Algorithms and software tools for multi-criteria decision analysis MCDA and its varieties, e. The module will be complete with the inclusion of intelligent techniques and tools for decision making and diagnosis, e. Examples will also be drawn from various industry domains and applications. The module will start off by describing the decision-making process in businesses today, including the hierarchy of decision making responsibilities.
It will then move on to the cognitive aspects of decision making such as the problem solving, role of logic, and probability. Algorithms and software for multi-criteria decision analysis MCDA and its varieties, e. Introduction will be provided to intelligent techniques for decision making, e. Examples will be drawn from various industry domains and applications. BT Data Management and Visualisation. The module covers data management concepts, conceptual and logical design, database management, data warehousing concepts, data warehousing design, relational database management systems and tools, data visualisation and dashboard design concepts, visual perception and design principles, visualisation techniques and tools for temporal and spatial data, proportions and relationships, multivariate and complex data, etc.
This project can be viewed as a large-scale practical module. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the objectives of the analytics exercise, applying appropriate analytic methods and techniques, evaluating database designs, modeling strategies and implementation, and monitoring analytics performances. Students will sharpen communication skills through close team interactions, consultations, and formal presentations.
This module will introduce students to computational methods, algorithms and techniques used in business fields such as finance, marketing and economics to address complex analytics problems.
Management Information Systems (MIS)
The course will cover topics and algorithms in areas such as optimization methods, numerical analysis, simulations, Monte-Carlo methods, graph and flow methods, and computational complexity issues to address business analytics related problems. Students will get the opportunity to learn about these computational methods and issues through hands-on practice assignments, case analysis discussions, and course projects. Modular Credits: 12 Workload: Prerequisite s : BT Preclusion s :Nil Cross-listing s : Nil This module aims to equip students with an intermediate exposure to working in industry with theories, methods and applications of business analytics learnt.
The internship duration will be approximately 24 weeks full-time. Students will have an opportunity to gain technological and managerial overview of analytical techniques, link analytics, continuous monitoring of business activities, and analytics reporting. The crimes to be covered in this module include fraud, money laundering, terror financing, collusion, market manipulation, cyber intrusion, and control lapses.
It will also aim to identify trading opportunities, practices, optimal execution and placements of trading on current technological platforms. Regulations and risk management of quantitative trading will also be emphasized. Geospatial storage tools such as PostGIS that have been created to provide a more scalable backend will be introduced. Other geospatial tools, such as ArcGIS, will be covered. Exploratory Spatial and Spatio-temporal Data Analysis ESDA, ESTDA and spatial statistics, including spatial autocorrelation and spatial regression are some of the geospatial data analytics methods covered in detail on the variety of business contexts, operations and applications.
Students will be taught on the fundamentals of financial services and financial risks. They also learn about interest risk analytics and credit risk analytics. Students learn how to apply concepts and skills acquired from all prior modules taken and also to think of innovative ways of solving business analytics problems, and learn to work in a research and real-world business analytics environment. On completion of the project, the student has to submit a dissertation which describes the project work and summarizes the findings, as well as to give an oral presentation before a panel of examiners.
Emphasis will be placed on understanding the objectives of the analytics exercise, applying appropriate analytic methods and techniques, evaluating database designs, modelling strategies and implementation, and monitoring analytics performances. BT Data-Driven Marketing. This module aims to teach students concepts, methods and tools to demonstrate the return on investment ROI of marketing activities and to leverage on data and marketing analytics to make better and more informed marketing decisions.
The course topics covered include marketing performance management, marketing metrics, data management, market response and diffusion models, market and customer segmentation models, analytic marketing and value driven segmentation, digital media marketing analytics, etc. Students will have access to real marketing and customer data sources, and will conduct hands-on marketing analysis using data mining and statistical analysis tools. Students will be taught concepts and knowledge in terms of how search engines work, what people search for, what are the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines, which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience, and how to optimize a website in terms of editing its content, structure and links, and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.
Importantly, the module will emphasize the relationship of search engine optimization to digital marketing in terms of building high quality web pages to engage and persuade, setting up analytics programs to enable sites to measure results, and improving a site's conversion rate. Common sources and domains of big data include ubiquitous information-sensing mobile devices, web and software logs, financial trading transactions, large-scale e-commerce, RFID and wireless sensor networks, etc. Conceptual big data topics covered include big data infrastructure, analytics scalability and processes, etc.
