Introduction To Healthcare Project Management

The healthcare industry has been engaged in projects for a long time, but not
necessarily using formal project management techniques. Healthcare organizations are
realizing that to remain competitive, they must develop skills to effectively select and
manage the projects they undertake. They also realize that many of the concepts of project
management, especially interpersonal skills, will help them as they work with people on a
day-to-day basis.
Organizations claim that using project management provides advantages, such as:

Better control of financial, physical, and human resources
Improved customer relations
Shorter development times
Lower costs
Higher quality and increased reliability
Higher profit margins
Improved productivity
Better internal coordination
Higher worker morale
Reduced stress

In addition to project management, healthcare organizations are embracing
program and portfolio management to address enterprise-level needs. This chapter
introduces projects and project management, summarizes the context of healthcare project
management, describes the differences between project, program, and portfolio
management, discusses the role of the project, program, and portfolio manager,
Examples of Healthcare Projects
Projects in the healthcare sector can be large or small and involve one person or thousands
of people. They can be done in one day or take years to complete. They also can occur in
various types of healthcare related entities. Examples of healthcare entities and related
projects in various contexts include the following:
Patient/Health Consumer Level:

• A family makes modifications to their home to accommodate a handicapped
family member
• A diabetic initiates a structured self-management program
Sole Providers and Physician Groups
• A physician’s office implements an electronic health record system
• A physician group modifies it billing system to meet revised International
Classification of Diseases (ICD) code sets used to report diagnoses and inpatient
Community Clinics
• A community health centers brings federally certified moderate complexity lab
testing in house to expedite access to test results and minimize the cost of lab
testing for uninsured patients
Hospital/ Hospital Departments:
• A community hospital launches a women’s healthcare service line
• A university hospital designs and constructs a new neurology clinic
• A hospital develops a physician evaluation program in alignment with new
• An emergency department develops a formal process for notifying patients of
sexually transmitted disease test results in advance of Department of Health
• A hospital develops a program to reduce readmission rates by identifying and
monitoring high-risk patient discharges
Health Networks
• A collection of health care providers forms an accountable care organization
• A hospital network begins a telemedicine service
Health Research:

• A research team performs an evaluation of a state health information exchange
Chapter 1 – Introduction 6
Copyright 2013 Kathy Schwalbe, LLC
• A cancer center develops an internship program for pre-med students to assist
with research studies
• A software company develops a smart phone application to assist diabetics with
• A team of medical researchers conducts a clinical trial of a new medical device
• A health insurance company establishes a medical call center and Web site to help
subscribers make decisions regarding medical care options
Government and Public Health
• A developing country’s health department launches a maternal and child wellness
• The state public health department develops and launches an immunization
• A local health agency works with the public health department to develop an
educational course to train the public health workforce and other first responders
to improve their capacity to respond and provide essential services for natural
disasters and bio-terrorists situations
Not for Profit/Community Health

A medically supervised camp program for overweight adolescents creates a
summer program
A not-for-profit hospital conducts a community assessment to determine how to
target community benefit activities
A tobacco control charity designs and executes a smoking cessation campaign
A kidney disease foundation holds a 10K race event
A health research funding agency designs and launches a new grant program
Healthcare Vendor/Consulting/Auditing
A consulting company designs and implements a dashboard form a hospital to
evaluate status and results by department
A medical supply and distribution company installs new distribution software that
will facilitate just in time inventory levels
An audit team conducts an audit of a health organization
A health care consulting company develops a workforce needs assessment tool
that hospitals use to optimize and plan for clinical workforce needs



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