Developing an Informatics-Savvy Health Department: From Discrete Projects to a Coordinating Program—Part III, Ensuring Well-Designed and Effectively Used Information Systems

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In previous Management Moment columns,1–4 we have discussed 2 critical strategies for developing an informatics-savvy health department: having a clear and documented informatics vision, strategy, and governance and having a skilled workforce. In this column, we discuss the third essential strategy: having well-designed and effectively used information systems (Figure).
From the perspective of a senior level health official or a middle manager, it is clearly neither necessary nor appropriate to be deeply knowledgeable or skilled in informatics or information technology (IT). But it is necessary and expected in that role to know what questions to ask about information systems, given their expense—often a growing proportion of many programs' budgets. By asking the right questions, leaders can ensure the cost-effective value of the investment in both financial and human resources.
In this column, we provide examples of the types of questions a senior leader or manager could ask. These questions in part are excerpted from “Building an Informatics-Savvy Health Department: A Self-Assessment Tool.

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