Technical frameworks for big data handling and analytics taught include Hadoop, HBase, Cassandra, MapReduce, Dynamo, R, in-database analytics, mining of data streams, etc. It has profoundly influenced many aspects of our lives, changing the ways individuals communicate and the manners businesses are conducted. This module aims to teach students various concepts, methods and tools in mining Web data in the form of unstructured Web hyperlinks, page contents, and usage logs to uncover deep business insights and knowledge for business implications that are embedded in the billions of Web pages and servers.
Topics covered include various text mining methodologies, case applications and tutorials on Web data mining for marketing, sales and finance applications, social Web data mining from Facebook and Twitter, and Web analytics involving clickstream and site traffic data, etc. Various techniques from data mining, statistics and artificial intelligence will be discussed.
The emphasis will be on more recent developments in machine learning methods such as neural networks and support vector machines that have been shown to be very effective in discovering reliable patterns from past data and making accurate predictions of future outcomes. Applications of predictive analytics in business will also be discussed.
The issues and considerations concerning information security have greatly shaped many laws, in particular, the laws relating to cybercrimes, electronic commerce, electronic evidence, document discovery, information management and data protection. These areas of the law have in turn altered the development and practice of information security in the industry.
The objective of this module is to provide information security professionals with a working knowledge of these legal issues in information security, so that they are better placed to represent and protect the legal interests of their employers and their institutions. They will examine how technological paradigms transform industries, organizations and individuals, and vice versa; how policies and social norms are developed as they relate to technology use; and investigate the emerging controversies surrounding the regulation of technology in society.
Emphasis is placed on establishing an in-depth understanding of the professional and ethical responsibilities of computing professionals, and developing an ability to analyze the impact of computing technologies on a local and global scale. Historical and contemporary studies, cases and examples will be used extensively. Modular Credits: 4 Workload: Prerequisite s : Nil Preclusion s : Nil Cross-listing s : Nil The module gives a wide yet insightful understanding of the impact of IT on organisation and society.
Other issues for consideration could be dark web and IT security advancement, open vs. Misuse of IT that put ethics and professionalism into question will be also discussed. The focus is on the following topics: the nature and characteristics of information technology IT , the strategic roles of IT for organizational improvements in operations, planning and decision making. The course is directed toward future IT specialists, consultants, and managers who must have a basic understanding of information technologies; including identifying strategic opportunities for Information Systems IS deployment, managing IT resources, and evaluating IT investments.
It will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the technical elements that facilitate the development of the Internet and e-commerce, and the principles and concepts underlying the use of these technologies to facilitate e-business operations. Topics covered include: the evolution of e-business from operational, technical and strategic perspectives, basic computer networking and database concepts, website architecture and multimedia on the Internet, internet technologies, services and applications e. Students will learn to present their IT ideas, products or services in written proposals and presentations, to write persuasive business letters and effective email to clients and customers, to speak confidently at meetings and interviews.
Lastly, an intercultural component will introduce students to some key aspects of living and working in a multicultural workplace at home or abroad. IS Requirements Analysis and Design. Whether the computer systems developed are what users want depends on how well requirements are captured at the earlier stage of system development.
This module teaches Business Requirements Analysis in the Unified Process, particularly, the process of requirements elicitation, analyses, documentation, and communication. Students will develop an in-depth understanding of high-level concepts such as enterprise architecture and software architecture.
They will then move on to acquire fundamental systems analysis and design techniques such as object-oriented requirements analysis and design using the Unified Modelling Language as well as software design patterns. Essential systems engineering skillsets such as software testing and software configuration management will also be covered. NET from Microsoft. Emphasis will be placed on teaching students J2EE standard specification. It complements IS, which focuses on front-end development aspects for Enterprise Systems.
Students will learn modern development techniques such as component-based development, service-oriented development and object-relational mapping. One or more established development platforms would be carefully chosen to allow students to put into practice the various concepts that are taught in the module.
An emphasis would also be placed on Enterprise Systems security. IS Software Team Dynamics. Emphasis is placed on team dynamics in the software environment. Students will learn about different types of software teams, the challenges of working in such teams and how to work and manage such teams effectively.
A variety of instructional methods including lectures, in-class group activities, discussions and debates, videos and fieldwork will be used to facilitate teaching of the course. Major topics include: J2EE and. Students will gain an understanding of the managerial issues in the development and operation of information systems. The main topics include: information systems planning, management of systems development and maintenance, implementation management, end-user computing, data centre operations, information systems control and evaluation, acquisition of IS resources and management of IS personnel.
