The inclusion of nurses in the systems development life cycle (SDLC)
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Given healthcare’s complexity, dynamic, and interactive nature, the system development life cycle (SDLC) is one of the best methods for successful health information technology (HIT) implementation (Rehani, n.d.). SDLC is a project management model that outlines the phases involved in taking a project from conception to conclusion. It is extensively used in industry to design and deploy information systems (Singletary & Baker, 2019). SDLC is unique in that it captures continuously changing system requirements via user input and integrates cognitive-social technical elements into different stages to ensure that both organizational and user demands are fulfilled (Rehani, n.d.).
The planning phase is the most crucial stage of any project since it establishes the overall direction of the endeavor. Failure at this level will have a detrimental effect on the results of subsequent phases. The primary responsibilities of this stage are to define the scope and issues, explore potential solutions, choose the best solution via feasibility testing, create the project schedule, acquire necessary resources for the project, and start the project. The patient should be designated as the HIT beneficiary to ensure that the project’s goals are not often changed due to the dynamics of stakeholder interactions throughout development. To ensure the development of safe and acceptable solutions, nurses should be actively engaged in the selection and customization processes as they are familiar with clinical workflows and procedures (Rehani, n.d.).
The analysis phase is responsible for prioritizing needs, developing and assessing alternatives, reviewing organizational policies, and providing management suggestions. Systems based on incorrect requirement specifications fail to satisfy administrative and user requirements, resulting in delays, data loss, mistakes, and communication process breakdown. Because the clinical decision-making process is mainly reliant on communication and information flow among members of multidisciplinary teams, nurses must understand the functionality of the work processes and identify user needs (Rehani, n.d.).
A well-designed system should help users, accommodate workflow, and aid processes. The system is developed based on the system’s purpose, system requirements, and user demands as established in two previous stages. Suppose the designer is not aware of user requirements, system application, system interaction with the environment, and obstacles to optimum usage. In that case, the system may bring unexpected effects that endanger patient safety. Since one of the primary goals of all nursing jobs is to enhance patient safety, the nurse’s input in this stage is critical (Rehani, n.d.).
The system is updated, tested, and deployed in the implementation phase (Rehani, n.d.). Nurses are in a great position to offer critical input on these improvements, both during the trial and after the new technology is officially implemented (Weckman & Janzen, 2009).
Any information system project development in healthcare settings is a dynamic and iterative process that must be continuously updated to current trends. The shifting responsibilities of employees and interpersonal connections and the ever-changing technology, environment, and organizational requirements must all be included in system design. It is critical to emphasize to users that technology is just one component of a complete patient safety plan and should not be seen as a substitute for the clinical judgment of nursing personnel (Rehani, n.d.).
Nurses will and do adopt new technologies if they have been allowed to participate in the planning and implementation processes by conducting trials of various types of equipment in a variety of clinical settings, as well as the evaluation process by which they can determine whether changes intended to improve the work environment were effective. Nurses’ participation at all stages of the process is critical to the success of these technologies (Weckman & Janzen, 2009).