The purpose of this paper is to present a business plan for the implementation of syndromic surveillance system. The major sections of the business plan are: identification of the key objectives and scope of the project; the project life cycle, budget estimate, staff planning, and activity timeline; major risks and vulnerabilities of the project; success evaluation methods, and communication plan for the primary stakeholders.
This paper presents a business plan for implementing a syndromic surveillance system to resolve the health informatics management issue. The business plan is divided into multiple sections. The first section describes the major goals and scope of the project, i.e. what objectives the hospital aims to achieve by implementing a syndromic surveillance system in its operational setup and at what scale it has planned to implement it. The next section presents the four stages of project life cycle. These are: project planning and analysis, project design and development, project implementation, and project evaluation and control. After discussing these four stages, the paper explains why and how this project implementation is aligned with the overall strategy of the hospital.
This section is followed by an analysis of the accountability and staffing requirements for the project and the major risks and vulnerabilities which the hospital may have to face during the course of project implementation. The hospital will need a specialized project management team having a project manager as the team head, two project manager assistants, and some technical experts and program assistants. The major risks in this project are wrong selection of vendor and lack of employee efficiency and data security. The next section presents an estimated budget and staff planning for the whole project and a timeline for first 12 months in which all its activities will be performed. The estimated budget for this project is $86,500 whereas it will complete within a minimum period of one year. The final sections discuss how the hospital will evaluate the success and performance of its new system, and communicate its strategic investment to its primary stakeholders like customers, employees, supply chain members, funding agencies, and governmental authorities. All the aforementioned steps are essential to be carried out in order to make the whole project implementation process successful.
The Business Plan for Syndromic Surveillance System
The Goals of the Project:
The primary objective behind implementing the new syndromic surveillance system is to make the data storage, retrieval, and management process more efficient than ever before. This system will allow the hospital staff to make online documentation of their patients and the key stakeholders of the hospital (Feldman, 2000). They will be able to do real-time updating of the information and ensure that it will be accessible physically as well as remotely whenever it is needed by the doctors, physicians, and officials. Secondly, the new surveillance system is being implemented to make the reporting framework and communication system of the hospital with its regulatory authorities more efficient (Thomas, 2007).
This project aims to find the most reliable software vendors of the industry and select the one which can provide the new surveillance system at a very competitive price along with full maintenance and technical support. Another objective of the new surveillance system is to evaluate the current and future financial needs of the hospital by conducting an initial analysis of the available capital and the potential sources for future funding. By implementing the surveillance system in its operational setup, the hospital aims to become more competitive and innovative in its industry. This system will not only improve the operational efficiency of the hospital, but will also build its public image in the society as an efficient clinical services provider (Cooper, 1994).
The Scope of the Project:
The new syndromic surveillance system will be implemented in the complete operational setup of the hospital, i.e. each and every department and its activities will be affected by this system in one way or another. In the initial phase, the system will provide electronic medical recording function, access to patient information and their historical records with the hospital, and the analysis of current and future funding requirements of the hospital. However, it will perform numerous other functions with the passage of time like communications management, patient follow-up management, custom field management, data conversion and analysis, and remote connectivity from outside locations (Thomas, 2007). The new syndromic surveillance system will be a corporate wide enterprise resource planning system which will resolve the health informatics management issue at the hospital. Therefore, it will require a huge initial investment as well as regular maintenance and control by the technical experts from its software vendor (Sillencea, Briggsa, Harrisb, & Fishwicka, 2007).
The Life Cycle of the Project
The implementation of the new syndromic surveillance system will be done in four major phases or steps, i.e. planning and analysis, designing and development, implementation, and evaluation and control. The project will start with the planning and analysis stage. This function will be performed by the Project Manager in collaboration with the Board of Governors and the Top Management of the hospital (Feldman, 2000). All these participants will decide the method of system acquisition and make related decisions in support of its implementation. The hospital will acquire the system from some reliable application service provider (ASP) that will be specialized in designing and developing health informatics management systems. The ASP will develop the surveillance system for this hospital and connect it to the Internet through its centrally located server (Porter & Teisberg, 2005).
a. The Project Planning and Analysis Phase:
The planning and analysis phase will constitute a careful consideration about the need and objectives of implementing the syndromic surveillance system in the hospital. The project manager and the Top management of the hospital will analyze the current issues which this hospital is facing in its day-to-day operations; including poor data management, inefficient customer services, poor reporting and communication system with the federal funding agencies, and the like (Oz, 2009).
The project management team will perform a feasibility analysis for the new syndromic surveillance system for this hospital and decide the roadmap for its design, development, and implementation in the hospital. The planning stage will also require the Project manager to decide what functions the new system will perform for the hospital and analyze the key environmental factors that may affect the system in both positive and negative way. These decisions and analyses will serve as the bases for an effective designing and development of the syndromic surveillance system in the hospital (Nah & Osifo-Dawodu, 2007).
b. The Project Design and Development Phase:
Once the project manager and Top management will complete the planning and analysis process, the next step will be to design and develop the system according to the operational requirements and needs of the hospital. In order to avoid interruption in the normal day-to-day operations, the hospital will not prefer in-house designing and development of this system. Rather, it will contact an independent application service provider to develop a customized syndromic surveillance system that can best meet its operational requirement. In order to find the best software vendor for this system, the project management team will evaluate all the renowned vendors in the local market which can develop this system in the shortest possible time and within the available development and implementation budget. After evaluation of these vendors, the team will finalize the best vendor and sign a contract with it for this particular project (Sillencea, Briggsa, Harrisb, & Fishwicka, 2007).
c. The Project Implementation Phase:
Once the contract is signed, the vendor will be asked to design and develop the syndromic surveillance system for the hospital according to the instruction laid down by the project manager and the concerned officials. The implementation of syndromic surveillance system will be done in a period of three to six months. The best way to ensure an effective implementation of the system is to implement it through pilot implementation method. This method will allow the vendor to implement the system in phases, i.e. The initial implementation will be done in the first month and will only carry limited functionality of the system. It will allow the hospital staff to learn the system while it is being implemented in phases.
The hospital will have two options to implement the system, i.e. It can implement it side by side to the existing system through parallel implementation; or by discarding the existing system and implementing the new system. Between these two options, the hospital will prefer parallel implementation of the syndromic surveillance system so that its normal operations do not get interrupted due to the implementation process (Information Resources Management Association, 2011).
Challenges in the Implementation Phase:
The biggest challenge in the implementation of syndromic surveillance system is the training and development of hospital staff on how to effectively run the system; perform different functions; store, edit, and retrieve patient information, and send different commands and reports to the regulatory authorities over the Internet.…