Case studies will be used to illustrate the issues and solutions. They will also sharpen communication skills through close team interactions, consultations, and formal presentations. Emphasis will be placed on requirement analysis, system design, user interface design, database design and implementation efficiency. Students will be assessed based on their understanding and ability to apply software engineering knowledge on a real-life application system.
The course will not only cover major topics relating strategic, tactical and operational facets of thought leadership in propelling IT implementations, adoptions and changes in organization but also equip students with industry-relevant communication skillsets. The strategic facet will explore the various contexts, complex issues and dynamic paths that evoke leadership in information systems, including technology championship, disruptive technology, and IT ecosystem.
The tactical facet will strategize a culture to co-create value and nurture technological innovations. Students will be taught effective communication skills for influential communication, change management communication and directional communication. These skillsets will enable them to foster partnership between technology and business stakeholders such as vendors, IT professionals and functional users. The operational facet will include leadership areas in IT portfolio management, change management, and IT applications. Through a synthesis of critical knowledge areas required of technology leaders, students will examine the intersection of technology and business to drive IT-enabled changes in an organization.
The course will prepare students for senior technology positions, and develop core communication skills that leaders need to be equipped with to be successful in leading technological transformations. It complements IS which focuses on backend development aspects for Enterprise Systems. Topics covered include: web development scripting languages, web templating design and component design, integrating with backend application, and basic mobile application development.
Students will be cognizant of social media campaigns, IT crisis management, and brand image management. They will have an excellent grasp of social media analytics, the 5Ps product, pricing, promotion, place, and participation , market analysis and consumers' behavior. The course will also introduce concepts in customer relationship management CRM , including the application, implementation and management of CRM technologies, CRM strategy and data warehouse, customer metrics and economic returns from CRM.
At the end of the course, students will be able to deliver coherent digital marketing and comprehensive customer relationship management. Service Science is the application of scientific, management, and engineering disciplines to the tasks services that one organisation beneficially performs for itself and with another. The module will cover the definition and goals of services, creation, operation, marketing and delivery of services, and the role of IT service systems. It will discuss how IT-enabled services impact an organisation and the external environment.
The efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation in carrying out its business can be enhanced if managers and employees are given the support to plan, monitor and control the business. In this course, students will learn the rationale for having ERP, ERP functionality such as manufacturing, finance, distribution and human resource management , ERP and information technology, ERP systems and ERP implementation planning, product selection, implementation and optimisation.
This module aims to introduce concepts in CRM and in the application, implementation and management of CRM technologies. Particularly, it focuses on the how to plan the integration of supply chain components into a coordinated system using IT. Besides the basic concepts, students will be exposed to the role of IT in risk pooling and inventory placement, integrated planning and collaboration, and information sharing in supply chain management.
IS Principles of Information Security. This module introduces the principles of information security, to prepare students for their future roles as IS professionals. Students will understand that protecting organizational information requires a holistic approach which includes policy, technology and education.
The focus of the module is on principles and concepts, rather than hands-on skills. In this module, students will learn both theoretical and practical insights into the dynamics of creating, implementing and competing with digital platforms, focused on three pillars. The course will first examine the strategic and economic foundations of digital platforms Pillar 1 , and their prominent rise in the digital transformation of industries, business models, products and services.
Topics include platform principles and value propositions, platform business design and ecosystem architecture, platform evolution, the design of digital platform components APIs, interfaces and protocols , data strategies for digital platforms, and platform roadmaps and innovation. IS Enterprise Social Systems. The primary focus of the course will be on enterprise social systems that leverage social networks. This course will also emphasise the powerful role that social computing technologies e. IS Software Quality Management. It is also imperative for IT vendors to meet the increasing demand for high quality IT service and software products by customers.
This module focuses on how to apply quality management concepts and practices to development and maintenance of software. Particularly, students will learn about various quality metrics, models, and standards specific to the software domain. IS Technology Strategy and Management. The module provides students with a broad and in-depth understanding of the theory and practice of technology strategy and management. These will be applied to information technology-related products and services.
