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Week 6: A Nurse’s Role in the Systems Development Life Cycle

While the process of developing and implementing a health information technology system may seem overwhelming at first, the systems development life cycle (SDLC) provides organizations with a framework to deliver efficient and effective information systems. Though the SDLC is a common overarching structure for implementing information systems, it is not a one-size-fits-all process. In fact, there are a multitude of approaches that can be used to guide the systems development life cycle. The SDLC approach that is most appropriate for a particular organization will be highly contextual and subject to organization-specific differences.

This week prompts you to analyze the process of selecting an appropriate health information technology and then evaluate techniques that positively impact the steps of the systems development life cycle in an EHR implementation. You also determine what barriers might occur at each stage and how these could be overcome.

Discussion: Successful Implementation of Electronic Health Information Technology

Since the inception of the HITECH Act, health organizations have faced increased pressure to update their health information technology (HIT) resources. As discussed last week, many believe that the increased use of electronic health records and the quick and efficient communication afforded by HIT can lead to improved quality of patient care. Yet there are significant costs associated with implementing such systems. What can organizations do to ensure that the correct system is selected and that the system will be appropriate for those required to use it? Who should be involved in those decisions?

This week introduces the systems development life cycle and discusses how it can guide an organization through the complexities of adopting a new HIT system. In this Discussion, you are asked to consider the role of nurses in the SDLC process.

To prepare:

  • Review the steps of the systems development life cycle.

  • Think about your own organization, or one with which you are familiar, and the steps the organization goes through when purchasing and implementing a new HIT system.

  • Consider what a nurse could contribute to decisions made at each stage when planning for new health information technology. What might be the consequences of not involving nurses?

  • Reflect on your own experiences with your organization selecting and implementing new technology. As an end user, do you feel you had any input in the selection or and planning of the new HIT system?

Questions to be answered

Post an analysis of the ramifications of an organization not involving nurses in each stage of the systems development life cycle when purchasing and implementing a new HIT system.

Give specific examples of potential issues at each stage and how the inclusion of nurses could help avoid such issues.


nurses role in system development life cycle, the role of nurses in the sdlc process, the inclusion of nurses in the systems development life cycle, the role of nurses in system develoment life cycle, successful implementation of electronic health information technology.

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Related Questions

Question 1

In the Module 4 Discussion, you considered how professional nurses can become involved in policy-making. A critical component of any policy design is evaluation of the results. How comfortable are you with the thought of becoming involved with such matters?
Some nurses may be hesitant to get involved with policy evaluation. The preference may be to focus on the care and well-being of their patients; some nurses may feel ill-equipped to enter the realm of policy and political activities. However, as you have examined previously, who better to advocate for patients and effective programs and polices than nurses? Already patient advocates in interactions with doctors and leadership, why not with government and regulatory agencies?
In this Discussion, you will reflect on the role of professional nurses in policy evaluation.
To Prepare:
In the Module 4 Discussion, you considered how professional nurses can become involved in policy-making.
Review the Resources and reflect on the role of professional nurses in policy evaluation.
By Day 3 of Week 9
Post an explanation of at least two opportunities that currently exist for RNs and APRNs to actively participate in policy review. Explain some of the challenges that these opportunities may present and describe how you might overcome these challenges. Finally, recommend two strategies you might make to better advocate for or communicate the existence of these opportunities. Be specific and provide examples.

Question 2

post a description of what you believe to be consequences of healthcare organizations not involving nurses in each stage of the SDLC when purchasing and implementing a new health information system. Provide specific examples of potential issues of each stage of the SDLC and explain how inclusion of nurses may help address these issues. Then explain whether you had any input at the selection and planing of new health IT system in your nursing practice or health care organization. explain potential impact of being included or not in the decision makin process. Be specific and provide example.

Question 3

paper on guiding a graduate-level nurse on their participation, start to finish, on SDLC. Must use the bullet points: Planning and Requirements, Analysis, Design of the New System, Implementation, & Maintenance and speak  to how the nurse on the team would be involved at each level of the new system to ensure nursing is represented.


