Tag Archives: harm

Big data, fancy tools, one-click-itis: science or magic?

As someone with a lifelong involvement in problem-solving and IT, I see a trend that gives me pause.  It concerns users who, overwhelmed by the increasing complexity of their work, employ ever more sophisticated computing tools and technology in haphazard fashion, often lacking the know how to be able to gauge the validity, usefulness, or limits of applicability of a given answer or result. Many are left with one option, to simply believe what the tool tells them and accept it as fact, a reluctance to ask questions coming both from a sheer inability to do it as well as from the sizable capital investment often made.

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Elements of a good estimate

The concurrent management of a multitude of projects competing for scarce resources in a changing regulatory and economic environment poses a serious challenge to many healthcare organizations. Clearly, doing a proper job of managing requirements, including their development and tracing from ideas to specifications, to conceptual designs, and then to “as built” designs, is important.

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Performance modeling: patient registration example

Queueing theory and modeling provide us with “closed-form” analytical solutions to problems involving, reasonably enough, queues.  Indeed, this type of performance-focused modeling is central to properly planning and sizing infrastructure and facilities of many types, from a new hospital building with interconnected services to servers, bridges, and routers on a distributed communications network, checkout registers at a retailer, toll booths (and lanes) on an interstate, conveyor belts at an airport, or teller and drive-through windows at a bank. Complex models can be joined to form queueing networks.

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