Students will also understand the life cycle and product development process of technological innovations. Case studies form a major part of this module. IS Health Informatics. With the increasing use of IT in the healthcare landscape, there has been a steady growth of demands for IT systems and innovations to streamline healthcare practice and to provide for quality patient care. Lectures will cover IT systems in healthcare settings, decision-making in patient care, standards and interoperability issues, patient data privacy and security and challenges associated with IT implementation in healthcare enterprises.
The module is useful for students with the view to an IT career in healthcare. Students will learn about the current developments in entrepreneurship, worldwide and in Singapore and be taught to use a variety of tools, techniques and frameworks for the development and analysis of entrepreneurial businesses.
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Students taking the module should have an interest in entrepreneurship and a desire to be an entrepreneur at some stage in their lives. IS Gamification for Organisations and Individuals. For the younger generation, gaming has become part of their lives, and thus it is desirable to use games to engage them at work and as part of marketing strategies. The goal of this module is to provide students with an introduction to gamification and funware. Lectures will cover the various game elements, their psychological impact on people and ways to deploy them. Students will also work on group projects to learn to deploy gamification.
It also offers a rich interactive experience for customers. Programming skills for mobile apps in enterprise environment is therefore an increasingly important asset for the IT workforce. This course will teach mobile phone programming in a client-server setting.
In addition to developing user interface, the students will also learn how to write mobile apps to communicate with servers via HTTP, making synchronous and asynchronous requests, as well as dealing with common payload formats such as JSON and HTML. The internship duration will be 6 months, consisting of both a full-time and part-time component. Full-time internship attachment will last for 3 months during the NUS vacation period, and will continue on a part-time basis that will last for 3 months during the NUS study semester.
Various managerial issues pertaining to the evaluation and selection of information systems projects, choice of project organisation, planning, scheduling and budgeting of project activities and basic principles in control and project auditing will be covered. This module serves as a good introduction to information systems project management for students who may participate in coordinating and managing large-scale information systems projects. Emphasis will be placed on system design, user interface design, database design, security strategy, and performance.
Students will appreciate differences in the scalability, usability, performance and security aspects. Students will also develop a comprehensive understanding of the issues of e-business implementation from an enterprise architecture standpoint. They will also sharpen their communication skills through closer team interactions, consultations, and formal presentations. Emphasis will be placed on architecture design and implementation, requirement analysis, system design, user interface design, database design and implementation efficiency.
Students will be assessed based on their understanding and ability to apply software engineering knowledge on a real-life application system, as well as their communication skill. Modular Credits: 4 Workload: Prerequisite s : Pass 80 MCs and IS Preclusion s : Nil Cross-listing s : Nil In this module, students will develop an appreciation for the strategic, operational, and technical issues for e-commerce in the emerging domains of mobile and ubiquitous computing. It provides students with an understanding of the theory and practice of e-business management and systems development in these domain areas.
The module covers concepts such as frameworks for mobile commerce, enabling business processes and models, as well as technologies for enabling commerce on non-traditional computing platforms. Students will learn to design and develop e-business applications on these platforms to meet constantly changing business needs. Indeed, pervasive technology immerses the users in a triad of interaction, computation, and communication.
But it also presents significant challenges ranging from technology architectural design and security concerns among many. This module will study the mechanisms and operating environments of pervasive technology. Some of the topics covered include computer and network architectures for pervasive computing, wearable technologies, internet of things, mobile computing mechanisms, location mechanisms, techniques for security and user authentication. IS Global Virtual Project defunct. Modular Credits: 4 Workload: Prerequisite s : Pass 80 MCs and IS Preclusion s : Nil Cross-listing s : Nil With the increasing globalization of businesses and the availability of sophisticated IT tools to communicate, global virtual teams are becoming commonplace in organizations.
Global Virtual Project is a project-based module, in which students from different universities from around the world will work together on projects that are global in nature. Apart from background materials being provided, the major part of the module will be constituted by the project. Modular Credits: 4 Workload: Prerequisite s : Pass 80 MCs and [IS or CS] Preclusion s : Nil Cross-listing s : Nil This course introduces students to the fundamentals of managing change and adoption associated with the introduction and implementation of new systems and technologies.
Emphasis will be placed on the understanding and effective management of end-user reactions to the adoption and use of new systems and technologies. Topics to be covered include IT adoption and use process, dealing with user resistance, effective change vision, short and long-term change, outcomes evaluation, and preventing change deterioration. IS IT Governance. It covers the process of strategic planning to align IT strategies with business strategies. IS Service Systems defunct. It will cover the fundamentals of systems thinking for business services, and extend to large scale IT-integrated services.
