In recent years, with the rapid changes and expansion in the medical industry, most medical institutions response with the decision of establishing new hospital branches to serve more people while maintaining the same expense level of patients. The chosen sites for branches are often close one another, and they generally serve the same population of patients. Patients are often territorial and loyal to physicians, and choose the nearby hospital for convenience. Consequently, information integration of multiple hospital branches becomes necessary. Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan, has devoted for years to the integration of the interoperability of electronic medical records and medical institutions; however, the plan of interconnection progresses slowly and is unable to meet the urgent demand of information system integration of cross hospitals. Thus, hospitals can only work out their information integration either through self-development or outsourcing.
The case under study is a regional hospital in Taipei, which is building a new hospital branch in the neighborhood of its current location. Before launching its information system integration plan, the hospital has to determine the system architecture of the integrated information system. The information system architectures of other hospitals are considered as good references to the case hospital; however, it is also noted that the decision made by other hospitals are often based on financial figures solely and sometimes even based on intuitive judgment. Moreover, such decision making process is often the internal confidential documents of hospitals and is not likely to acquire. Due to the limited literature of the decision making process of information integration of cross hospitals, this study aims to formulate a systematic process to assist the case hospital in selecting the best system architecture for cross hospital information integration.
In this study, the UNISON Framework Decision Analysis is adopted as the framework to develop the decision making process of the information system integration of cross hospitals. In which, multi-criteria decision making is used as a strategy formulation tool. Interviews and questionnaire survey are conducted to decision-makers of the case hospitals. The results are used in Analytic Hierarchical Process and The Simple Multi-attribute Ration Technique to determine criteria and their weights and to know decision-makers’ preferences. The best alternative is selected according to this decision-making process.