Project Management in Health Care Setting


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Standard Project Management approaches used in different domains may not apply in Health Care. Please allow me to share my perspective out of my personal hands on experience.
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Project Management in Health Care Setting

  1. 1. Samir Sawli, PhD.
  2. 2.  Project management as a concept has many approaches like PMP and Prince. However each organization adopts the best fit approach. Some organizations choose a very primitive project management approach, and some other organization may choose a very detailed and as per book approach.  It all depends on the culture and kill set of your organization, ranging from project management thinking to operational thinking, but from experience in working in both environments, I found using a moderate approach may track and manage project efficiently.  Efficiently means achieving the best results with the least resources and time, and this is exactly what I mean.
  3. 3.  Detailed project management approach may be time consuming and tedious, you may spend 30-40 % of your time on updating the project management e-paper work.  On the other hand basic project management plan may put the project vulnerable to be hit by a train of issues and loose the track.
  4. 4. In health care IT project I found the following approach efficient:  1. Start with a Project initiation Document (PID), which includes all the necessary details enough to secure the signatures of the executive managers. Each executive signature has essential requirements, which if not provided, signature is not guaranteed. The Chief financial officer essential requirements may be the financial figures, analysis and return on investment. The executive director may have another set of essential requirements like availability of resources and timelines. There is no standard PID which fits all organizations, for this reason, be ready for sending the PID 2-3 times back and forth to get those essential requirements from the signing managers.
  5. 5.  2. Start a risk log, a good project manager should be able to log all possible risks, and not be surprised with an issue which is not on the risk log.  3. Start an issue log rule based so that issues above certain threshold are automatically escalated.
  6. 6.  3. Project Plan is the core of your project tracking and management. Depending on the nature of your project some project plan can accommodate some buffer time lag. Insert some buffer time periods for unexpected events and delays. This measure will save the project plan from frequent updating and editing when it shifts from baseline dates.
  7. 7.  4. Status Reports: What to include in status report depends on the upper management and what they want to see and track, going back to primitive approach, the status report was a verbal update on the project during a weekly status meeting. The extreme approach used a very detailed template, which was not read by anybody. The moderate approach which is efficient is to document status against each milestone, achieved, at risk, or missed, then document next to it what is your plan to mitigate, resolve or close the milestone. Status reports are time consuming because they are written on weekly or biweekly basis, so be diligent what to include.
  8. 8.  This article is based on my role as project manager for five concurrent projects, stressing on efficiency is my objective. Writing too much non relevant information may end up with zero readers for your report, and this is frustrating. Writing too little and get questioned by upper management is embarrassing
  9. 9.