Students will learn about holistic social-technical systems, considering all the important factors, such as IT, business organisation, user characteristics and different cultural environments. Case studies form an integral component of this module, to enhance student knowledge and application skills. Cross-listing s : Nil This module covers strategic planning to link information needs and technology support to organisational objectives. The module content includes: IT effects on industries, markets, and organisations; how organisations can use IT to gain competitive advantage; evaluation of business strategy plans and IS strategy plans ; and management of aligning business strategy plans and IS strategy plans.
The module will focus on organisational performance efficiency, effectiveness, and competitiveness , the use of IT as a means to enhance organisational performance not an end in itself and creative and analytical frameworks and methodologies. It also provides students with the theoretical framework and tools to identify core IT capabilities and analyse relevant activities for outsourcing and offshoring.
Besides equipping students with the fundamentals and theoretical perspectives of these phenomena, the course will also expose them to practical issues ranging from managerial to economical, from cultural to political, from methodological to regulatory. Students will graduate with a better appreciation of the IT industry in both developing and developed countries. Key concepts from web services, that are relevant to SOA, will be covered with an emphasis on how these ideas may enhance the performance of enterprises.
Approaches to service oriented software development including reliability and security considerations will also be included. Overall, this module equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to implement SOA in enterprises. It is designed to provide the students with a broad overview and thematic case studies of how each major business segment of the financial services industry employs IT to maintain a competitive edge, and to comply with laws and regulations. This module prepares the students for their future roles as IS managers or IS security professionals. Through this module, students will appreciate the challenges of managing information security in the modern business organization.
Topics include risk management, security policies and programmes, managing the security function, and planning for continuity. The content is expected to change from year to year. Possible topics include incident management and business continuity, digital forensics, and e-commerce and m-commerce security. Among the topics to be addressed are intellectual property of software, database, and multimedia entertainment contents, data privacy, information security, and electronic commerce law.
The goal of the course is to provide basic background in these issues for non-lawyers. The course enables IT professionals to better handle their legal resources and better understand their commercial opportunities. Real-world examples from the text and current events will be used to demonstrate the applicability of the law in IT industries. IS Compliance and Regulation Technology. Technology is also utilised to automate and enhance the regulatory monitoring and reporting of compliance.
This module provides an opportunity for students to have a comprehensive understanding of the frameworks and standards relating to regulatory compliance and also a good understanding of how technology is applied, for example in financial sector, for compliance. It enables organisations to improve decision making, enhance strategic position, and maintain competitive advantage. This module will introduce students to the essentials of BI, placing emphasis on database and machine learning technologies for building effective BI Systems.
Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and de-identified. The interview transcripts underwent an initial reading to identify terms that indicated the use of technology or ICTs. The researchers discussed the terms in the text and agreed on how they could be grouped into broad categories. The researchers then discussed the context of keywords in the transcripts and reached a consensus regarding which broad category would be most appropriate for the keyword. These broad categories and keywords were translated into a reference table for use in subsequent readings, and structured categorisation of the transcripts.
Subsequent readings of the transcripts were informed by the broad categories and keyword in the reference table, and enabled a structured review of the transcript to identify themes that were consistent across interviews [ 28 ]. Permission to conduct this study was granted by human research ethics committees of the University of Sydney, the local health district.
Every location had facilities to project images onto a screen, as well as access to at least one computer. Some locations also had access to other technologies such as televisions, imaging equipment, teleconferencing facilities, lightboxes, and microscopes. Only two of the meetings had dedicated administrative support. Irrespective of location, all meetings had an established seating routine, consisting of an inner and an outer circle of members. The small size of the room often reinforced this seating arrangement with a large table occupying most of the space.
The inner circle consisted of senior clinicians including, oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, senior nursing staff and pathologists. The outer circle consisted of junior doctors and trainees, medical students, allied health, clinical trial nurses, and late attendees.
Epub Significance: Exploring The Nature Of Information, Systems And Technology
The researchers observing the meeting also sat in the outer circle. The location of hardware dictated that imaging staff sat in the outer circle of the room. In MDTM rooms screens, microscopes, light boxers and desktop computers were located at the edges of the room, with a large table in the central space. Overall, technology was most frequently used to display patient imaging.
