Development of Web-Based Decision Support System for Business Process Reengineering in a Health-Care System *

Article excerpt


A web-based decision support system (DSS) can provide management with a strategic plan for business process reengineering (BPR) in a health-care system. An attempt is made to develop a DSS for designing, evaluating, and implementing a strategic plan for BPR. A model is developed and analyzed to simulate a real hospital setting. Goal criteria and priorities are identified and established. The model results are evaluated and discussions are made along with web application in order to enhance the model applicability. The model provides the management with valuable information for planning and controlling hospital e-commerce activities.


As the dynamics of the demanding marketplace and the requirement of competitive advantage have transformed, the need for decision support system (DSS) models for process reengineering in the health-care e-business system has been emphasized. Successful linkages of these planning processes play a critical role affecting business performance (Ackerman, Wall & Borman, 1999; Aldowaisan and Gaafar, 1999; Sheng, 2002; Short and Venkatraman, 1992; and Teng, Grover and Fiedler, 1996). Factors affecting business performance in a health-care e-business system are widely identified. Financial and non-financial factors should be considered together in the health-care decision process. The health-care e-business strategy needs to be based on compromise among the diverse stakeholders in the health-care system. Among DSS types, a model-driven DSS emphasizes access and control of a model that uses data and parameters provided by decision-makers to support them in analyzing a real-world e-business situation.

Due to the web technology and organizational paradigm shift, business operations in health-care e-business systems may become more tightly coupled with primary business processes such as admissions, capacity, financing, manpower, and revenue planning. Web technology can deliver unprecedented opportunities to reengineer the business processes in health-care systems. Web technology is considered an emerging area for DSS and an important tool for DSS development. Web technology can enrich model-driven DSS. Web-based DSS has the advantages of reducing current technological obstacles of computerized systems, because of better sharing in decision information, and making more efficient decisions with less cost for model implementation (Courtney, 2001; Rao & Turoff, 2000; and Shim et al., 2002).

Strategic business process reengineering (BPR) in a health-care environment is a growing requirement for improving profitability and productivity. Subjective decision-making processes can be very critical in the multiple and complicated problems with trade-off relationships. When management considers several conflicting goals to achieve, a DSS model enables effective results in business processes and other operational environments in health-care e-business system (Sarker & Lee, 1999; and Stoddard & Jarvenpaa, 1995). However, previous DSS studies have rarely explored to develop an integrated model based DSS dealing with comprehensive core functions in health-care e-business system. Thus, an appropriate model development is essential to create a long-term opportunity for BPR in a health-care e-business system.

The purposes of this paper are (1) to develop a DSS model that aims at designing, evaluating, and implementing a strategic plan for BPR in a health-care system, and (2) to provide management with an insight on a web-enabled DSS model that can enhance business performance and refine operational strategy in health-care e-business activities.

Section 2 reviews a brief literature of decision support systems and business process reengineering. Section 3 presents a problem background with data modeling and goal decomposition. Section 4 presents model development dealing with decision variables, constraints and model formulation. …