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Project Management

Introduction

The health care sector is improving itself at a rapid rate. As an adviser to a medium sized company, I am part of the project which works in improving the health IT system. This paper briefly describes the key characteristics, importance, implementation and monitoring of the project at its different phases.

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The major purpose of the project management is to ensure a strategic system that helps in implementing the processes of the project. The project in discussion aims to implement a standardized approach in methodological implementation of Health IT that will invent a new clinical system by improving the efficiency (Coplan & Masuda 2011, pp. 170). The project management life cycle, of which I am a part works improve the documentation and reporting across the Health care system. This will enhance the ownership and empowerment to primary and supporting physicians will improve. The objective of this project is to implement a complex cross functional initiative in the health system. For this purpose, there is a need of the trained staff.

Discussion

In the global competition across all the heath sector companies, the implementation of IT has gained crucial importance. If the IT systems are used in a correct manner, then they can be the source of sustainable competitive advantage for the company. IT implementation allows the quick response in times of need. It also helps in staying ahead from competitors by closely analyzing their performance and future plans. I, as a facility manager in this team, have scrutinized the complexity of the project. The complexity increases the need of utilizing efficient and skilled project team (Mattern & Scott 2011, pp. 623). During the project, I have to face more challenges as a facility manager and it requires better skills and knowledge about project management.

Importance

The project management should be incorporated in all sectors and fields in order to carry the methodology in a desired way. This reduces the risk factors and also helps in achieving desired outcomes in an effective and efficient manner. The importance of this project can be analysed from this fact that if there are loopholes in the designing, implementing and delegating, then the morale is decreased. It also results in poor productivity. An unclear project management can also increase the turnover of the project team. The project at any phase bears different risks and uncertain conditions (Didraga 2012, pp. 1016). At such crucial time, the importance of adding uniqueness, complexity and constraints adds to the success of the IT project. It is also of key concern to address the issues of limited resources and manage cost control. In Health IT system, the project team requires the contact and access with consultants of IT solutions. The team also requires interacting with the key management in order to take approvals from them in implementing the important decisions of the project. The team also works with specialized resources to assess the feasibility of the project (Wager et.al 2009, pp. 412). For all these mentioned reasons, it is necessary that facility manager is well aware of the project phases. This ensures the best quality of services and lowest possible costs that the company needs to pay.

Phases

The project management of any sort is defined as a set of different activities. All these phases are combined to form a Project Life Cycle. The IT implementation project in health care is also a similar phases set that comprises of different phases. These phases form the operations of the project that become continuous business activities with time. As a facility manager, my role can be defined from the management perspective. The facility manager should ensure that the project team is receiving all the required resources. The phases of the project management can be defined as acronym C-D-E-F (Coplan & Masuda 2011, pp. 154). There are four main phases that are known as Conceptual Phase, Design Phase, Execution Phase and Finishing Phase.

In the first phase of project management, there is idea generation step. The project starts from this phase and it includes a feasible study. The purpose of the project is also defined in this phase. The project of IT implementation in Health Company primarily evaluated and assesses the need that generated this idea. It also related the problems due to the absence of IT to the strategic objectives of the company.
The second phase is the Development Phase. It is the duty of the project team to plan, design and critically assess the concept of the IT project. Key members are identified and appointed in this phase. The activities that are to be conducted in this phase are setting project scope, identifying the resources and financial budget and planning a timeline.
In Execution Phase, the company will be carrying out activities like the actual implementation of the project. This phase is also marked by control and monitoring activities. For this purpose, company will be involved in detailed documentation process. It will also organize and control activities in such way that they appreciate the objectives of the project (Didraga 2012, pp. 1019).
The last phase is the Finishing Phase. For the purpose of ensuring the workability of the project, it is tested and commissioned. After that, the project will be closed out and shifted to the main stakeholders. The activities that form this phase of the Health IT project are finalizing all the contracts, transferring the responsibility to the project bearer and the stakeholders. The stakeholders also include the end users of the project for whom project was initiated. It is of note to review all details, feedback and evaluation reports at the end of this phase (Obradovic et.al 2012, pp. 2106).
Characteristics

The main characteristics of project management life cycle that can be related with the project in the discussion are:

Assessing the concentration factors that form the cost and staff. The concentration of this project is low in the start and increases as the project approaching end phase.
Project management lifecycle will help the company in adding value the outcomes of the project.
The chances of success of the project increase as the phases increase. At the start of this project, risk is highest due to non-availability of many resources and activities (Mattern & Scott 2011, pp. 620).
The costs can be maintained as the project moves forward. This is because more errors are identifiable with the passage of time. Key decisions can be re-evaluated that lead to potential savings from changes. The potential to achieve lesser costs are highest in the first phase and gradually decrease with time.
The characteristics of project can also be affected by the stakeholders involved in the project.
The risks and uncertainties involved with the project are highest in the initial phases. These threats then reduce with time.
Information generated during the first two phases is of the vital importance. Similar information is used at later stages of project management life cycle (Coplan & Masuda 2011, pp. 174).
Benefits

The benefits of this project are multi-fold.

