Case Study

Case Study

Case Study

West Coast University Medical Center[1]


The West Coast University Medical Center is a large university teaching and research hospital with a national reputation for excellence in health care practice, education, and research.  Always seeking to sustain that reputation, the senior executive board at the Center decided to install a comprehensive medical diagnostic system.  The system would be linked to computer servers and be available to physicians via the computer network.  Because every physician’s office at the Center had a computer, doctors and staff could access the system from these offices as well as from their homes or private-practice offices.  By simply clicking icons to access a medicalspecialty area, then keying in answers to queries about a patient’s symptoms, medical history, and so on, a physician could get a list of diagnostics with associated statistics.


The senior executive board sent a questionnaire to managers in every department to determine the needs in their area and how they felt the system might improve doctor’s performances.  Most managers felt it would save the doctors’ time and improve performance.  The hospital computing and information systems group (CIS) was assigned to investigate the cost and feasibility of implementing the system.  CIS staff interviewed medical-center managers and software vendors specializing in diagnostic systems.  The study showed high enthusiasm among the respondents and a long list of potential benefits.  Based on the study report, the senior executive board approved the system.


The CIS manager contacted three well-known consulting firms that specialized in medical diagnostic systems and invited each to give a presentation.  Based on the presentations, the manager chose one firm to assist the CIS group in identifying, selecting, and integrating several software packages into a single, complete diagnostic system.


One year and several million dollars later the project was completed.  However, within a year of its completion it was clear that the system had failed.  Although it did everything promised, the few doctors that did access it complained that many of the system benefits were irrelevant and that certain key features were lacking.


[1]  Nicholas, John M., Project Management for Business and Engineering:  Principles and Practice, 2nd Ed., Elsevier

(2004), p. 117


Systems Engineering


Case Study Format

Due Date: Thursday, November 19(11:59 PM)



The case study should be in the following format:


In the top right corner, include:



Class name

Case Study – Title of Case



Problem Statement:

Summarize the case study and describe the primary problem you are trying to solve.  There may be multiple problems. When this occurs, you should identify all of the issues and explain how they relate to one another.  



Discuss any assumptions made in preparing your case study. Assumptions are made to help you clarify your problem or develop your alternatives.


Major Factors:

List the significant factors that influence the problem. The factors may be internal or external to the system.  Factors are major if their presence or absence made a direct contribution to the issue you are addressing.


Minor Factors:

List the minor factors that may have contributed to the problem. These factors may, again, be internal or external to the system.  Factors are minor if they contributed to the problem, but their presence or absence would not have directly caused the problem.



List your alternatives to address the problem you identify. Note that your recommendations should address the significant factors you determine and take into account the assumptions you made.



Review the alternatives you offered. Note the strengths and weaknesses of each.  Comment on how and to what degree they would address the major and minor factors.



State which of the alternatives (one, some, or none) you would recommend to implement.  



The key deliverable is the traceability of your work.