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APA … What Students need to know

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May 10th, 2012 at 8:44 am

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Web 2.0

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Web 2.0 is the term given to describe a second generation of the World Wide Web that is focused on the ability for people to collaborate and share information online. Web 2.0 refers to websites and applications that facilitate participatory information sharing,  interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web.

A Web 2.0 site allows users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue in contrast to websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of content that was created for them.

Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites such as Facebook, blogs like this site, wikis, and video sharing sites such as YouTube.

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February 13th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

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Information System

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An information system (IS) is defined as the organized combination of people, hardware, software, communication networks, and data resources that collects, stores, processes, transforms, displays, transmits disseminates and disposes information in accordance with defined procedures.

  • Disposition: the act or means of getting rid of something.
  • Dissemination: the distribution of information broadly.
  • Processing: the manipulation of data in accordance with established instructions, manually or by computer. Processing by computer is the manipulation of data in accordance with its instructions, or programming.
  • Transmission: the process of sending information from one point to another.

An IS may be automated (e.g., a computerized information system) or manual (e.g., a library’s card catalog).

Any IS is made of 6 components: hardware, software, data/database, network, policies and procedures and people.

An Information System (IS) consists of six components, namely:

  1. Humans, which consists of IT specialists (such as a Database Administrator or Network Engineer) and end-users (such as doctors, nurses, etc…).
  2. Hardware, which consists of all the physical aspects of an information system, ranging from peripherals to computer parts and servers.
  3. Software, which consists of System Software, Application Software and Utility Software.
  4. Networks, which consists of communication media and network support.
  5. Data, which consists of all the knowledge and databases in the IS.
  6. Policies and procedures that governs the utilization, use and management of the information system.


  1. What is Information Systems? (1:38)
  2. Information Systems (0:59)
  3. Healthcare Information Systems (4:43)

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January 31st, 2012 at 10:15 am

Systems Theory

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The world we live in is a complex system composed of subsystems that interact among each other with each having clearly defined boundaries and coherent dynamics. Systems theory was developed by biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy in the 1930s to simplify world complexity to human mind and make it more understandable (von Bertalanffy, 1962). The development of the theory came as a result of the author’s perceived need for a theory to guide research in multiple fields. His theory helped to provide a common framework that created shared and common language that scientists from different disciplines can use to communicate their findings. Simply put, systems theory is used to understand how things around us work.

Systems theory looks at the world as a system composed of smaller subsystems. Systems as a representation of life phenomena are used by humanity in every day life to describe the functioning of these phenomena. For example, a hospital is a system with inputs, processes and outputs. The hospital itself is a component of a larger system, health care system. The health care system, banking system, educational system, judicial system and other systems comprise the socio-economic-political system within which we live.

Significance of Systems Theory to Health Care Management
Systems theory can be used to clearly and concisely understand health care structures, processes and outcomes processes and their interactions within a health care system. Systems theory can be used as a framework to describe the components of systems and the relationships between these components, the boundaries of the system, the goals of the system, and system’s ability to change and adapt in response to internal and external forces. Systems theory and thinking can help us understand how health care organizations and systems behave and it allows us to clearly assess, visualize, analyze and understand the structure, processes, and feedback loops that make up the organization. This correct and clear understanding of the organization as a system is a necessity to be able to manage organizations effectively and efficiently and to achieve organization’s goals.

System Definition
A system is a collection of independent but interrelated elements or components organized in a meaningful way to accomplish an overall goal. The function of any system is to convert or process materials, energy, and/or information (inputs) into a product or outcome for use within the system, or outside of the system (the environment) or both.

Definition of Key Terms

Inputs include raw material, energy and resources processed to produce the outputs of the organization. Examples include information, money, nurses’ effort, physician’s time, fuel, energy, time, individual effort, & any raw material of some kind.

Elements or components are the things, parts, or substances that make up the system. These parts may be humans, material, equipment, etc. Elements have attributes or characteristics that can be measured or described such as size, color, volume, quantity, temperature, and mass.
Throughput is the processes used by the system to convert raw materials or energy (inputs) from the environment into products or services that are usable by either the system itself or the environment. Examples include, thinking, physical examination of patients, diagnosing, planning, decision-making, writing prescription, taking vital signs, operating on a patient, constructing, sorting, making a speech, sharing information, meeting in groups, discussing, melting, shaping, hammering, etc.

