Consistency is key to a thriving health care IT environment. Organizations must have accurate, up-to-date documentation and information concerning their software and hardware. Health care IT configuration management (CM) is a collection of tools and processes that track changes and promote consistency. It occurs throughout the life cycle of hardware and software to meet health care organizations’ ever-changing technology demands.
What Is Configuration Management?
The U.S. Department of Defense is credited with the development of configuration management, the process of maintaining technological systems in the desired state. Configuration management also ensures systems continue to perform in a way that aligns with expectations.
Organizations can use configuration management to determine which systems need updates, reconfiguration or patches. CM starts with determining your mission’s IT needs and continues until a product is retired or a project is completed.
Configuration Management Terms
It’s important to define and understand several terms connected to configuration management:
- Configuration: A configuration is a collection of elements, such as software and hardware programs, and a description of how they work together.
- Software configuration item: A software configuration item is a collection of elements treated as a single unit.
- Baseline: The baseline is a software configuration item that’s undergone formal review and served as the base for additional development.
The Importance of Configuration Management
Technology is ever-advancing and used in practically every industry, particularly health care. Organizations need to configure their technology to ensure their systems work. If a health care organization’s file network or servers go down, the outage can lead to major disruptions in patient care.
Configuration Management Implementation
Multiple steps are involved in the implementation of a configuration management system, including:
- Establish a framework and policy: During this step, you should assign a configuration management process owner and create a CM and Service Asset policy.
- Define roles and responsibilities: Next, decide who will do what and what each individual’s role will be, including the configuration owner, database developer, administrator and manager.
- Determine primary use: Choose your goal for CM and identify how the system will support all of IT across its life cycle.
- Identify records: Determine which records the system needs to provide the best support for your CM plan.
- Inventory repositories and current tools: Set priorities for your data repositories and determine the work needed to gather and clean data to best support your requirements based on the tools you have available to manage, store and update your data.
- Design the structure: Create the design for the system structure in alignment with the primary use.
- Implement the process: Put the new configuration management system into practice focusing on continual but gradual improvement and preparing to make adjustments during or after implementation.
MicroHealth Provides Technology-Driven Health Care Solutions
MicroHealth provides IT services for health care organizations under the authority of the U.S. government. We help government customers save money and time in IT services through comprehensive procurement vehicles. Contact our team today to see how we can aid your organization in implementing configuration management.