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Lesson 1

Introduction to Planning for Network Requirements

In the previous module, you learned about the different components needed for network communication.
This module discusses Web design team plans for an effective integration of these components.
At this point in the Web site development process, the technology team steps to the foreground. They will be responsible for the Web team's decisions regarding network communication.
When you are finished with this module, you should be able to:
In the next lesson, you will learn who's responsible for determining the network architecture.
  1. Define the function of the IT staff in determining network needs
  2. Describe the documents and tools for evaluating network and Internet-related needs
  3. Describe features of network architecture
  4. Explain how bandwidth is measured and how bandwidth needs are evaluated
  5. Define strategies to develop and enhance a network infrastructure
  6. Identify risks with networks and the Internet



With regard to bandwidth and latency, advances in technology, coupled with the relatively modest requirements of administrative and customer service tasks, make these technological concerns largely nonissues. The significance of ubiquity, or relative accessibility of a network, requirements is contingent on the scale and frequency of use and the dispersion of users. The Internet is expected to play an important role in reducing the degree of ubiquity required by providing low-cost access to providers and administrators of geographically dispersed organizations (National Research Council, 2000).
The importance of availability depends largely on the urgency of the transaction being executed. For example, referral certification and prior authorization requests concerning an enrollee's immediate care needs require relatively high availability.
Other, less formidable and sometimes trivial, obstacles include lack of processing capacity, poor quality of applications, and inadequate understanding of the Internet and its potential benefits (Schaich, 1998)
Security was identified as the most important technical consideration in the adoption of Web-based and other e-commerce applications by the health insurance industry (National Research Council, 2000). The discussion here presents only an outline of the security issues. A more in-depth analysis is beyond the scope of this chapter. Interested readers may refer to Department of Health and Human Services (2000) and National Research Council (2000). Current information may be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/finalreg.html (accessed October 9, 2002). The most sensitive aspect of security in electronic commerce concerns privacy, or, in other words, the confidentiality and authorized use of patient data. Many administrative transactions, for example medical claims, include highly sensitive and personal information pertaining to patients' health status, ailments, diagnoses, and treatments. Potential misuses of individual health information include unfavorable insurance decisions, employment decisions, and other adverse social outcomes (Lumpkin, 2000).