Output is the product or service which results from the system’s throughput or processing of technical, social, financial & human input. Examples include health services, better health, software programs, documents, decisions, laws, rules, money, assistance, cars, clothing, bills, etc.
Feedback is information about some aspect of data or energy processing that can be used to evaluate & monitor the system & to guide it to more effective performance. How many patients were are seen in 2 hours clinic? How man medical errors were committed in a hospital? Why were mistakes made? HealthCareReportCard.com is an example of how hospitals are doing with certain diagnoses. Hospital accreditation reports are an example as are patient satisfaction surveys, sales reports, and test results.

Subsystem is a system which is a part of a larger system. They can work parallel to each other or in a series with each other. Information system is an example of a subsystem in a hospital. Medical staff as an organization is a subsystem of the hospital.

Dynamic system is any system that continuously influences and changes its environment and is being influenced and changed by its environment. Dynamic systems are usually composed of components that are structured and interrelated in such a way that a change in one component necessarily affects other components of the system. A hospital in Amman is an example of a dynamic system where it influences and changes its environment (health, quality of life) and is being influenced by its environment (restructuring to provide new needed services). On the other hand, a static system is defined as any system that does not change over time in relation to environment. To survive, systems are better off being dynamic rather than static. Evidence based practice in health care is an example of how health care services are dynamic and not static.

Open system is defined as a system that interact with its environment exchanging raw materials and energy for services and/or goods produced by the system. Health care facilities, hospitals, families, humans, cardiovascular system, banks, etc are examples of open systems. A hospital produces health services through practice, health care professionals through training and knowledge through research. In return it receives money, raw materials, appreciation, and energy from its environment.

Any system must have a goal. The goal is the overall purpose for existence of the system. Examples include; treating patients, to educate student nurses, to produce knowledge, to manufacture candy, to make coffee, and so on.

System Characteristics
Most systems have the following common characteristics:

  • All systems have common elements. These are input, throughput or process, output, feedback, control, environment, and goal.
  • Systems have varying degrees of complexity.
  • The organized components of a system comprise a unified whole that is greater than the sum of its components.
  • To be viable and successful, a system must be goal-directed, able to adapt to changing environment, technology and circumstances, and be governed by feedback and must value continuous leaning and development, creativity and innovation. And to survive, a system must save some of its output to maintain itself.
  • The structure of systems is defined by its components (parts) and processes.
  • Various system components have functional and structural relationships between each other and are organized in a way to accomplish a specific function or set of functions.
  • Systems exchange material, information and/or energy beyond its boundary with other systems, through input and output processes.
  • To be part of the system any element must have a relationship with at least one element of the system. Any element which has no relationship with any other element of the system cannot be a part of that system.

Organization as a System
Human social groups (organizations) exist and interact to produce, consume and exchange goods and services. It is helpful for understanding to think of organizations as systems. A system is an organized collection of independent but interrelated elements or components to accomplish an overall goal. Simply put, an organization as a system has various inputs that are processed to produce outputs. A continuous feedback between the different components of the system ensures that the system is accomplishing the goals of the organization (system). A system can be the entire organization, or any of its departments, groups, or processes.

Organizations (systems) have inputs, processes and outputs. Inputs include resources such as human resources, equipment, computers, raw materials, money, technologies and information. Inputs are processed to produce the outputs of the organization. Outputs are the results of the processes of the organization. Outputs can be goods or services. Examples of goods are food, clothes, equipment and cars. Organizations produce services such as transportation services, education, and health care. Health care industry produces services such as providing health care, protecting against communicable diseases, and providing food services in hospitals. Feedback comes from multiple sources; from the managers, workers who perform processes, customers who use system services, newspapers and political leaders.

Organizations are composed of numerous subsystems, as well. Complexity of an organization is determined in part by the number of subsystems it has. Each subsystem has its own boundaries, inputs, processes and outputs with an overall goal for the subsystem. Common examples of subsystems are departments, units, projects, teams, or processes.

