data requirements. My participation contributed to the development of the software to more extent than other areas such as the hardware.
The implementation process involves the actual programming of the system. The result of the implementation, as well as deployment, is the alpha system (Wang et al., 2019). The primary consequence of excluding nurses from the construction process has various misses in the information to be incorporated into the system. While programmers and testers are involved, they could miss important information from the healthcare requirements, which could be presented by the nurses. My healthcare organization was strict on the processes, and my involvement contributed significantly to the implementation stage. I, along with my other team workers, was mandated to give the data associated with the facility's laboratory before the release of the system into the customer's premises. The outcome was such that the system became live, productive, and useful.
Post-implementation support is a continuous process where periodic testing and maintenance of the health information technology system is carried out. Constant testing is done by both nurses and project managers to ensure that the outcomes reflect the desired outcomes (Wang et al., 2019). Excluding nurses from the stage would deem the system obsolete with time as sometimes ambiguous data would be involved in the healthcare system. In my organization, I could discover some errors in the system, especially after it was launched. Radiology data mixed up with laboratory data, especially when the numbers were alike. This spurred the development team to fix it. With more requirements in healthcare, some features were requested and well integrated into the system to make it viable.
Nurses are an important integral in the Systems Development Life Cycle of their healthcare facilities. A few organizations do not include nurses in certain stages, such as the development and post-implementation stages. Such actions could make the entire new health information technology system inefficient. The participation of nurses is critical as they are more conversant with patients, clients, and other stakeholders, as well as all the information required for the new system.
Cusack, C. M., Byrne, C., Hook, J, M., McGowan, J., Poon, E. G., & Zafar, A. (2009). Health Information Technology Evaluation Toolkit. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Workflow Assessment for Health IT Toolkit. (n.d.) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. https://digital.ahrq.gov/health-it-tools-and-resources/evaluation-resources/workflow-assessment-health-it-toolkit.
Yen, P., & Bakken, S. (2011). Review of health information technology usability study methodologies. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 19(3), 413-422. https://doi.org/10.1136/amiajnl-2010-000020.
Ehrler, F., Lovis, C., & Blondon, K. (2019). A mobile phone app for bedside nursing care: Design and development using an adapted software development life cycle model. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 7(4), e12551. https://doi.org/10.2196/12551
Wang, J., Gephart, S. M., Mallow, J., & Bakken, S. (2019). Models of collaboration and dissemination for nursing informatics innovations in the 21st century. Nursing Outlook, 67(4), 419-432. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2019.02.003
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