All developing countries across the entire world are in the pursuit of streamlining their service industry sectors to meet world class quality. One way of achieving this is through aligning them with the current technological advances present in all business sectors. To achieve these objectives, both the government and the private sector proprietors require evaluating, analyzing and establishing the best strategies; leading to various business case models. The aim of this project with respect to the present scenario is to upgrade the websites of hospitals in developing countries. The upgraded websites will offer an opportunity to improve the safety and quality of patient care, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the services to the patients, aligning all the departments in the hospital for easier coordination and control, as well as saving the time for both the doctors and the patients.
Much time is wasted by the patients travelling to the hospital for services without perfect information. More so, the hospital staff supposed to serve these patients end up working more and in tighter schedules due to the extremely huge number of waiting patients. The primary source of all this problems is poor pre-communication between all the involved parties; the patients and the hospital staff. Upgrading the hospital’s website will integrate a communication channel enabling pre-communication between the patients and the hospital staff; appointments will be booked and assigned with surety. As a result, patients will visit the hospital at the right time, the hospital staff will serve the right number of patients without overworking, thus guaranteeing the quality of health care. A number of shortcomings emerge with the implementation of this project since it deals with online handling of sensitive information. However, various means to overcome such risks are recommended in this business case. In short, the benefits outweigh the shortcoming by far, implying the need of its implementation.
The current trends across all industries and sectors, whether commercial or non-commercial, are characterized by rampant change especially as far as technological advancement is concerned. These technological advancements have helped to make work easier in very many levels. The rationale behind this project is based upon this concept and has been applied with respect to embracing the power of the internet, aiming at making work easier for all relevant parties involved in the day to day operations of a standard hospital in any developing country. Apparently, the current situation with respect to the various services present in any standard hospital in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia requires streamlining. A lot of time and other resources are wasted in the process of booking appointments, consulting doctors, purchasing medicines and undertaking other hospital related services. In light of this, establishing a proper hospital website brings with it the necessary strategic steps towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the services offered, in the pursuit of attaining customer satisfaction among other key business objectives set by the management.
As hinted in the introduction above, the health sector across all developing countries require the implementation of strategic changes so as to upgrade and improve the caliber of the services offered by the hospitals present there. In short, this project is about improving and upgrading a hospital’s website so as to save on a number of diversified resources, otherwise being lost, and simultaneously making work easier for all the patients, doctors, pharmacists, and all other relevant stakeholders in the health care sector. In the pursuit of understanding the rationale behind this project, the background of the situation is highlighted as follows.
The current situation of hospital-patient operations is significantly below average. Every day, there are many patients who have to travel from the rural villages to come to the hospitals to book appointments. Furthermore, the prescribed medicines are not always readily available and the patients have to wait, sometimes for days, before acquiring them. The number of patients compared to the available facilities such as radiology and blood test machines is by far too huge leading to long and tiring queues. As a result, the hospital staff ends up in extremely busy schedules while the delayed patients may end up misplacing their appointment papers. All the above problems and shortcomings culminate into the loss of hospital customers since it is obviously not possible to avail special appointments where the patients need one-on-one sessions with the doctor or other hospital staff (Buda et al, 2006). The cumulative shortcomings resulting from all these technical mishaps provide the basic rationale behind the project to upgrade and improve the hospital websites. The means and manner through which website upgrading will significantly improve the services in the hospital sector is vividly illustrated below.
Attaining the Project Objectives
First, as highlighted in the executive summary, this project has to do with the upgrading of websites for hospitals in developing countries. The key objectives to be attained following the proper implementation of this project include offering an opportunity to improve the safety and quality of patient care, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the services to the patients, aligning all the departments in the hospital for easier coordination and control, as well as saving both the patient and doctor time. Essentially, the theoretic application of the project is based on a number of important factors (Brown & Busman, 2003). To start with, the internet connection across this category of countries is significantly established and reliable. That is the first and the most important factor. Secondly, the availability of devices through which to access the internet follows as an important factor too. Due to the technological advancement characterizing the current century, computers and smart-phones are affordable at relatively cheap prices and thus almost every homestead across each of this countries has at least one device through which to access the internet (Khudair & Bawden, 2007).
With the above being the case, attaining the project’s objectives becomes relatively easy. The upgraded websites will incorporate the use of information storing databases. More so, it shall incorporate the use of online forms and information exchange interfaces. Through this, it will be possible for the patients to book appointments with the doctors while still at home. This is efficient since the actual time of their appointments will be communicated to them directly either through e-mails or text messages over their cell phones (Spoel, 2008). Consequently, the time wasted on queues due to the uncertainty of information and lack of proper prior planning will no longer be experienced. The patients will only visit the hospital at the right hours designated for their appointments.
