Empower Your Practice

Journal for Practice Managers

Improving Quality through Project Management in Healthcare

Project management in healthcare refers to the process of organizing and coordinating resources and activities to achieve specific goals within a defined timeframe. It involves:

  • Planning
  • Executing and controlling projects related to care delivery and administration
  • Implementing updated technology systems
  • Building a new hospital
  • Launching a new service line.

The goal of project management is to improve patient outcomes, streamline operations, and reduce costs while ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. Key elements of healthcare project management include project scope definition, resource allocation, risk management, and ongoing evaluation and adjustment of project plans.

Project Management Processes

Organizational changes can both facilitate and hinder the development and formation of a qualitative level of functioning for all elements in a medical organization. The adaptation of the modern healthcare management system to today's challenges involves both the revision of already accumulated experience and the scientific justification of new technologies, forms, methods and management roles.

With Medesk, the clinic manager can control the doctors’ workload, monitor the patient's path on the Internet, calculate advertising and development costs.

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Modern management technologies can be categorized into three groups depending on the tasks set.

  1. Technologies that ensure the development of organizational solutions
  2. Technologies that ensure the therapeutic and diagnostic process, quality and patient safety
  3. Human resources management technologies.

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Various flexible, interactive, and incremental management methods, which are collectively known as Agile approaches, have been effective within the framework of project management institutes (PMI). They can be considered independent public health management technologies.

Scrum, Kanban and Agile Project Management

The application of the Agile methodology is based on the following principles:

  • Processes and tools are less critical than people and interactions
  • Working products are more relevant than comprehensive documentation
  • Willingness to change is more significant than following the original plan.

Initially, this methodology was used in the IT industry. Later it became widespread in other industries through the use of such methods as Scrum and Kanban.

The Scrum method is oriented towards the customer and the result, which is its initial value for healthcare professionals who want to implement a patient-centered approach.

There is an opinion that state institutions whose activities are based on legislation do not need Agile methodologies. However, Agile, Scrum, and Kanban are the most popular methods in public administration. In addition, they can be applied to the medical industry.

Only 6% of healthcare organizations in the world use Agile

Kanban is an effective project management method that is based on visualizing the workflow of a project. It originated in the manufacturing industry and has since been adapted for use in software development and other fields. The main components of a Kanban system are:

Kanban boards

A visual representation of the work items, typically displayed on a whiteboard or a digital board.

Cards

Represent the work items, often with a brief description and assigned status, such as "to do", "in progress", or "done".

Columns

Represent the stages of the workflow, such as "backlog", "ready", and "completed".

Work-in-progress (WIP) limits

Restrictions on the number of items that can be in each column, to avoid overloading the system.

This approach helps to increase efficiency and minimize waste, leading to improved project delivery.

Project Management Professionals (PMP) Work Worldwide

You can find similar experiences in the field of implementing unique medical information systems.

The BESTCare system (Bundang Hospital Electronic System for Total Care) has been developed at Bundang Seoul National University Hospital, which consists of a clinical decision support system and an online resource management system in real time.

Globally, COVID-19 triggered the development of digital health technologies in healthcare. As a result, in March 2020 the Singapore government launched the TraceTogether mobile app. This allows you to detect and identify contact persons based on the distance and duration of the meeting between two users.

In the USA, the Natural Cycles mobile application has been adapted to the ability of medical professionals to remotely monitor the treatment process. This has been done to inform patients about possible symptoms of Coronavirus.

The development of customer relationship management (CRM) systems based on a single multimedia platform combining hospital information systems (HIS), electronic health records (EHR), laboratory information management systems (LIMS), hospital web platforms and call centers is considered promising and reliable.

Options and Stages of Project Management for Business Administration

Here are some options for management systems based on different deliverables desired:

Program Management

The notion of program management is overseeing multiple projects and ensuring they align with the organization's strategic goals.

In a project charter, program management can encompass a wide range of initiatives, such as improving patient outcomes, increasing operational efficiency, or implementing enhanced technology solutions. A program manager is responsible for developing the program strategy, defining project scope, managing resources and budgets, and monitoring project progress.

Specialists working at the clinic can enter all the information they need about the services they perform and create detailed reports on the clinic’s work. The clinic manager can receive a detailed report on the effectiveness of your clinic's business processes.