Organizations are defined by their mission, strategic plan, goals, policies and procedures, organizational charts, job descriptions and legal documents. Feedback within the organizational systems is maintained or controlled by its legal documents, policies and procedures, budgets and quality management programs. These managerial documents provide the standards and benchmarks for evaluating and improving organization’s and individual’s performance.

Hospital as a System
Systems theory concepts and principles can been applied to understand and explain hospitals and their operation. A hospital is defined as “any medical facility with an organized medical and professional staff and beds available for continuous hospitalization of patients formally admitted to it for medical observation, care, diagnosis, or surgical and non-surgical treatment” (Pan American Health Organization, 2004). Another definition is that a hospital is “an institution which provides beds, meals, and constant nursing care for its patients while they undergo medical therapy at the hands of professional physicians. In carrying out these services, the hospital is striving to restore its patients to health” (Miller 1997).

Hospitals are open systems that interact with the environment to complete necessary trades for survival of the system, growth, and fulfillment of systems’ goal. A hospital is a subsystem that exists within a hierarchy of other systems. King Abdullah University Hospital is a subsystem of the Jordanian health care system. Additionally, Hospitals are complex systems, since they contain large number of subsystems such as the radiology department, nursing services, housekeeping, food services, laundry, laboratory department and so. Each of these subsystems can be looked at as a system of its own.

Hospital systems consist of a pattern of organized relations where different components of the system are related to each other in a particular way. Organizational structures and charts constitute a graphical representation of these relationships. Hospital bylaws, rules, policies and procedures regulate these relationships.

Hospitals are subsystems of overall health care system of a nation. For example, hospitals in Amman are considered to be subsystems of the health care system in Jordan which is defined as the aggregate of all health care authorities and organizations that provide, finance, or monitor the provision of health care services to the inhabitants or visitors of Jordan and include hospitals, individual practitioners, health care centers, insurers, and other entities.

Information System: Another Example
An “information system” is defined as the organized combination of people, hardware, software, communication networks, and data resources that collects, stores, processes, transforms, displays, transmits disseminates and disposes information in accordance with defined procedures. An information system may be automated (e.g., a computerized information system) or manual (e.g., a library’s card catalog). Other examples of systems are health care system, hospital, and university.


  1. Pan American Health Organization, Health Analysis and Information Systems Area. Regional Core Health Data Initiative; Indicators Glossary. Washington DC, 2004.
  2. Miller, T.S. (1997) The Birth of the Hospital in the Byzantine Empire. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  3. von Bertalanffy, Ludwig. General System Theory – A Critical Review. General Systems 1962; VII: 1-20.

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January 21st, 2012 at 7:09 am


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A system is an organized group of independent but interrelated elements or components comprising a whole with each element related to other elements.

  • A collection or a group of independent but interrelated components or elements organized to accomplish a specific function or set of functions. The organized components comprise a unified whole.
  • Any component that has no relationship with any other component of the system, cannot be a part of that system.
    The components of a system interface in order to facilitate the ‘flow’ of information, matter or energy.
  • A collection of component ideas, processes or objects which has an input and an output.


  1. System thinking: Introduction (2:11)
  2. What is Systems Thinking? (2:20)
  3. Systems thinking is a way of appreciating complex social problems (1:59)
  4. A  day in the life of Sydney Children’s Hospital (8:59)
  5. Complex adaptive systems (1:01)
  6. Complex Adaptive System Theory by a nurse manager (4:47)
  7. A Day in the Life of a  Beth Israel Hospital in Boston (hospital is a system) (10:59)

See Also:

  1. Systems Theory


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January 21st, 2012 at 7:01 am

Supply Chain Management Software

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A Supply Chain Management Software (SCMS), is a specialized electronic information System for requisitioning, procurement, receipt, handling, distribution, and charge capture of supply and asset inventory control.

