As healthcare IT systems continue to get more complex, it is becoming increasingly important for them to be implemented and maintained by trained project management professionals. As the use of technology helps reduce costs and improve the quality of care, it can also create challenges related to reduced service delivery timeframes and increased regulatory compliance pressures. The ability to manage such a complex environment is what can make or break the success of these projects.
Healthcare IT systems are becoming more complex because of the growing demands placed on them by users in the industry. Many software applications are designed to work with multiple hardware platforms that need to be integrated and updated across various departments in an organization. The complex nature of such systems requires project managers who have specialized skills related not only to management but also technical disciplines such as information technology, software engineering, and health information technology.
Healthcare IT systems, such as electronic health records (EHRs), are also increasingly growing, which means that project managers will need to be able to identify and handle the risks associated with large-scale projects early on in implementation. Project management professionals will also have to focus on other mitigation strategies related to the human resources, finances, and regulatory compliance of these projects.
One of the main benefits of project management in healthcare IT is that it helps keep such systems updated as technology continues to evolve at a fast pace. Project management professionals can guide organizations through changes in their IT systems as they face problems related to new rules, compliance requirements, and technology advances.
Project management is also important for avoiding the "not-invented-here" syndrome that can affect many health care organizations. In this case, a department may think it has all the answers to design a new system, which can lead to unproductive conflicts or duplicated efforts.
In addition, organizations may not be using project management properly when implementing technology initiatives as it is possible that they will not meet their goals and objectives. This results in an increased risk of cancellations and budget overruns that come with over-ambitious goals in the first place.
Healthcare organizations that have implemented dedicated project managers for technology initiatives have reported a number of benefits related to implementation activities, including increased service quality, responsiveness to user needs, and improved compliance with industry regulations. Many healthcare organizations are still not using project management resources in their IT departments as they continue to face problems associated with complex implementation projects.
One of the top challenges faced by these organizations is that they do not consider project management to be an integral part of their IT systems efforts, thus treating it as a secondary responsibility for someone in charge of HR or facilities. According to industry experts, healthcare organizations that can achieve success with complex system implementations will need to first recognize the importance of good project management and then ensure that they are using professionals with special training in this field.
The healthcare industry must be able to use data-driven information to make sound decisions as it continues to face rapidly growing costs, increased demand for services, and the need to comply with new regulations. A key factor in the success of this industry's efforts will be ensuring that healthcare IT projects are supported by a dedicated project management office. Only a dedicated project management office can help healthcare organizations stay ahead of the curve as they continue to face challenges related to complex IT systems.