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It requires strong leadership and communication skills, as well as a deep understanding of the healthcare industry fundamentals and the regulatory environment. It also involves collaboration with various stakeholders, such as clinical staff, IT departments, and vendor partners, to ensure the successful delivery of the program.

Construction Management

It’s aimed at managing the design and build of healthcare facilities. The main goal of construction management is to ensure that new facilities are built to meet the needs of patients, providers and the community. In addition, they should comply with relevant regulations and standards.

A construction manager in healthcare is responsible for managing the entire construction process, from project conception to completion. This includes tasks such as developing the project budget, coordinating with architects and engineers, supervising contractors, and ensuring that construction activities are carried out according to schedule.

Construction PMP requires a deep understanding of the healthcare industry and the specific requirements of healthcare facilities. This includes knowledge of infection control, medical equipment and technology, and regulatory requirements such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Clinical Research Project Management

Clinical research project management involves the coordination of clinical trials and other case studies. This type of management requires specialized knowledge of the regulatory environment and clinical trial processes. It also requires the ability to manage and coordinate multiple tasks, including the recruitment of volunteers, monitoring of data and analysis of results.

The research manager must also ensure that the project is conducted according to relevant regulations and ethical guidelines, such as the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH).

He should also have strong communication and interpersonal skills, as he will often be working with a multidisciplinary team, including providers, researchers, regulatory agencies, and participants.

Effective clinical research management helps to ensure that projects are conducted efficiently and effectively, while also meeting the high standards required for medical research. Additionally, researchers are able to improve patient outcomes and advance medical knowledge by ensuring that their research produces reliable results.

Healthcare IT Project Management

Healthcare IT project management involves the coordination of IT projects within organizations. It requires an understanding of the unique needs of medical IT systems.

Further, IT systems implementation and maintenance require the ability to manage multiple projects and coordinate teams. Healthcare organizations are increasingly reliant on technology solutions to improve patient care, increase operational efficiency, and manage patient data.

An IT manager is responsible for defining project scope, developing project schedules, coordinating with technical teams and vendors, and monitoring project progress.

Quality Improvement Project Management

Quality improvement project management involves the coordination of initiatives to improve the quality of healthcare services. Quality improvement is a critical component of the healthcare industry, as it helps to ensure that patients receive the highest possible care and outcomes.

Projects may include reducing patient wait times, improving clinical outcomes, or increasing patient satisfaction.

Change Project Management

Change project management involves the coordination of activities to facilitate change within a healthcare organization. This type of project management requires an understanding of change management principles and processes. Leading teams through the transition to a revised system or procedure is also necessary. This transition can include:

  • Implementing new technology solutions
  • Reorganizing departments
  • Introducing updated processes and procedures.

It also helps to ensure that changes are implemented smoothly, minimizing disruption and maximizing the benefits for the organization and its patients. By effectively managing change, clinicians can improve their performance, respond to upcoming challenges, and achieve their strategic goals.

Regulatory Project Management

It consists of navigating the complex regulatory environment in healthcare and ensuring compliance. Healthcare organizations must comply with a range of regulations and guidelines, including those related to patient privacy, data security, and clinical trial requirements.

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8 Keys to Successful Project Management for Health Administration

You now have a comprehensive understanding of project management for healthcare. Congratulations!

Let us help you a bit more by summarizing the keystones of project management skills development.

Clearly defined goals and objectives

It is essential to have a clear understanding of what the project aims to achieve and what success looks like.

Effective planning

A well-designed project plan that outlines tasks, timelines, budgets, and resources is crucial to the success of a project.

Effective communication

Effective communication between project team members, stakeholders, and other relevant parties is essential to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Strong leadership

A competent project manager with leadership skills is necessary to motivate and guide the project team.

Proper resource allocation

Proper allocation of resources, including time, money, and personnel, is critical to the success of a project.

Risk management

It is imperative to identify and manage potential risks to the project, such as delays, budget overruns, or changes in scope.

Flexibility and adaptability

Successful project management requires the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and make adjustments as needed.

Continuous monitoring and evaluation

Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of project progress, as well as regular reassessment of the project plan, is necessary to ensure the project stays on track and meets its goals.

Conclusion

The use of modern management technologies in healthcare organically combines with traditional approaches. The use of flexible technologies is conditioned by the need to respond to changes in the business environment, to adapt the management system to new conditions.

It is evident that the experience gained implementing individual project management tools, Agile approaches, and other modern management technologies in international practice can be replicated to improve the management processes of medical organizations around the world.

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