Screens at the front of the meeting room displayed patient scans and imaging experts reported their interpretation of the results. The display of patient imaging and scans was a clear facilitator of discussion across specialties, particularly between oncologists and pathologists. It was also often a source of discussion between the inner and outer circles of the meeting as more senior specialists asked questions of junior doctors seated in the outer circle in relation to treatment options and prognosis. In one MDT tumor stream meeting the chair regularly engaged junior doctors in the outer circle by asking them to conduct internet searches for literature to support certain diagnoses.
Challenges in relation to relying on imaging equipment were also evident. On occasions imaging or imaging reports were not available or older images could not be accessed to allow team members to assess disease progression. This was a result of poor access to patient databases or gaps in the available data. Imaging was observed to be unavailable due to either to the challenge of integrating digital systems or because results had not arrived from external imaging providers.
A dedicated meeting coordinator was observed to play an important role ensuring timely access to imaging. This meeting coordinator ensured that agendas, patient lists and reminders were disseminated and this helped ensure all relevant results were available for the MDTM. At those meetings that had dedicated administrative support agendas, patient lists and reminders were disseminated and this helped ensure all relevant results were available. Despite having the capacity to link with rural areas this was generally only used as required or when requested by a clinician. Another MDT encouraged junior doctors to deliver a PowerPoint presentation of a clinical case study they had encountered for discussion with the team.
This MDT also allowed time for research-focused members to present their research. Another MDTM chair encouraged registrars to regularly use smartphones to source information on treatment options and diagnosis. Overall, findings from observations confirmed the importance of imaging equipment to diagnose and discuss treatment options. The use of imaging impacted on the environment of meetings and stimulated team discussion. A total of 15 interview transcripts contained references to technology, how MDTs used technology in their weekly meetings, and key enabling factors for improved use of health information systems.
Three broad themes emerged, including the use of technology for data collection, how environmental factors and the use of health technology in MDT meetings technology shapes the MDTM environment, and the impact of technology on clinical decision making. Participants were unanimous that data collection was important and enabled by health information systems. Several also commented on the implementation of an EMR and stated that it would only be beneficial if it contained accurate, high quality data.
They expressed concerns about the quality of data that was currently collected through MDTMs. One participant reported that patient-centered data such as quality of life was noticeably absent and that this was a significant gap in understanding how treatments affected patients and their discussions around end of life care. Several barriers to the collection of quality data were identified, including that it was time consuming to collect, that there was duplication across multiple databases which could lead to errors, or that there was no one in the MDTM to collect the data.
One participant felt that the quality of data collection varied across disciplines, as areas such as radiology and surgery had specific reporting requirements that effectively mandated the collection of specific data. Another noted that the collection of routine data such as length of stay or time between admissions was not indicative of treatment outcomes or quality of life.
Ultimately, data collected from the MDTMs varied according to the skills of individual members and the resourcing of individual teams. Nevertheless, all participants identified that information systems should be used to collect high quality data and that MDTMs present a unique opportunity for improving data collection.
Participants also commented on the burgeoning number and duplication of databases and the challenges this posed in terms of data linkage and ownership of data. Two interviewees noted a reluctance by clinicians and researchers to share their data, which could reflect legal and confidentiality concerns. Reticence to share data was considered as a barrier to promoting evidence-based care.
The proliferation of duplicate databases is problematic because they are usually unlinked and not contextualized within a larger body of either local or global population data. Using innovative technologies such as linked databases that allowed real time data entry and analysis was considered challenging. It was reported that health information systems were not always implemented well and were poorly integrated into MDTMs. This, in turn, fueled resistance to new systems. The importance of time and support were highlighted to avoid data collection impacting on clinical workloads and most participants recommended more resourcing for MDTs in relation to this.
In particular, funding for a dedicated data manager who understands the structure of clinical databases and who could attend MDTMs regularly was identified as a key enabling factor. Participants reported that ideally, the same person who collected the data would enter it into the database and suggested that the MDTM could be used as a quality control opportunity to review the data and ensure its accuracy.
1. Joining the social matrix
One disparate comment related to utilizing technology to feed data back to MDTMs and noted that this would allow clinicians to engage with their data and better identify quality gaps and improvement issues. A number of participants referred to cultural and environmental factors that influenced the use of information systems and imaging equipment within meetings. The ability to display and interpret patient scans relied on an appropriate meeting room and the attendance of specialists such as pathologists who have the ability to interpret the images.
