- "Assessing Information Needs" in Gustafson DH, Cats-Baril WL, Alemi F.
Systems to Support Health Policy Analysis: Theory, Models, and Uses, Health Administration Press: Ann
Arbor, Michigan, 1992 (Revised 2006).
Coletta Dorado, CEO and Founder of Azzly Inc.
Narrated slides and videos require
Advanced learners like you,
often need different ways of understanding a topic. Reading is just one way of
understanding. Another way is through writing about what you have read.
The following questions get you to think more about the concepts
taught in this session.
Which of the following is important in conducting a needs
(a) Focus on the future and not current needs
(b) Assess the importance of information items within decisions
(c) Ask decision makers to rate relative importance of information
(d) Engage external experts
(e) Assess needs of groups of decision makers and not individual decision
What are the steps in the proposed method of conducting
- Consider the following ratings for the need for information and indicate
which piece of information should be collected regularly by the computer and which
other pieces of information should be planned for but not collected right
||Purchase physician profiling system
|Contract with a
|Impact on cost
Impact on quality of care
Reputation of the firm
Sources of funds
Ratings of Need for Information Items
Do One Assignment: Assess Future Information Needs
Assess future information needs of a decision maker using the
procedures described in this section.
Identify a decision maker (could be a colleague in class). Collect data on
this person's information needs.
Identify at least 3 upcoming
decisions that the person faces roughly 6 months from now.
For each decision, identify
at least 4 pieces of information that will make a difference in the
Collate information items
that you have identified in general categories of information.
Ask your decision maker and
an external expert to rate the relative importance of information
items on a scale from 1 to 7.
Analyze data and recommend why certain information should be
included in a computerized system and other pieces of information should
Provide a written word document.
Make sure the following topics are included:
Title: The title should include title of your presentation
Decisions: List of decisions should provide the decisions the
person makes and their importance.
Methods & sources: This section should describe how needs were assessed and on what basis
decisions were made to include some information or exclude others.
Particular attention should be made to distinguishing between what
people want and what they need to be successful.
Results: This section should describe the information needs of
the person at a certain point in time (e.g. within the next 2
years). Be clear and concise.
provide your assessment of what went well and what needs improvement
in your method of need assessment. This is where you express your
opinion about the method and not about the specific findings of your
Here is the rubric the instructor uses for grading:
- What looked unusually well?
- Were the sections requested present? If there were
more or less than the expected slides were the slides
presented all necessary?
- Was the narration clear? Was the sound quality
- Were the graphics self-contained and informative.
Would one have understood the graphs and the bulleted
points, if the narration was not present?
- Was the use of color judicious and able to
highlight major points?
- What worked well?
- Did the project select an outside expert and focus on a
decision maker? Does it appear that the project was
realistic or an exercise for the sake of class only.
- Was the project focused on future decisions? Was
there a specific attempt to list future decisions?
- Did the project ask the expert and the decision maker to
rate the usefulness of the information on a scale? In
particular, was there a numerical rating of usefulness of
information item in a decision?
- Did the project assign 0 rating to items that were
relevant in one but not another decision? Decision
makers and experts do not mention irrelevant pieces of
information. Since different items are listed, some of
these are likely to be irrelevant in some decisions.
Many students forget to assign 0 to the piece of information
that is completely irrelevant to the decision.
- Did the project correctly analyze the mean and variance
(range) of the ratings? Many students make a mistake
of taking the mean across information items; the
correct approach is take the mean across decisions.
The goal is to find if the information item is needed
across many decisions. When the mean is high and the
range is small, then the information item has been rated as
high for all decisions.
- Did the project identify what is needed across decisions
and what is needed in some but not other decisions?
- Did the project provide introspections about the method
of needs assessment? Note that students are expected
to discuss the method of needs assessment and not the
particular results in this project.
See sample student work
(not necessarily the best work):
Brief lecture by Sarah Brallier Video►
For additional information
(not part of the required reading), please see the following
- Physician Quality Reporting System
- Survey tool
- Ken Rubin's lecture on real world EHR systems(31 minutes)
- Recent studies on assessing information needs
- Kartick Patel translates the lecture into Chichewa (Malawi's
This page is part of the course on
Information Systems. This page was edited
by Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D. ęCopyright protected.