So you’re looking at the exams and seeing a total of six questions! Whoa!

Please remember, this is a graduate exam. All answers should be written to a graduate level. This means that, where it fits, I’m looking for you to

  1. Address the question
  2. Identify the drivers
  3. Link those drivers to the case
  4. Make recommendations

Question 1.

So, looking at the first question, it doesn’t fit – write an honor statement. What does that mean? Well, I’m really only looking for you to write a paragraph or two highlighting how you’re not going to cheat, how this is an original work, etc, etc. It doesn’t need to be a work of Shakespear to get full credit, but you need to let me know that you’re playing by the rules. In the past, some students have given personal antecdotes or short stories about how being a good student, a person of integrity, or following an honor code is important to them; or lessons that they have learned about integrity. In any case, I’m expecting a paragraph.

Question 2.

Looking at the second question, finding assumptions, it’s a little more detailed.

Each assumption should be reasonable – i.e. make an assumption about something – Will Polly have enough campaign donations to perform all activities? Won’t she? What about her ability to hire and staff workers? What about these workers? What about her ability to appeal to the entirety of her district? Etc.

Any assumption that is entirely generic (i.e. she doesn’t have unlimited resources) will result in a 3 point deduction (30%) of the response. Assumptions should be linked to the case and linked to the contextual drivers of the case. Not generic. If you’re concerned about her resources, where do these resources come from? How will she aquire them? How do the details of the case impact the assumption?

Furthermore, assumptions should draw back on theoretical models here (5 Forces, Value Chain, SWOT, etc…) to identify different constructs and contexts that may or may not impact subsequent responses. Any assumption that isn’t linked to an appropriate identified construct will result in a 3 point deduction (15%).

Assumptions that link to constructs from models or theories should identify and reference those models and/or theories. Any assumption that isn’t linked to an appropriate reference will result in a 3 point deduction (30%) of the response.

And each assumption SHOULD be linked to a subsequent question. This is why I’d do these assumptions last. If your assumptions do not link to subsequent questions 5 points (50%) will be deducted. Assumptions should add something to those questions.

Furthermore, assumptions

Questions 3-5.

These questions are pretty similiar and have a similar format.

First, you need to define the function the question is asking for (management, organization, and technology). Definitions should be from an academic source beyond the text for full credit. I.E. find a definitive, academic, business reference to ground the definition.

If you decide to use the text, 3 points, or 15% of the response will be deducted. Graduate students should go beyond the textbook – especially for a take home exam that is not timed.

If you decide to use a dictionary for the definition, 10 points, or 50% of the response will be deducted. Anyone can use a dictionary. Graduate students are expected to be familiar enough with domain specific literature to NEVER need to use layperson definitions.

Once defined, each element of the definition should be addressed within the context of the case. Then, those issues that are identified as a critical issue should be grounded in the case. For example, if Management had dimensions of A, B, C, & D I would expect to see each issue addressed, and whichever issues identified as critical identified as such. I.E. tell me it is critical or not.

These dimensions should be grounded in the case. Tell me something from the case that links those ideas to the definition. Failing to link these ideas to elements of the case will result in deductions of up to 10 points.

Do not provide recommendations here. There is an entire question at the end of the exam for that! If your response provides recommendations here, 10 points (50%) will be deducted for not following directions. Graduate students should follow directions, right?

Question 6.

Here is where recommendations should link to critical issues identified in the management, organizational, and technological questions. All critical issues identified should be addressed. Incomplete identification and recommendations for critical issues may result in up to 10 points (50%) being deducted from the response.

Recommendations need to be actionable. “Hire staff” is not an actionable item. It is more of a suggestion, a general idea. Kind of like “you should go on vacation!” Where? When? How much will it cost? What were the alternatives? Why did you choose this one?

Instead, think in specific terms that flesh out the response. For example, instead of “Hire staff” the client should “Immediately place ads in the following job sites: Indeed and Zip recruiter. Why? Because these sites have strong presences in the client’s location. What were the alternatives? Why were these chosen? These will be questions that will be expected to be answered. Recommendations that do not ‘flesh out’ responses with the details of alternatives and justifications for the recommendations made may be penalized up to 10 points (50%) for this response.

All recommendations should be grounded in a reference. As stated below, references should be made in APA format. Not using APA references and formatting will result in 5 points (25%) being deducted from this response.

Finally all recommendations should link back to the case. Recommendations made that do not have clear ties to the case may be penalized up to 10 points (50%) for this response.

Case: Healthy Texan Medical Clinic

The Healthy Texan Medical Clinic in Middleberg, Texas has hired your company to consult on a major upgrade to its information systems used in its clinic. The clinic consists of 22 doctors working in general practice and specialty medicine. The clinic supports over 10,000 patients in the Middleburg area.  The clinic’s last systems upgrade occurred in 2002 and consists of outdated equipment and has limited networking and integration abilities.

The doctors and administration have hired you to study their practice and make recommendations on how they can improve their efficiency and effectiveness.  The main areas of functionality include:

Diagnostic: Doctors want their systems to integrate with medical systems that will help them improve patient diagnosis.  This may include easy access to specialized databases such as PDR (Physician Desk Reference) and other resources specific to their area of study. The doctors must have access to a patient’s complete medical record and they need software to increase their efficiency in charting.  Charting is the process of recording the interaction between the patient and the doctor, as well as recording any diagnosis, recommended treatment, lab work, or referral.