The successful completion of this project will increase the production rate (Kerzner and Kerzner 2004, p. 434).
This project will help in clearly redefining the roles and requirements of the health care providers.
Successful implementation will increase the rate of communication facilities between the stakeholders (Kerzner and Kerzner 2004, p. 434).
This project’s completion will improve the coordination and efficiency of processes involved in maintaining the health records (Kerzner and Kerzner 2004, p. 434).
A clear source of communication will be established between company itself, and the project team (Rosenhead 2012).
By standardizing the methodologies of health information, better training can be designed that will lead to clear expectations (Rosenhead 2012).
Key stakeholders & Their Needs

Key stakeholders are personnel within the board or committee who are going to be the most influential to the project (Shirley 2011, p. 41). It is essential that every key stakeholders understand, agree and remain apprised of the project. Reporting guidelines are essential during a project in order to meet the stakeholders needs (Shirley 2011, p. 102). This fact requires a functioning communication plan throughout the entire project. By focusing on the needs of thekey stakeholders, value is added to the project (Bigelow 2004, pp. 24). Successful implementation of Health IT services requires the stakeholder’s assessment during the project in order to ensure adequate implementation. The primary care takers like physicians, medical assistance staff and support staff should actively participate in the project management life cycle to assist in the design of the projects ability to meet the intended needs (Bigelow 2004, pp. 24). The inclusion of the staff is essential for long term alleviation of potential obstacles (Shirley 2011, p. 102). Key stakeholders of this project are:

Senior management of the company. The management needs the system in order to mark their competitive advantage over the rivals. This goal is achieved by implementing a significant clinical system. The management is also concerned with the cost and resources issues in making project a reality, reflecting the concerns of the top tier of many businesses (Shirley 2011, p. 195).
Providers of Health Care. The needs of providers for this system are to manage the workflow and all information of the clinical records. This segment of stakeholders is the principal end user of the system. Thus, the needs of this segment should be well implemented in the project from the start (Navalta 2012, pp. 2).
The Nursing staff. This segment will also need the system, designated among the primary beneficiaries. They need the system to achieve time savings in clinical applications. They can access the information quickly and can use the information to form the solid basis of their findings. The addition of instruments that allow the access to comprehensive medical record will help the nursing staff in managing the workflow (Shirley 2011, p. 91).
Clinic managers. This segment will need the IT system to manage day to day clinical operations. This component to lead to a more efficient management approach (Shirley 2011, p. 91), which in turn can lead to quality improvement initiatives.
Billing and administrative staff need such system in order to implement practice management system. Through this system, the staff can have more grasp on the medical billing activities (Obradovic et.al 2012, pp. 2110).
Project Plan

Objectives

Objectives serve to identify both the technical and business goals associated with the project (Kerzner and Kerzner 2004, p. 224).

The primary objective of this project aims to implement a complex cross functional initiative in the health system.

A Secondary objective will be the establishment of an enhanced training method that enables better performance of related on the job duty.

Milestones

Milestones serve as review and synchronization points, allowing the team to successfully track the implementation pattern of the project (Kerzner and Kerzner 2004, p. 128):

Definition of purpose and application of a feasibility study.
Identification of financial and personnel resources. This is the development stage
Execution, Testing and Commissioning.
Final closeout and shift to the stakeholders.
Individual contributions

Individual contributions make up the various elements that come together to comprise an entire project (Kerzner and Kerzner 2004, p. 234):

Management supplies ideas and inception points.
The project team plans, designs and critically assesses the project.
Main stream company facilities are utilized to produce documentation in support of the project.
The project bearer finalizes installation and oversees the project.
Stakeholders supply the needed financial resources for the project.
Implementation of Methods of Monitoring Project Progress

Monitoring and the control of the project during the various stages coupled with taking the correct action in the case of deviations is a necessary component of oversight in any project (Schwalbe 2000, p. 111). This area involves the integration of the nine arenas of necessary project management knowledge areas:

Project integration management allows for the monitoring of the project through the performance of integrated change. This area will allow for the appearance of updates and changes.
Project scope implies the need for oversight to continually verify the scope of the project. This is accomplished with accepted deliverables, the application of change request and continual updates to the project documentation.
Control scope will continually measure work performance in order to update the organizational process.
Project Time management will control the schedule and plan updates and change requests.
Cost management will utilize the work performance measurements to create effective budgets that incorporate the changes and updates of the project.
Quality Management will validate deliverables, assets and updates.
Communication Management will report performance and produce reports on assets and updates.
Risk management will continually reassess the risk register updates in order to minimize the appearance of hazards.
Procurement managers will ensure that documentation and assets are correct according to the project updates.

Every element of this monitoring system is essential to assisting a developing project remains on track (Schwalbe 2000, p. 112).

