The Roadmap to HIT Success Part I: 5 Guiding Principles for Use Case Development


To thrive over the next three to five years, healthcare organizations, specifically IT departments, must have a strategy and roadmap for technology investments that align to organizational performance (or strategic) initiatives. A planning process at the operational level with clear alignment between organizational objectives and action plans, is the best way to keep up with the growing demands of care delivery.

A common challenge within IT departments is not fully understanding the impact of cutting edge technologies on the care delivery process. IT project teams must consider the ever-changing demands on care providers and must be prepared to deploy solutions that empower workflow automation, predictive modeling and data analytics at the point of care.

Creating a roadmap to account for such broad scenarios may seem like a daunting task, but today’s project teams can no longer afford to deploy single-point solutions or make decisions in a silo. The risk is simply too great.

A solid roadmap must align with the strategic direction and have clearly defined clinical and business outcomes. One place to start is to identify and document use cases. Use cases help mitigate risks by focusing on outcome achievement and not solely on specific functionality of a particular solution.  These use cases show conceptual or relatable clinical scenarios and desired outcomes, detailing technology requirements as appropriate. 

Consider the fact that the “hub” of HIT (Healthcare Information Technology) is the patient. This makes the IT environment even more critical since patient outcomes are dependent on forward-thinking IT professionals. Here are examples of themes that may support effective use case development:

  • Transparency: Quality indicators and patient satisfaction ratings have encouraged consumers to own their healthcare and be acutely aware of hospital metrics as it relates to quality and support. Both factors are equally impactful to the healing process.

  • Accountability: It is increasingly necessary for IT teams to plan for the patients to have the ability to access clinical information within their medical records.

  • Core comfort measure: Patients should have the access and ability to document their own pain scale. That information should be sent seamlessly to the nurse caring for the patient as well as to the EMR. The same could be true for documentation of PoC lab testing.

There are several themes like these, which can be translated into use cases for technology planning, purchasing, deployment and training. To help you begin, here are five guiding principles for use case development:

  1. Start with the end in mind. Envision the end state being patient-centric, holistic, and safe. The future care delivery model provides the framework for supporting technology and workflow design.

  2. Determine the impact of the end state. In particular, what is the impact to your organizational pillars of excellence? Without alignment to organizational goals and initiatives, the project could be at risk of point solutions, project stall or failed adoption (just a suggestion).

  3. Encourage accountability. Help facilitate a culture of accountability on your team that includes the patient and family. Technology and process must support ownership, meaning ease of use for both patient and clinician as well as meaningful information at the point of care

  4. Clearly define functionality of supporting technology. Doing so ensures the focus is on what the technology will do to support best practice.

  5. Document best practice clinical workflow. This will serve to guide how the technology is used by the patient and clinician, focusing on the integrated experience rather than the individual technologies.

In our next blog post, we will focus on what takes place after use cases are developed and how to ensure the use cases serve as a springboard for the success of your technology purchase, deployment, adoption, and optimization.


November 23, 2015