In one MDT, the pathologist did not always attend and delays occurred when their opinion was required. This highlights how the effective use of technology relies on both location and clinician expertise. It was identified that common electronic tools had the capacity to shape and improve MDTMs.
Digital tools such as PowerPoint slides were easily available to present patient case reviews at MDTMs, but were rarely used. The need to improve the MDT environment to create a vehicle for collecting good clinical data was discussed extensively as was the importance of having members with specialized knowledge such as programming to ensure the optimal use of technology.
However, it was felt the current system made access to these experts difficult. Participants were unanimous that health information systems and imaging had an important role in supporting clinical decision making. This was supported by observations that confirmed the role of imaging in facilitating discussions about disease staging, treatment, and prognosis among team members. When patient scans were unavailable delays in treatment decisions occurred and one participant stated there was a need to identify which external imaging companies made scan results available online, and that patients should be referred to only those companies for their scans to ensure access to timely treatment.
Timely access to imaging was crucial for helping to identify discrepancies in previous diagnoses and enhancing the ability to compare and discuss individual treatment plans. Additionally, all participants agreed that imaging technology and real time data supported and enhanced clinical discussion during meetings. The findings from this study indicate that MDTs currently use a wide variety of ICT in support of and during their meetings. This aligns with the broader literature which indicates that there is widespread use of technology in the health sector and that it is transforming the delivery of care [ 1 , 2 ].
ICTs have great potential for improving aspects of healthcare, and they have been used in innovative ways in the health sector [ 3 ]. However evidence on the effectiveness of these innovations is lacking, and there are a range of challenges still to be overcome [ 24 , 29 ]. Findings from this study build on the existing literature by suggesting that MDTs currently do not make optimal use of health information systems and technology.
The barriers identified in this study are consistent with the perception that new technologies are burdensome and increase workloads [ 30 ]. Although this study focused broadly on the use of ICT in MDTs, participants identified the collection and use of real time clinical data as a priority. In addition, MDT leaders and champions expressed a desire to collect meaningful patient-centered data such as quality of life that could help inform treatment choices and end of life care.
This is consistent with findings that acute and long term physical and psychosocial comorbidities are associated with cancer treatment, indicating there is an increasing need for supported self-management and shared care [ 9 ]. Furthermore, patient experience or patient reported outcome measures are an indicator of service quality [ 31 ].
MDTs have an important role in this process and if we are to improve treatment decisions and quality of care we need to identify the key outcomes and data relating to patient experience that can inform this process. Well implemented ICTs for data collection have the potential to improve the coordination of cancer care in MDTs, as they have been shown to do in other health areas [ 21 ]. Overall, participants felt ICT had the potential to make clinical data collection more accurate, and easier to feed back to MDTs for a range of applications.
This finding aligns with clinical data research, which has shown that the increasing use of technologies such as electronic medical records has made data more accessible to clinicians by opening up opportunities to access their data for a range of uses from clinical processes to quality improvement [ 29 , 32 ]. At the same time, some participants expressed their concern that health services now collect a plethora of data but much of it lacks utility and accessibility. The literature has demonstrated that the widespread use of ICTs for clinical data collection has had the effect of collecting vast amounts of inaccurate or unnecessary data [ 11 ].
Findings from this study showed clinicians themselves are aware of the risk of collecting data that lacks value. Moving forward, the challenges in identifying which clinical data to collect may be overcome through the engagement of end-users, such as health professionals, in the design and implementation of data collection ICTs.
Although ICTs can facilitate the collection of unnecessary data, findings from this study indicated that technology has the potential to be an enabling factor in improving the collection of high quality clinical data, as it can make data input straightforward and easier to feed back to clinical teams. Interviews with participants of this team identified that not only was this more efficient, but also the team collection of meaningful, patient-centered data was helpful for informing clinical decision making and end of life care.
Hence, data collection may be considered a dimension of service quality and used as an indicator of quality. MDTs have an important role in this process and if we are to improve treatment decisions and follow up care we need to identify the key outcomes and data that can inform this process. An integral part of this process will be ensuring that clinicians, themselves, see the value and feasibility of collecting patient-reported outcomes PROMs.
ICTs have the potential to integrate PROMs into routine data collection systems and more research into how this can be enabled in cancer care is imperative [ 33 ]. In spite of the interest in the use of ICTs to improve aspects of the MDT such as data collection, findings from this study suggest the use of ICT in and of itself is insufficient in changing team dynamics and improving the delivery of care.
