The evaluation of information systems in the organisational context of the National Health Service.
This thesis describes a project which has investigated the evaluation of information systems. The work took place in, and is related to, a specific organisational context, that of the National Health Service (NHS). It aims to increase understanding of the evaluation which takes place in the service and the way in which this is affected by the NHS environment. It also investigates the issues which surround some important types of evaluation and their use in this context. The first stage of the project was a postal survey in which respondents were asked to describe the evaluation which took place in their authorities and to give their opinions about it. This was used to give an overview of the practice of IS evaluation in the NHS and to identify its uses and the problems experienced. Three important types of evaluation were then examined in more detail by means of action research studies. One of these dealt with the selection and purchase of a large hospital information system. The study took the form of an evaluation of the procurement process, and examined the methods used and the influence of organisational factors. The other studies are concerned with post-implementation evaluation, and examine the choice of an evaluation approach as well as its application. One was an evaluation of a community health system which had been operational for some time but was of doubtful value, and suffered from a number of problems. The situation was explored by means of a study of the costs and benefits of the system. The remaining study was the initial review of a system which was used in the administration of a Breast Screening Service. The service itself was also newly operational and the relationship between the service and the system was of interest.