Key Features of Supply Chain Management Software:

  • Order Management
    SCMS can dramatically accelerate the execution of the entire order-to-delivery cycle by helping hospitals to more productively generate and track sales orders.
  • Dynamic Scheduling of Deliveries
    SCMS enables the dynamic scheduling of supplier deliveries to more effectively meet demand.
  • Purchasing and Procurement
    SCMS can fully automate and streamline all activities and tasks associated with  sourcing, purchasing, and payables.
  • Inventory Management
    SCMS can improve the way organizations track and manage their supplies of raw materials and components needed for providing health services.
  • Forecasting and Planning
    With a supply chain software, hospitals can more accurately anticipate demand, and plan their procurement accordingly. As a result, they can avoid unnecessary purchases of supplies, eliminate service over-runs, and prevent the need to store excess supplies in stores.
  • EDI for Supply Chain Management
    SCMS throguh Electronic Data Interchange allows organization link to its trading partners to electronically send transactions such as purchase orders, price/catalogs and invoices electronically.
  • RFID and Barcoding
    SCMS integrates RFID and Barcoding technologies in their operations.
  • User-Defined Cost Centers
    SCMS allows users to define cost centers as per facilities policies.
  • Accountablity and Tracking
    SCMS allows to track movement, and receipt of supplies and equipment and helps answers for the “who, what, when, and where” associated with the receipt, movement and consumption of each supply item.
  • Accurate Capture of Data and Cost Information
    Scanning technology used by SCMS facilitates ease of data capture while ensuring accuracy and point-of-care charge capture.
  • Surgical Instrument Management
    SCM helps hospitals gain greater visibility and control of surgical instruments, enabling hospitals to reduce costs through optimized instrument inventory levels, improved instrument utilization rates and increased productivity of staff assembling surgical trays. This will help hospital bottom line and enhance customer satisfaction by reducing the number of delayed or cancelled surgeries.
  • Efficient ordering
    Allows for more efficient ordering of supplies based on a more accurate overall picture of available inventories
  • Waiting time
    Helps to reduce wait time for supplies
  • Mobility
    SCMS allows for using a variety of delivery mediums (Desktop, PDAs, Web-based, and hard copy).
  • Return Management
    SCMS can simplify and accelerate the inspection and handling of defective, near expiry or expired supplies.
  • Contract Management
    SCMS helps organizations manage the creation of supplies purchasing contracts.
  • Management Reporting & Notification
    SCMS allows for vendor and contract compliance reporting; ad-hoc reporting; automated notifications. Reporting includes receiving reports, consumption reports, cost center reporting, and damage/return item reporting


Distinguishing between data, information and knowledge

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June 16th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

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University of Iowa View on Informatics

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June 16th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Basic Introduction to Informatics

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June 16th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Healthcare Information Systems

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April 8th, 2011 at 3:07 am

World Wide Web in Plain English

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April 6th, 2011 at 10:39 am

Why Use Blade Server Systems? .. Video

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April 6th, 2011 at 10:25 am

Blade Server .. Video

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April 6th, 2011 at 10:23 am

What is a Host Server? A Video

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April 6th, 2011 at 10:17 am

What is a server?

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April 6th, 2011 at 10:14 am


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In information systems, a server is any combination of hardware or software designed to provide services to clients. When used alone, the term typically refers to a computer which may be running a server operating system, but is also used to refer to any software or dedicated hardware capable of providing services.

  • A computer that delivers information and software to other computers linked by a network.
  • A computer designated for supplying information in many forms, so that other computers can use it. Common servers are Web servers, proxy servers , mail servers, and file servers.
  • A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running.

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April 6th, 2011 at 10:11 am

Blade Server

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A blade server is a compact computer server (a tightly compressed computer processing unit). The blades are designed to work with the rack, as they do not have their own power, cooling or protective covers.

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April 5th, 2011 at 3:07 am


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Authentication is the procedure of determining whether someone is, in fact, who he/she declares to be. Authentication is generally required to access secure data or enter a secure area.

  • In information systems, user Authentication refers to the process of determining user’s identity as well as determining what a user is authorized to access {Who and What}.
  • Authentication typically involves the use of a user name and password; certificate, PIN, digital signature and other information that can be used to validate the identity over a network.
  • User authentication ensures that the right information gets to the right person.
  • Example: Hospital admission clerk accesses the information system using her username and password, which allows her access to the admission module of the system, but not other parts of the system.

وبالعربية الإستيقان أو التوثق من الشخصية وهي عملية التوثق من شخصية المستخدم الذي يسعى للوصول إلى بيانات ومعلومات محمية. وتحدد عملية التوثق الشخصية ومستوى الإطلاع (النفاذية) والصلاحيات المسموح بها لهذا الشخص

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April 5th, 2011 at 2:59 am