The Harris County Psychiatric Center depended on 3 main data sources and 10 Access databases for data storage, review and report generation. The IT staff identified the Access databases had a variety of support issues related to data quality and integrity, user accessibility concerns, functionality limitations and potential HIPAA violations. The current technical environment, with multiple databases containing similar or in some cases duplicate data, had become difficult to manage. As a result, the HCPC Manager requested a system wide database assessment to identify recommendations for eliminating duplicate data repositories, streamlining reporting capabilities and resolving security issues.
The first step consisted of supplying the HCPC technical staff with a questionnaire for data gathering and evaluation purposes. Key personnel from each department were identified and scheduled for face-to-face interviews to capture workflow processes, data base usage and pain points with the existing systems. Interviewed personnel were also asked to identify system features which added value to their work efforts, created additional work or were burdensome to use. A review of 5 vendor packages for the Healthcare industry was performed. An assessment of each package in regards to company history, trial period availability, training format and identified replacement for existing systems was included in the Executive Summary.
The assessment highlighted that the Access applications were useful in many ways to the staff, but the demands placed on them for security, robustness, availability, performance and maintainability had exceed what the platform could provide under the best of circumstances. An executive summary was created which included a high level system diagram, project plan and suggested steps for resolving identified issues. The HCPC MIS manager used the report to prioritize application replacement, identify staffing and training needs and for budgetary planning.