Requirements Engineering

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 1–22 | Cite as

Soft Information Systems and Technologies Methodology, SISTeM¢*: A case study on developing the electronic patient record

  • C. J. Atkinson
Research Article


This paper provides an introduction to the Soft Information Systems and Technologies Methodology (SISTeM©) in use. It describes its origins, its mode of use: Mode 1, the decision/learning cycle; mode 2, the design/action cycle. It also sets out the underpinning notion of the human/machine activity system on which the approach is based. The relationship between SISTeM© and requirements engineering is discussed and future developments considered.

The main bulk of the paper is a description of the use of SISTeM© in supporting the Programme Management Board of the NHS Executive aimed at a shared appreciation of what constitutes an Electronic Patient Record (EPR) within an acute hospital. This was used by the EPR Programme Board and Director as a basis for the negotiation of the project initiation document agreed with sites and their IS contractors. The designs that emerged have been used elsewhere in evaluating the programme and underpinning strategies within the health service. The case study provides details of each stage of each mode within SISTeM©, the techniques deployed, their outputs and two iterations around the approach. A discussion of the future use and development of SISTeM©, with reference to requirements engineering, concludes the paper.


Soft information systems and technologies methodology SISTeM© SISTeM© SSM Soft systems methodology Integrating organisational and informational change Requirements engineering Information requirements Electronic patient record Health care NHS Information systems Information technology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. J. Atkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Services Management, Health Services Management UnitUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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