How did we identify the informatics functional requirements?

Section 1




What do we mean by functional requirements?

Whole Systems Integrated Care will bring about significant changes in the way individuals receive care. Service users, providers and commissioners will all need to behave differently to achieve the improvements to which we aspire.

Information and the appropriate information systems will be crucial in supporting changes in behaviour by informing and supporting decision-making, delivery of care and enabling better outcomes for the service user.

There are three broad informatics functions:
  • a) Better care through empowering service users through care planning and managing personal budgets.
  • b) Better care delivery and supported professionals through information sharing with and between care settings to inform professional decision-making and the right tools to improve efficiency and productivity.
  • c) Better outcomes through expert analytics and tools for commissioners and providers to plan, implement and manage integrated care.

For each of these functions that support integrated care, there are three steps that must be in place in order to take data from across the system and support improved decision-making

What process did we use to identify functionality requirements?

Improving care for people is the starting point of our approach. Rather than considering systems as they exist today or might exist, the principle of our approach is to ask "What do people want and need in order to experience a more integrated service?”

During the co-design phase, we engaged the stakeholder groups – service users, providers delivering care, providers managing organisations and commissioners – to define what changes in behaviour they will need to make and the information they need to support these changes. User cases were developed, which helped derive the functional requirements. The data required by each of the user cases informed the information systems architecture, components and tools. This process has helped us identify the functionality requirements for future information systems.

In this effort, we have talked with:
  • Service users through a workshop jointly organised with Informatics Strategy team
  • Providers and professionals by discussing information needs as part of joint GP networks and provider networks workshop
  • Commissioners through individual interactions with stakeholders.

We also engaged all stakeholder groups together as part of a Programme Board meeting.

Once we created the list of functional requirements, we undertook a high level gap analysis to determine:

  • Whether the data underpinning the information need is currently available and accessible
  • Whether new tools are needed to deliver the information requirement or whether information needs can be addressed in a way that does not require informatics.

 This process generated a long list of informatics functionality requirements. The working group prioritised the new needs for Whole Systems Integrated Care that are not being developed as part of the other programmes and agreed a process to begin addressing them after the co-design phase has ended.

The next 3 sections will consider how the information needs and gaps for:

  • Service users 
  • Providers
  • Commissioners