Purpose – This paper aims to show that identification of expectations and software functional requirements via consultation with potential users is an integral component of the development of an emergency department patient admissions prediction tool. Design/methodology/approach – Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with 14 key health staff delivered rich data regarding existing practice and future needs. Participants included emergency department staff, bed managers, nurse unit managers, directors of nursing, and personnel from health administration. Findings – Participants contributed contextual insights on the current system of admissions, revealing a culture of crisis, imbued with misplayed communication. Their expectations and requirements of a potential predictive tool provided strategic data that moderated the development of the Emergency Department Patient Admissions Prediction Tool, based on their insistence that it feature availability, reliability and relevance. In order to deliver these stipulations, participants stressed that it should be incorporated, validated, defined and timely. Research limitations/implications – Participants were envisaging a concept and use of a tool that was somewhat hypothetical. However, further research will evaluate the tool in practice. Practical implications – Participants’ unsolicited recommendations regarding implementation will not only inform a subsequent phase of the tool evaluation, but are eminently applicable to any process of implementation in a healthcare setting. Originality/value – The consultative process engaged clinicians and the paper delivers an insider view of an overburdened system, rather than an outsider’s observations.
Journal of Health, Organisation and Management / Vol. 24, No. 3, pp.306-318