Week 9 Discussion: The Inclusion of Nurses in the Systems Development Life Cycle

Failure rate in the development and implementation of health information systems infers an existent gap in the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC). SDLC phases include planning, analysis, designing, and implementation phases. Inclusion of nurses at each stage plays a crucial role in the final system design.

Week 9 Discussion: The Inclusion of Nurses in the Systems Development Life Cycle

As the direct patient care providers, nurses consider their role vital and resourceful while developing new systems. These systems include drug delivery systems, health information systems, ICU systems, and telemedicine systems (Ehrler et al, 2019; McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). To this end, this discussion will evaluate the role nurses play in systems development and the ramifications of not being an active participant in systems development.

Nurses are the main users of health systems. Development of health systems addresses nurses’ challenges, hence need for their inclusion in planning. The planning phase includes identifying the specific needs in the hospital, which in turn guide development of SMART goals.

Addressing nursing challenges raised by other cadres such as IT observers is likely to address a challenge incomprehensively. Arguably, reliable nursing goals for enhanced patient care are best derived by the nursing team. As such, nurse participation in the goal-development phase can help identify systemic needs with the care delivery process, making such an intervention easy for nurses to implement.

System analysis involves identifying the composition of the system, namely subsystems, users, processes and information flow (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, n.d. Week 9 Discussion: The Inclusion of Nurses in the Systems Development Life Cycle). Easy usability, redundancy and nurse friendliness can be addressed in this phase.

Nurses participation in this stage is vital as they can provide valuable input for the most efficient information flow. Nurses can also help identify gaps that could compromise patient’s privacy. Thus, while system-users often cut across all departments in the care delivery environment, access to pertinent patient information is always limited to those for which it is intended. For this reason, nurses’ involvement in the system security design is imperative as they help identify the security needs and extent required.

The design phase involves programmers and designers who design the proposed system into a workable platformer prototype. As design process progresses, prototypes of reports and processes are generated for meaningful clarifications. A nurse is vital to identify need for corrections or improvements even before the system design is over. This saves on resources that could be accrued by unattended hitches during the design (Qin et al, 2017). During implementation phase, the design is launched to the users for testing. This phase is followed by another cycle of the phases to adjust and correct identified problems, till the system is functional.

System development and maintenance is a continuous process. During my clinical practice, a team of IT experts had been identified to upgrade the health information system. The team comprised of only programmers and designers. The team however collected nurses’ views on adjustments that were necessary in the system. However, the phases of the system development were done with limited direct involvement of the hospital staff.

After two weeks, the upgrade was launched, and testing phase was initiated. Most nurses opted to carry on with the older version, claiming it was more efficient to add information, navigate and make reports. Although the new system addressed challenges in the older version, the team had installed input system processes that were redundant, especially during the patient admission process.

The system could also deny access to a nurse while off duty, making it difficult for nurses to complete personalized patient follow-up. Given these challenges, the system had to be redone to comply with user needs, a process that resulted in additional use of resources beyond what was initially allocated.