The need of communication among all project members is of key importance (Wager et.al 2009, pp. 334). The project management team should make certain that the correct equipment in place to complete the project. It is of primary importance that the entire team clarifies and understands the details of the project (Bigelow 2004, pp. 25). The steps in implementing the project successfully can be outlined as:

Describing the goals and objectives of the project
Formulating the desired and possible timeline
Setting a forecasted budget
Detailed workout on the project team member’s identification and task assignment
Methods that will lead to project completion
Risks and uncertainties that can be came across in any phase (Bigelow 2004, pp. 25).

It is important for the project leaders to manage the project’s progress and efficiency (Schwalbe 2000, p. 112). The hands on oversight will provide the personnel with the continual updates necessary to adequately conduct the various elements of the project. Additionally, the close contact with project allows a very useful talent in identifying the additional required resources (Schwalbe 2000, p. 112). A secondary benefit of this approach is that it also enables the project team to find out if resources can be shifted or re-allocated to gain efficiency. Thus, performance management and quality control are primary components of any effective plan.

Control and monitoring can also be achieved by documenting project information (Navalta 2012, p. 3). This method maintains the record of goals and agenda of the project according to need of stakeholders. There are many techniques and tools that can help in monitoring and controlling on-going project processes (Navalta 2012, p. 3). Pulse meetings are an effective way of ensuring compliance and monitoring. These meetings allow the project management team to analyse the performance information (Navalta 2012, pp. 3). Additionally, variance reports are the effective method for quality control system, adding another layer of data for the assessment of management. This method presents the difference in values between the actual and desired outcome. Project dashboards also enable the project team to capture the snapshot of the project status information (Bigelow 2004, pp. 24). The dashboard method can also be used to track the changes that can be made by modifying key decisions

Problems

Several problems can arise during the course of any project (Schwalbe 2000, p.326). An appreciation of the potential for these obstacles will create a system with the capacity to adapt as these bumps in development occur. If not properly addressed development issues have the potential to skew an entire project (Schwalbe 2000, p. 326).

The two most common problems in Health IT project management are the inability of the team to start the project on time and slow communication with the stakeholders (Stoudt 2013, p. 68). The inability of the team to start or of their slow production during the project has many potential remedies. Additional oversight will provide incentive for the staff to implement regular deadlines (Stoudt 2013, p. 68). The creation of incentives based on results often provides a financial means to increase production. Additionally, the potential to long term professional benefits adds a positive component that aids in team performance (Schwalbe 2000, p. 326).

The lack of communication with the key stakeholders can lead to the termination of the entire project (Stoudt 2013, p. 68). Since a continuous channel of communication is essential to maintain trust and financial security, this issue must be addressed aggressively. An implementation of a stakeholder’s communications plan from the outset will alleviate many issues (Schwalbe 2000, p. 326). The creation and production of reports that can be given to the key stakeholders is another method of keeping this vital bloc informed at every level.

Conclusion

The modern era of business precludes the options of a shoddy or poorly designed project. This proposed endeavour has the potential to provide an efficient and comprehensive solution to many pressing issues by implementing IT systems in Health Care services (Schwalbe 2000, p. 326). This study has presented evidence that illustrates the need to communicate and manage every step during a project which is a process that is based on communication, teamwork and reliable action (Schwalbe 2000, p. 326). This strategy includes a clear definition, and continuously open channel of communication to the key stakeholders involved, in order to ensure quality. In the end, it is the combination of the leadership, personnel and planning coupled with effective implementation that will determine the success or failure of project.

References

Bigelow, D. 2004., Proving the Value, PM Network, vol. 18 (2), pp. 24-26.

Coplan, S & Masuda D. 2011. Project Management for Healthcare Information Technology, McGraw Hill Professional, pp. 112-200.

Didraga, O., Bibu, N., & Brandas, C. 2012. Risk Management Approaches And Practices In It Projects, Annals Of The University Of Oradea, Economic Science Series, vol. 21 (1), pp. 1014-1020.

Kerzner, H. and Kerzner, H. 2004. Advanced project management. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Mattern, W, & Scott, S 2001. A Fully Integrated Clinical Information System to Support Management of End-Stage Renal Disease: Design and Implementation, Disease Management & Health Outcomes, vol. 9 (11), pp. 619-629.

Navalta, G. 2012. Project Management in Healthcare, PM World Today, vol. 14 (3), pp. 1-4.

Obradovic, V, Jovanovic, P, Djordjevic, N, Beric, I, & Jovanovic, F 2012. Using Project Management as a Way to Excellence in Healthcare, Healthmed, vol. 6 (6), pp. 2105-2112.

Rosenhead, R. 2012. Project Management, Tools, Process, Plans And Project Planning Tips, Data Retrieved from http://www.businessballs.com/project.htm on May 23, 2013.

Schwalbe, K. 2000. Information technology project management. Cambridge, Ma.: Course Technology.

Shirley, D. 2011. Project management for healthcare. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Stoudt, L. 2013. 12 strategies for managing capital projects, Healthcare Financial Management, vol. 67 (5), p. 68.

Wager, K., Lee, F. & Glase, J. 2009. Health Care Information Systems: A Practical Approach for Health Care Management, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 324-500.

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