Systems Acquisition

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Q1

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Systems acquisition is a process that takes place when an organization decides to select a new health care information system until the time the contract with the new system has been finalized and signed upon. There are different ways health organizations can acquire a new health care information system. These include purchasing the system, leasing the system, contracting with a vendor for cloud computing service, or building a system in-house. In order to purchase an information system, there is a transfer of ownership. This requires organizations to implement critical IT tools and educate staff on how to regulate and manage the system on their own.  Purchasing an information system requires a lot of capital and time upfront, but does not require payment after the system has initially been purchased. This mode of acquisition would be useful for a large organization with staff willing to work at trouble-shooting and be independent with carrying out the utilization of the system. Similar to purchasing, there is also the ability to lease an information system. This allows the health organization to pay a fee to the information systems owner to utilize the health system. This type of acquisition allows companies to gain access to the system in return for payments on a regular basis. Next, there is contracting with a vendor for cloud computing services which allows health care organizations to access an information system through the internet and store data in a cloud. Healthcare reform has mandated that it is time for healthcare IT to be modernized; and that cloud computing is at the center of this transformation (Cloud Standards Customer Council, 2017). This option also allows for a multitude of sophisticated different platforms to access and utilize the information stored through the internet. An advantage to this system is the fact that it can include an application service provider, software as a service, infrastructure as a service, and a platform as a service (Wager et al., 2017, p. 158). Due to the fact that these different services are provided, it lessens the load of the organization to rely on an employee to provide support in these areas. Lastly, there is building an in-house system. This option includes hiring a developer to create a system specifically for the organization. This is a great option for an organization that is facing a unique or unusual challenge because the organization can tailor the platform to meet its specific needs.

When choosing a health care system, the first step in the acquisition process is to establish a project steering committee that will lead, manage and organize all tasks related to the acquisition. This should be a team unified in finding the best system for the organization. They should be focused on collaboration and communication among one another to delegate and serve their organization throughout the acquisition process. Next, this team will identify and define the project objectives and analyze how to reach their goals. After the project objectives are defined, the team can then begin researching vendors that align with their goals for the organization. This step includes going out and seeing the system at work in real-life scenarios, meeting with experts, and attending conferences to better understand the vendor profiles. After that, the team can then identify their own system standards or specific goals they want the system to achieve. In line with this step, they should prioritize the requirements of the system to determine what is most important for the system to include. After this has been agreed upon, the team can put together a request for proposal which,  “Provides the vendor with a comprehensive list of system requirements, features, and functions and asks the vendor to indicate whether its product or service meets each need” (Wager et al., 2017, p. 155). Throughout this step, different options of services should be considered (i.e purchasing, leasing, contracting with a vendor for cloud computing services, or building a system in-house). Then it is important to develop evaluation criteria and evaluate the different vendor proposals on the same scale. This provides the team with the ability to compare the vendors to one another and ultimately choose the best vendor for the organization. In order to put this criterion to work and to identify which system is the best fit, the team can hold vendor demonstrations that allow the team to visualize the system at work, this is called usability testing. Next, it is important to check references and see product demonstrations on site. Finally, the team will evaluate the costs related to the overall benefit to determine if the system is worth it. If it is determined the system is of value to the organization, then the team can compile the vendors that meet their system goals and prepare a summary report that gives their recommendations and findings throughout the acquisition process. After this is done the final contract negotiations can be made and the right system can be acquired.

In order to successfully utilize a new health information system, the system has to be widely adopted, understood, and maintained throughout the implementation process. To begin I would identify a group of top health care executives to lead the initial process and designate individuals with both clinical and administrative backgrounds to help. This team will then work together to identify the project goals of successful implementation by outlining their objectives for the health care system. I would appoint a well-respected individual that believes in the system to lead this implementation process. I would have the team delegate the necessary responsibilities to the business sponsor, business owner, project manager, and IT manager to make sure things run smoothly. At this point, the system installation can begin where the actual software and program infrastructure is downloaded and maintained, and customized by IT personnel to achieve the goals of the team. Next, I would hold staff-wide training by the department to educate employees on the new system. I would make sure that a wide range of support was available and roll this out to the staff in a slow and controlled manner so that they can adapt and learn at a rate comfortable to them. I would also make sure that a person apart of the initial team was available to field questions and provide support throughout the system change. After the staff is up to speed on the new system and the old data has successfully been converted, the system can officially go live. During the implementation process, I think the most important support will come from a stable IT infrastructure, because the system is new I think it is important to have experts in the field of IT that can easily troubleshoot and provide assistance to those in need. Transitions can be difficult which is why it is valuable to have a competent team of individuals willing to help others throughout the process of implementing a new health information system.