ICT on its own is a tool that can be harnessed to enhance MDTs, but there are also human and organizational factors that support successful use of technologies in health care. A particularly important one for MDTs is having access to specialists who understand how to use and interpret the technologies and information systems, such as experts who can design clinical databases for teams or analyze clinical data sets during meetings.
Thus the successful implementation of health technologies may require task re-allocation in order to ensure relevant staff have adequate skills to use the technologies optimally [ 8 , 34 ]. Furthermore, complex technologies often require organizations to invest in individuals to ensure they possess skills with specific technologies in order to support their implementation in MDTs [ 35 ]. The need to upskill existing staff or engage staff with specialised ICT skills may increase costs for healthcare organisations in order to ensure ICT sustainability. Such an outcome stands at odds with much of the currently literature which champions ICTs as a cost-effective solution for improving the quality of healthcare [ 22 ].
Although the literature acknowledges the benefits of multidisciplinary care for both patients and health professionals, there are still gaps in understanding as to how best support this type of care [ 24 ]. This lack of understanding is coupled with the challenges of implementing innovations in MDTs, such as adequate uptake and cost-effectiveness [ 25 ]. Findings from this study indicate that in order to overcome implementation challenges for innovations such as ICT within MDTs it is important for both individuals and organizations to recognize when and how it can be used to benefit practice.
This is particularly important in rapidly evolving areas such as the collection and feedback of data for both clinical and research purposes. Doing this effectively requires information technology experts, implementation researchers, and clinical teams to work together to develop implementation approaches for using ICT in a way that will lead to behavior change. Organizations will also need to acknowledge and support the need for resourcing in order to utilize emerging technologies in optimal ways. In regards to answering the first question, the study is limited by the fact that it only represents the observations of MDT members at two sites, over a sampling of MDTMs.
Given that the MDT members were aware they were being observed, it is possible they were affected by the Hawthorn effect. The Hawthorn effect states that all observational studies are vulnerable to the Hawthorn effect whereby participants alter their behavior in response to being observed. The researchers attempted to overcome this limitation by attending multiple meetings of each tumor stream over the course of the study, and attending a MDTMs across a broad range of tumour streams.
It must also be acknowledged that data was collected through unstructured observations. As such, it is possible that only a small sub-set of observational notes recorded ICT use due to variation in what the observers recorded. Finally, the study observations focused on an area of practice that is experiencing rapid change: ICT usage, at a specific moment of time, as a result findings cannot be generalized across settings. Additionally, elements of ICT observed in the organisation when this study was undertaken may have changed during the publication process.
In regards to answering the second question the study is limited by fact that it relied on consensus of researchers to identify categories and themes as such, categorisation of the data is potentially limited by the understanding of the researchers of the definitions of the categories and keywords.
As two phenomena are being observed, confounding factors make it difficult to draw clear conclusions as to which of the two phenomena are creating the result. However, confounding factors are a common barrier in implementation and health services research and it is still beneficial to observe the way ICTs may alter MDTM interactions. Although the methodology used in this research project was beneficial for understanding how oncology MDTs currently used ICTs and how the use of these ICTs effected interactions within MDT meetings, alternatives could be adopted by future researchers.
This could include focusing observations on an individual tumour stream to minimise variation of observations across specialties. The use of ICTs is commonplace in MDT meetings, particularly technologies for displaying patient imaging and other pertinent patient history information. However, ICTs continue to be underutilised for real time data collection and feedback, an application that is of particular use to health professionals. Improving real time data collection and feedback has the potential to improve quality, care coordination and patient-centered models of care.
This potential is not always realized and there is value in identifying the enabling factors that support better collection and use of outcome data and other health information systems. Although there are a range of barriers to implementing ICT effectively in healthcare, there are also a number of factors that may increase the likelihood of successful integration.
From an organisational perspective, it is important that adequate resourcing is provided so that MDTs have access to the right technologies at the right time and place. From the perspective of MDTs effective implementation of ICTs can involve engaging members who have the skills to use specific technologies optimally, so that technologies can be harnessed in a way that is synergistic with the existing structure of the MDTM. The role of technology in health care innovation: a commentary. J Dual Diagn. Booth RG. Educating the future eHealth professional nurse. Int J Nurs Educ Scholarsh. Rosenberg L.
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