Automating Healthcare
Solving business problems with savvy automation

Organizational Buckets

Business problem
Obtaining accurate, updated data about the organization’s structure and management responsibilities.

Defining the buckets
Whether posting a new position with HR or requesting a new computer from IT or reporting profitability, everything in the organization is broken down into departments, and further divided into account codes. Departments, of course, are usually grouped into service lines, with a management hierarchy for each service line.

To design any automated process, one must

  • understand the organizational structure, and
  • have real-time data about the structure.

How to get the data? Pull it from the financial system. At the very least, the department/account structure — and with luck, the management hierarchy — can be extracted with an automated feed to a database.

When building the infrastructure for our intranet, this was one of our first steps. Having a “good-enough” management hierarchy for all parts of the organization was a prerequisite for automating anything that required a manager’s approval — and that’s just about everything!

Connecting the dots
Managers change constantly, and reorganizations occur regularly. Throw in grant-funded research, and even departments may change during a fiscal year. When a new executive takes over a service line, everything needs to be updated promptly. To keep up to date, we pull fresh data for departments and managers (at all levels) from the financial system every few hours.

Just pulling names of managers from the financial system won’t always get the job done, though. The financial system may store the names as text, with no solid link to the person’s identity in the network directory (such as Active Directory). In our case, because both financial and payroll were handled by the same system (Meditech), we were able to link the managers’ names to their employeeID. This gave us a solid link to their identity in the network directory, through another table (System access - who has what?).

Of course, financial systems often have everything in ALL CAPS, abbreviated by someone in finance to fit the available space. They can be a bit cryptic. For example, “MTPN AMBULATORY V.O.V.” isn’t nearly as understandable as “Mattapan Ambulatory Victims of Violence.” We created a “friendly name,” in proper case, for each department.

Lessons learned

  • Connect with the finance staff who configure the department and account structure in the financial system, and ensure that they understand how the intranet will use this information. Otherwise, finance might change their process without understanding that their changes have impacts beyond the financial system.
  • Learn the guidelines used by the finance staff when configuring departments and the management hierarchy, to ensure that the data are used correctly in any automated processes on the intranet.

Posted 16 March 2008


Custom Applications
ADT Event Alerts
Clinical Operations

Integrated Clerkship

On-call Schedules
People Profiles
Chronic Disease

Security Badge Requests
Charge Capture
Mental Health Treatment
      Plan Tracking

Earned Time Calculator

Supervisory Tree
E-mail Distribution Lists
User Access Requests
HR Requests
Employee Health &

Interpreter Dispatching
Generic Patient Registry
Conference Room

Tuition Reimbursement
Equipment Rental
Code Cart Tracking
Nursing Audits

Show me the data
Growing a Data

Building a Data Portal
Reporting on Full Auto

Intranet Design
Driving With Databases
Speeding with Static

Transparent Security
      and Permissions

Redesigning the

Who works here?
Organizational buckets
System access: Who
      has what?

System access: Use
      it or lose it

Integrating Security

Integrating Provider

Creating A Supervisory

Data Quality Dashboard


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