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Successful Implementation of Electronic Health Information Technology

The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) refers to the five stages of information technology design and development. They include the analysis, design, implementation, evaluation and maintenance stages. Successful implementation of electronic health information technology (EHIT) depends on the extent to which nurses, as majority end-users, are engaged throughout the systems development life cycle (McLean, Frisch & Roudsari, 2015). The purpose of this paper is to describe the potential implications of the exclusion of nurses in the processes of HIT systems development.

Systems analysis

This stage evaluates existing technologies to see what works and what doesn't. The role of nurses as end users of the HITs is to provide information on the challenges and benefits they have experienced in using existing systems. Given the position they occupy and nature of their work in a health care facility, they are best placed to identify the critical system's challenges in collecting, assessing, storing, retrieving and using the information within the existing information system. Therefore, a failure to involve nurses at this stage would mean that the new HITs will not respond to the immediate IT needs of nurses.

Systems design

In this stage, the HIT expert develops a plan to improve the existing system based on the results of systems analysis. This stage identifies the most relevant user interface, databases, hardware, software and how all the parts of the HIT system can integrate into an effective and efficient whole. The nurses also play a crucial role in proposing specific operational mechanisms that should be incorporated into the new systems to enhance performance. At this stage, system designers should engage the nurses in ongoing testing and refining of the system. Failure to involve the nurses in systems design would mean that the new technology will not be responsive to the nurses’ data input and output requirements. Nurses help to verify whether or not the designed system is useful or not.

Systems implementation

In this phase, the nurses, with the help of the systems design expert, put the new HIT into the application. Nurses are the major implementing team of EHITs. The most important step in systems implementation is training for nurses to be able to optimize the HIT in providing safe and quality care services for patients. Lack of training on the use of technologies will hinder implementation as it leads to low acceptance and poor motivation among the nurses. Training enhances end-user competence, confidence and willingness to use the new EHIT (McLeod, Hweitt, Gibbs & Kristof, 2017). During implementation, nurses contribute insights into the necessary changes in procedures, policies, workflow, and coordination in the application of HITs. Without their input, the new systems might not function well within the existing organizational culture and practice.

Systems evaluation

Once implemented, the systems experts, trainers, and nurse executives evaluate the functionality of the system as well as the abilities of nurses to use it. The real and perceived usefulness of technology influences its application (Yen & Bakken, 2012). In this stage, nurses should be engaged in assessing the usability of the implemented systems. An evaluation that excludes the role of nurses will engender invalid results. As the end-users of HITs, nurses are best placed to identify technological hitches that could compromise patient safety and quality of care.

Systems maintenance and support

Systems maintenance entails the activities involved in identifying and fixing problems that could compromise the functions of the new HIT. After implementation, the hospital must work closely with the new HIT systems vendor and developer. In the course of their work, nurses will identify and report to the nurse executive the bugs in the system that affect the functionality and applicability of the technology. The nurse executive will then report the matter to the hospital’s IT specialists who will in turn initiate corrective and preventive measures.


At the core of the implementation of electronic healthcare information technology are the nurses. The active engagement of the nurses should form an integral part of the entire systems development life cycle. Nurses are strategically positioned to define the IT needs of their facilities. Their recommendations should guide the design and programming phases in the development of healthcare technologies. Successful implementation of EHITs relies solely on the input and commitment of the nurses.


McLean, A., Frisch, N., & Roudsari, A. (2015). Nursing’s Voice in Healthcare IT Acquisition Decisions. Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics, 10(3), 1-24.

McLeod, A., Hweitt, B., Gibbs, D., & Kristof, C. (2017). Evaluating Motivation for the Use of an Electronic Health Record Simulation Game. Perspect Health Inf Manag., 14(Spring): 1d.

Yen, P. Y., & Bakken, S. (2012). Review of health information technology usability study methodologies. J Am Med inform Assoc., 19(3), 413-422.

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