National reputation for excellence in healthcare practice

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Reference no: EM131432743

West Coast University Medical Center (WCMC) is a large teaching and research hospital with a national reputation for excellence in healthcare practice, education, and research. Seeking to sustain that reputation, the senior executive board decided to install a comprehensive medical diagnostic system. The system would be linked to WCMC’s servers, and be available to physicians from their homes and offices via the Internet. By clicking icons to access a medical specialty area, then keying answers to queries about a patient’s medical symptoms and history, a physician could receive a list of diagnostics with associated statistics.

The senior board sent a questionnaire to every department, asking managers about the needs of their areas and how they felt the system might improve doctor’s performance. Most man- agers replied that the system would save doctors’ time and improve performances. The hospital information technology (IT) group was assigned to assess the cost and feasibility of implement- ing the system. They interviewed managers at WCMC, and several vendors of diagnostic soft- ware. The study showed high enthusiasm among the managers, and a long list of potential ben- efits. Based on the feasibility study, the board approved the system.

The IT manager invited three well-known consulting firms that specialized in medical diag- nostic systems to give presentations, and then hired one to assist his group in selecting and inte- grating several software packages into a single, complete diagnostic system.

One year and millions of dollars later the proj- ect was completed, but 6 months later it was clear the system was a failure. Although it did every- thing the consultants and software vendors had promised, few doctors used it; of those that did, many complained that the “benefits” were irrel- evant, and that features of the system they would have liked were lacking.


1. Why was the system a failure?

2. What was the likely cause of its lack of use?

3. What steps or procedures were poorly handled in the project conception phase?

Reference no: EM131432743

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