In addition to internal documentation, the doctors would like easy ways to distribute electronic information to their patients about their diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.  Finally, doctors would like to be more mobile and interactive with their patients instead of tied to the PC in the examination room. The doctors recommend the use of mobile devices to use when moving from exam room to exam room.

Medical Records:  The clinic needs a sophisticated records system that stores a multitude of information about its patients.  In addition to the medical history of a patient, each visit, diagnosis, and treatment must be documented, insurance information must be stored, and payment information must be maintained.  The records system must be secure and meet all requirements of local, state, and federal privacy and security laws. The system must be able to securely transmit medical records to other users outside of the clinic, including other doctors that patients may be referred to, insurance companies, and any other authorized users of the patient’s medical information.  In addition to this, the clinic is interested in implementing a resource for its patients to allow the patient to view information about their medical history, current diagnosis, and instructions for their treatment plan(s).

Because the clinic has moved to digital imaging for many diagnostic tools in imaging (mammograms, CT scans, etc.), patients’ records are dramatically increasing in storage requirements and the system must be able to handle all current patients’ records for some time to come.  In addition to current patient records, the system must also maintain former patient medical records as required by law.

Scheduling and Billing:  The system must be able to handle the scheduling of all patient appointments with doctors, lab work, and other diagnostic treatment such as imaging and physical therapy.  In addition to scheduling, the system will handle all of the financial transactions of the clinic. This includes, but is not limited to, patient billing, insurance claims, collections, purchasing, and inventory control.  The clinic is interested in improving the efficiency of its business staff and would be interested in systems that could maintain and order supplies automatically and could interact with other systems to decrease the amount of paperwork needed for processing of purchasing and insurance claims.

Additional Processes: The information in the clinic’s database is integral to the clinic’s business as well as the health of its patients.  The clinic needs your company to review current processes and recommend a plan that ensures the quality and safety of its databases.  The clinic’s current backup plan will need to be adapted to the new system installation and the clinic’s disaster recovery plan is out of date and has not been thoroughly reviewed in the past five years.

Dr. Alex Who, the managing partner of the clinic, will be the contact for the initial stages of this project.  To begin the process, Dr. Who has been working with her internal IT department (7 personnel who mostly maintain workstations and servers) to prepare the clinic for the systems upgrade. On a day to day basis, the IT department reports to the senior managing partner, Dr. Bobby Oops, who founded the clinic. Dr. Who is the newest Managing Partner with the Clinic, and is serving as the contact with the consulting team because of her experience leading a system upgrade at another clinic in 2010.

The IT Director and Assistant IT Director were with the Clinic when the systems were upgraded in 2002. Since the last upgrade, they have been responsible for all maintenance patches and customizations (e.g., they  recently added an Ebola risk flag to the medical records system) to the current systems. Both the Director and Assistant Director understand the need to upgrade the systems at “some point in time”. However, they are both near retirement, and have recommended to Dr. Oops that the system upgrades should be delayed until they retire in 2018. The remaining employees in the IT department have very limited knowledge of the inner workings of the current systems.

Dr. Who has the following questions for members of your consulting team.

  1. Here, you should write a paragraph about how this is an original work; that you have not violated the honor code in any way. Tell me how it is appropriate to trust you, that your instructor is not a sucker for doing so, and how you believe in truth, honor, or some kind of value beyond ‘whatever it takes’…because ‘whatever it takes’ includes a lot of nasty things. (10 points)


  1. In addition to the information provided in the case, what additional information systems-related “reasonable” assumptions are you making related to Ms. Dogooder’s campaign? Note: “Reasonable” assumptions do not include that the organization has unlimited amounts of resources (e.g., money or personnel). To which specific question or questions (2 through 5 below) does each assumption pertain? Why are you making these assumptions? How do these assumptions add to the subsequent answers? (10 points)


  1. Define what management means in the context of inforamation systems. Based upon this definition, what are the most critical information systems-related management issues facing Ms. Dogooder’s campaign? Why? (20 points)


  1. Define what organization means in the context of information systems. Based upon this definition, what are the most critical information systems-related organizational issues facing Ms. Dogooder’s campaign? Why? (20 points)


  1. Define what technology means in the context of information systems. Based upon this definition, what are the most critical information systems-related technology issues facing Ms. Dogooder’s campaign? Why? (20 points)


  1. Based on the issues outlined in items 2, 3, and 4, what specific recommendations do you have for Ms. Dogooder to address the most critical information systems related issues? If you identified one or more issues in questions 2-5, what do you think I’m going to expect? Make sure that you identify SPECIFIC, ACTIONABLE items. (20 points)


NOTE: Make sure to cite all references used within this section. In addition, provide a complete list of references at the end of this section for all sources that you cite in support of your answers for Part II.  Your citations and references need to follow APA format.

NOTE: Bold your answer (the contrast makes it easier to read).

NOTE: Be sure to reference “credible” electronic resources to support your responses and cite accordingly. Wikipedia may be used but should not be used without other sufficient supporting resources.

NOTE: Academic dishonesty on any section of the exam will result in automatically failing the entire exam.

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