UMUC Information Systems in Health Care Organizations Discussion Paper 2

Topic: Analyze organizational processes to identify information systems requirements

For your Stage 1 assignment, you will analyze the processes at the Midtown Family Clinic to identify the essential requirements for the EHR system for the Clinic. For this discussion, you will practice analyzing processes and identifying functional requirements for a system to improve a process.

First, we need to be sure you can identify a process; many students have difficulty with that, so refer to the week 2 readings that describe various healthcare processes. Keep in mind that a process is a set of specified steps to accomplish a task.

Second, requirements for a system need to be clearly written so that the people who are developing the system or evaluating a system for use can discern whether the requirements are met or not. One set of criteria for writing clear requirements is referred to as “SMART” criteria, which means each requirement statement is:

    • Specific – Clearly and simply stated, and not likely to be misinterpreted. Avoid such words as: and, or, but, soon, immediately, somewhat.
    • Measurable – Can be verified as complete or not. Avoid such words as: best, fastest, optimally.
    • Attainable – Able to be achieved; appropriate.
    • Realistic – Considering the project and other requirements, can this one be expected to be met.
    • Time-bound – If appropriate to the requirement, specifies when or how fast a requirement needs to be completed.

For a more in-depth discussion and some examples, see:


1. Drawing from your own experience, select a health care process used at your place of work or in your interaction with a health care organization that you would like to see improved. Explain why you picked that process.

2. Imagine that a system is to be implemented (or an existing system improved) to make that process better, and identify five (5) requirements that the system would need to satisfy. Each requirement is one sentence in length and addresses one thing the system must do. Here we are interested in “functional requirements” – the activities the system must perform to support the identified process. We are not including “nonfunctional requirements” that include how the system would perform.

3. Review (and re-write if necessary) the 5 requirements statements to ensure they meet the “SMART” criteria.

GROUPS 1, 3 and 4: In replying to the postings, you are to critically evaluate all of the following for at least two main postings:

  1. Should the process identified actually be considered a “process”; that is, does it meet the definition of “a set of specified steps to accomplish a task”?
  2. Do the requirements listed support the selected process?
  3. Are the requirements clearly stated such that system testers will be able to ascertain whether or not the requirement has been implemented (have they followed the “SMART” criteria)?
  4. What improvements to the requirements would you suggest? At least one is required; explain what needs to be corrected and provide your re-wording of the requirement.

EVERYONE: Review the criteria in the Discussion Grading Rubric, and reply to those who critique your work or post other points of view. Be sure to demonstrate your understanding of the topic and analytical thinking.

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