From: Sumi M, Analyst
Subject: Broad Standardization vs. SOA
Date: January 18, 2014
Peachtree Healthcare, a network of 11 large and midsize institutions, has nearly 4,000 employed and affiliated physicians who annually treated a million patients from a wide range of demographics. According to the CEO, Peachtree’s mission is “to ensure quality, consistency, and continuity of care across the entire network – and to deliver all that with the highest levels of efficiency, economy, and respect for patients and staff”.
Peachtree’s objective is to offer variety of medical care services, from ancillary clinics to nursing homes, so that patient care is provided without any disruptions to the services. However, the key issue faced by the management team of Peachtree is to choose between the two options of,
Deploy a monolithic system that will provide consistency across the institution’s network
Implement service-oriented architecture (SOA)
Though both options have built in pros and cons, considering the nature of Peachtree’s operations, SOA is the solution due to the system’s comparatively lower cost in the long run, ease of use, flexibility and lower time consumption in implementation
Complexity in Peachtree’s current information system arises from the fact that the company grew by way of mergers; each merged institution continued to use its legacy information system as a stand-alone institution.
Challenges faced by Peachtree at this point are as follows:
Complexity in interpersonal relationships within organization:
CEO’s perspective as a physician preventing him from making a decision: “You can standardize the testing of ball bearings for manufacturing defects; But as far as I know, you can’t - at least not yet – standardize the protocol for treating colon cancer”
CIO’s attitude towards SOA: instead of streamlining on SOA’s maturing and its relationships to business dynamics and management, she is “goofing around” with SOA as a vendor-driven product category.
The meltdown at the Wallis Memorial Hospital, proves Peachtree’s IT infrastructure to be outdated and unreliable.
The organization has postponed the decision making to the point where the organization had to be temporarily paralyzed, leaving the staff angry and helpless. The disconnected infrastructure causing downtime, thereby affecting patient-care and technical innovation.
Clinicians now rely on IT as a primary tool, thus healthcare institutions have unique doctor-oriented systems. Standardizing Peachtree’s information system will result in a betterment to flow of information within facilities, in turn enhancing organizational flexibility. Further, the standardization will improve the organization’s ability to adapt quickly to different external environments. Standardization will improve reliability by maintaining consistency, data confidentiality and integrity. In addition to the aforementioned advantages, by standardizing, human resources currently invested on maintaining the organizations’ redundant structure can be redirected to innovating or improving the updated system.
On the other hand, as Peachtree is evaluating its business goals to IT technology, while the younger generation of physicians will easily adapt to the upgrade, it may face resistance to change from older staff, as the existing way of operation has become second nature to them. Often, the older staff generation is not as computer literate as the younger generation.
Peachtree should use the following criteria to evaluate the implementation of its system so that IT strategies support key business objectives:
Peachtree’s mission: continue to provide consistent, quality health-care
Risk of downtime in comparison to performance of existing infrastructure
Cost and duration of project implementation
Flexibility and independence of system: quick response to change