• Article

Requirements development for a patient computing system

Critical parts of the software development life cycle are concerned with eliciting, understanding, and managing requirements. Though the literature on this subject dates back for several decades, practicing effective requirements development remains a current and challenging area. Some projects flourish with a requirements development process (RDP) that is implicit and informal, but this approach may be overly risky, particularly for large projects that involve multiple individuals, groups, and systems over time. At Partners HealthCare System in Boston, Massachusetts, we have applied a more formal approach for requirements development to the Patient Computing Project. The goal of the project is to create web-based software that connects patients electronically with their physician's offices and has the potential to improve care efficiency and quality. It is a large project, with over 500 function points. Like most technological innovation, the successful introduction of this system requires as much attention to understanding the business needs and workflow details as it does to technical design and implementation. This paper describes our RDP approach, and key business requirements discovered through this process. We believe that a formal RDP is essential, and that informatics as a field must include proficiencies in this area


Wald, J., Pedraza, L. A., Reilly, C. A., Murphy, M. E., & Kuperman, G. J. (2001). Requirements development for a patient computing system. Proceedings / AMIA Annual Symposium, 731-735.