Consider the task of developing an EMR (electronic medical record) for a mid-sized medical practice.
Write a 1-2 page paper that includes 7 to 10 specifications for features of a system that will apply the EMR functions to disease managing. These specifications should address functionality of the system (not its hardware requirements).
A well-written specification for a system:
- Must form a complete sentence (not acronyms)
- States a subject and predicate (object).
- Use verbs shall, will or must to show mandatory nature.
- Use verbs should, or may to represent desired or optional features.
Be sure to cite your sources (if any) and make sure your paper is free of spelling and grammar errors.
Submit your completed assignment by following the directions linked below. Please check the Course Calendar for specific due dates.
Save your assignment as a Microsoft Word document.
Defining and Prioritizing System Functions
In this module, we move from a general overview to the mechanics of defining and developing systems plans for development and implementation. We also cover how to use the Request for Proposal process to identify and select system vendors. We focus on one type of system – a physician office electronic medical record – for the sake of consistency. Similar factors and elements need to be considered for a hospital-based system.
At a minimum, electronic medical record systems allow for storing and retrieving patient data. An office-based electronic health record should also help with clinical coding and billing, evaluation, and management of an individual patient’s diseases and conditions. The manner in which these functions are specified could determine whether or not the system meets expectations. System functions should be prioritized, because not all systems serve all needs equally well.
Explaining and Developing Specifications
Writing technical specifications is an art as well as a science. The better able to identify what the system needs to do, the more likely that functionality will be achieved. It is best to not shortchange the planning stages.
Examples of a specification are:
- “The system will automatically generate symptoms and findings description when a physician checks off findings on forms.” The goal is to reduce needs for transcription services.
- “The system will be capable of creating graphs of height and weight over time, on appropriate graph scales for adults and children.”
- “Printed reports of patient findings can be generated that include dates of encounters and findings.”
- “Different levels of security access can be established for various employee types.”
Moving from the system prioritized general functions to the specifics does not have to be done all alone! Some specifications can be written with help from vendors. Also, talk with other organizations that have already adopted or sought out similar systems. They may have specifications that can be modified to suit your needs. Ask vendors to give free demonstrations. Once several possible solutions have been compared, you will be in a better position to clarify expectations.
To summarize, the process of developing a systems plan begins with identifying the organization’s needs in light of its goals. Then, the system functions can be prioritized by surveying system users and managers. Finally, those priorities are translated into detailed system requirements that are put into writing in order to adequately communicate with the internal developers or outside vendors who will need to customize and develop an information system.
The RFP Process and Vendor Selection
A team should be assembled to work on implementing and selecting an electronic health record. Members of the team for a small or mid-sized group practice will likely include: Practice management consultant, billing and coding director, office manager, scheduler, medical information/records manager, and physicians (Hartley and Jones, 2005).
Some system purchases are facilitated by developing a Request for Proposals. Typically, government agencies go through the RFP process to ensure fairness of selection in the procurement process. Other types of organizations may use the RFP process if the purchase is large or requires customized solutions.
The components of an RFP Include:
- Identity of the proposal issuer
- Address and contact information
- Format and due date for proposals
- Project description
- Approximate budget
- General timeline for the contract
Here’s a basic government-issued RFP that covers a single task, that of facilitating a few meetings. Viewing the example will allow you to see the various components of an RFP. This particular RFP does not include detailed systems specifications. Responders to the RFP present in writing their proposed solution to the given task or problem, along with their organizational qualifications and proposed cost.
RFP courtesy of eHealthConnecticut, Inc. Used with permission.
|Submission contains 7-10 features.|
|Features apply the EMR functions to disease management|
|Features apply to system functionality and not the hardware.|
|Features are written as follows:Must form a complete sentence (not acronyms)States a subject and predicate (object).Use verbs shall, will or must to show mandatory nature.Use verbs should, or may to represent desired or optional features.||10|
|Proper format, resources, citations, spelling, grammar, etc.|