Figure 1: Beneficiaries of the websites’ upgrade
In addition, since the upgrade will link all the relevant departments, the patients will also have the advantage of sending the prescriptions from the doctors directly to the pharmacists and as a result acquiring information with respect to the availability of the prescribed medicines. This once again means that no more time will be wasted waiting for the prescribed pharmaceutical products. In fact, through the proper management of information in the website’s database, the patients can make arrangements with the pharmacists to have their prescription sent to their addresses as soon as they are available in stock.
One question arising about the entire project is on website maintenance. Maintaining the website will require constant updating and monitoring. This can be easily managed by a small group of information technology specialists. There are more than enough capable IT specialists in every country in today’s world (CareTech Solutions, Inc., 2010). Another question arises on the availability of the services of the website to the elderly or other groups of people who might have problems using the internet. However, the cultural background characterizing the developing countries, which are largely in Africa, Latin America and Asia, offers a quick solution to this since the elderly people live in the homesteads of their sons or has any of their younger children living with them. In light of this, booking appointments and navigating the website can be easily done on their behalf. This means that, the services of the websites will in no doubt be accessible to all the citizens, age and disability notwithstanding.
The effectiveness of each project relies on the availability and proper utilization of the key resources. According to (Roberts, 2011), the resources can either be core, primary or peripheral. The core resources are those necessary for the initiation and implementation of the project in question. In this case, they include the website, the computer servers under which to host the website, and the monetary resources necessary to acquire all the necessary assets. On the other hand, the primary resources include basically the project team, that is, the panel of information technology specialists who are going to work in the quest of adding value to the current website so as it can be upgraded to serve the purposes underlined under the project. Lastly, the peripheral resources essentially refers to the beneficiaries of the entire website upgrade, that is, the patients who will have better and quality services, and the entire hospital staff who will enjoy a smooth working environment.
Figure 2: Necessary resourcing needsStakeholder Perspective
Despite the fact that the above project might be theoretically appealing, it is important to understand all the relevant stakeholders affected by the implementation process (Liu, 2010). Due to the nature of information and resources necessary for the positive outcome of this project, the figure below indicates the most significant stakeholders that must be considered, due to their power as well as the general interest in the entire project.
Figure 3: Shareholders power/interest prioritization grid
From the diagram above, the government and patients must be kept satisfied since confidential information about the patients should be safeguarded for national security issues. The head of hospital as well as the departmental heads are key players since they authorize various implementations of the changes in the website. The staff should monitor since they are the ones on the receiving end and should comply with the provisions of the project to keep it forthcoming (Nafei, 2013). Lastly, the IT department, the staff and the finance department should be informed on the progress of the project since the eventual success of the project relies on how well they balance their roles and output.
The best way to understand and monitor the implementation of changes is by setting milestones (Ford et al, 2012). The process of setting milestones in such a case is what is referred to as benchmarking. Benchmarking is important since it helps to smoothly keep the entire implementation process in line with key objectives under which the change is based upon (Mclaughlin, 2004). In this case, the key aim is to upgrade the hospital’s website so as to create the opportunity for efficient and quality patient care, and reducing the duties for the hospital staff. The various steps characterizing the entire process act as the milestones in the benchmarking of the implementation of the project. Starting from the fast to the last, they include: Evaluating the old website, purchasing and installing new website servers, training staff about the new website, setting up and launching the new website, working under the provisions of the new website. The diagram below illustrates the flow of these milestones in the benchmarking process.
Figure 4: The benchmarking processRisk Analysis
Every new project is faced by uncertainties due to unforeseeable outcomes, giving rise to risks (Olson & Wu, 2010). However, some risks are expected even when the project is being designed. The concept of risk analysis involves underlining and highlighting some of the foreseeable risks and setting up means through which to mitigate them (Mind Tools, 2012). In the website upgrading project, databases with confidential information will be used. One of the risks could be attacks by hackers. This could be very destructive and could jeopardize the reliability of the new system (Carroll, 2011). The best way to overcome this is through the use of firewalls and constantly updating passwords, as well as the use of other anti-SQL injection software.
Another risk is the possible shutdown of systems. This may happen unexpectedly due to the various reasons and could lead to massive disappointments. To overcome this risk, it is advisable to leave the old system still functional so as to use it temporarily incase of system shutdown.
Moreover, virus attack may jeopardize the accuracy of the website data. In this case, the best way to mitigate this is through the establishment of backup databases to be used once instances of virus attack are identified. Also, human error can lead to some data management risks too. This is especially true with instances of incorrect data entry by the users of the website, such as the administrative staff. To mitigate this, there should be a function that requests the confirmation of the entered data. In short, understanding the possible risks helps in making prior plans on reducing or completely eliminating the effect of such risks in the future.
The essential role of this program as illustrated all through is to provide an opportunity whereby the patient care quality can be effectively increased while at the same time easing the work load by the hospital staff such as doctors and nurses. The upgrading of the websites will culminate into the increase of the availability of the necessary information required by all the stakeholders in the hospital. This will result to the proper utilization of time and other resources meaning that the entire business of the hospital will be optimized to meet the key objectives incorporated in both the vision and mission statements, consequently resulting to better performance by the respective management.
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