Monday, December 20, 2004

Job descriptions as a window into deficient IT strategy

I will periodically post job descriptions showing how business IT thinking applied to clinical or biomedical research computing environments is as appropriate as the tools of psychiatry applied to treat brain tumors, or neurosurgery used to treat neurosis. (Both are medicine, and both are concerned with the same body part - the brain - but....)

Below is an example of why biomedical research is likely more costly and less productive than it should be. IT support staff with bachelor's degrees are busy supporting visions, following "business process", developing "information architectures" (whatever they are) ... instead of supporting real clinicians and scientists on a peer-to-peer level (which would require more than bachelor's degrees), focusing on results, and communicating in language that their 'customers' can understand.

What follows is an actual job description from a biomedical research setting:

    Director of Research Information Architecture

    Job Description: The Director of Research Information Architecture reports into the Senior Director of Research Shared Technologies and Services. In this role, the Director leads a team of architects to define and communicate the vision for information, technical and solutions architectures within the organization. Working with the Enterprise Architects and functionally-aligned IS groups, the Director will define and implement processes, products, and services that support the agreed vision. This includes compliance and metrics processes, strategic divisional capabilities, new technology evaluation and introduction processes, and the definition and implementation of new shared services. As part of these deliverables, clear business value must be demonstrated through the use of business cases and results reporting.

    Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), and at least 10 years of relevant work experience with a demonstrated record of leadership, knowledge across a number of technology areas, and a business focus. Ability to define, communicate, and obtain agreement, both within the IS groups as well as the business areas, on strategic architectures and processes. Strong skills in business process, information, technology and solution architectures.

As a Medical Informatics specialist, I have little idea what terms such as "information, technical and solutions architectures", "strategic divisional capabilities", and "strategic architectures and processes" mean. Ontologies, vendors, and software apps, perhaps? Armor on humvees? Who knows? Yet, these are the job descrptions of people whom clinicians will depend on to select, implement and manage the clinical IT that medical care provision and medical research is becoming increasingly dependent upon.

By the way, what is a "Bachelor's Degree equivalent?" Do such terms get used when referring to medical training and degrees?

-- SS

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