The development of a methodology for the introduction of information systems within the National Health Service.
This thesis represents over five years of research focusing on the development and
implementation of information systems within the National Health SefV1ce. It aims
to contribute towards a better understanding of the information systems
development process from inception through to system evaluation and review.
Five long-term interventions have been undertaken in a range of National Health
Service sites, examining different aspects of information provision. The length of
the interventions ranged from nine months to almost two years. The five sites
were all at different stages of system development. The research has been carried
out using a combination of participant observation and action research. This has
meant working with National Health Service staff on a series of system projects.
The aim of the research is to try and help National Health Service (NHS)
organisations deal more successfully with their information provision. The
research question asks, "how can NHS organisations think about, and hence go
about their information provision in such a way that successful information
systems are introduced'!".
Information systems development has generally been regarded as a technical
discipline. This has led to a narrow view being taken of a number of areas that
may affect the success or otherwise of system projects. Historically, the system
development process has been concentrated in the hands of a small number of
experts even though the implementation of systems can have far-reaching
consequences for the organIsation.
The output of the research is a set of issues that should be addressed when
introducing information systems within the NHS. These have been translated into
the OASES materials which form the appendices. OASES is not a prescriptive
methodology but a set of principles and guidelines to try and improve the way that
information systems are developed within the NHS. It IS hoped that the outcome
of the research will be a situation in which effective information systems are
developed that take account of the behavioural, cultural, and organisational issues
that are important within complex organisations.