Information systems design for the community health services
This system is concerned with the design and implementation of a community health information system which fulfils some of the local needs of fourteen nursing and para-medical professions in a district health authority, whilst satisfying the statutory requirements of the NHS Korner steering group for those professions. A national survey of community health computer applications, documented in the form of an applications register, shows the need for such a system. A series of general requirements for an informations systems design methodology are identified, together with specific requirements for this problem situation. A number of existing methodologies are reviewed, but none of these were appropriate for this application. Some existing approaches, tools and techniques are used to define a more suitable methodology. It is unreasonable to rely on one single general methodology for all types of application development. There is a need for pragmatism, adaptation and flexibility. In this research, participation in the development stages by those who will eventually use the system was thought desirable. This was achieved by forming a representative design group. Results would seem to show a highly favourable response from users to this participation which contributed to the overall success of the system implemented. A prototype was developed for the chiropody and school nursing staff groups of Darlington health authority, and evaluations show that a significant number of the problems and objectives of those groups have been successfully addressed; the value of community health information has been increased; and information has been successfully fed back to staff and better utilised.