Week 8: Project & Resource Management for Health Services organization
Project Management Approaches
There is no one correct way to design [or manage] an organization. More important is that the design or configuration [and therefore, the management approaches] selected furthers the goals of the organization.
—Kurt Darr, “Introduction to Management and Leadership Concepts, Principles, and Practices” (in Burke and Friedman’s Essentials of Management and Leadership in Public Health)
As you have examined in this course, there are various methods a health care administrator may choose when planning, implementing, evaluating, and revising approaches to successfully manage an HSO. As a current or future health care administrator, the approaches you use in an HSO will depend not only on situational analyses but also on your expertise and experiences with these varied approaches.
This week, you examine project management approaches used in HSOs. You consider the strengths and weakness of these project management approaches and explore strategies health care administrators might exercise for value contribution.
· Analyze project management approaches used by health services organizations
· Analyze strengths and weaknesses of project management approaches for health services organizations
· Analyze management approaches for value contribution in health services organizations
Longest, B. B., & Darr, K. J. (2014). Managing health services organizations and systems (6th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Health Professions Press.
Chapter 11, “Controlling and Allocating Resources” (pp. 558–569)
Schwalbe, K., & Furlong, D. (2013). Healthcare project management. Minneapolis, MN: Schwalbe.
Chapter 1, “An Introduction to Project, Program, and Portfolio Management in Healthcare” (pp. 1–39)
Mir, F. A., & Pinnington, A. H. (2014). Exploring the value of project management: linking project management performance and project success. International Journal of Project Management, 32(2), 202-217.
Spaulding, A., Gamm, L, Kim, J., & Menser, T. (2014). Multiproject interdependencies in health systems management: A longitudinal qualitative study. Health Care Management Review, 39(1), 31-40.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2015c). Project management [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 7 minutes.
The Transcript Video
JAMES R. LANGABEER: Project management is very key to operations
management. Your job is not to maintain status quo. Your job is to make
NARRATOR: Dr. James Langabeer and Ronald McDade explain why project
management is a necessary skill for operations managers. And they point to the
value of data in managing a project.
JAMES R. LANGABEER: To make improvements means to introduce change.
And to introduce change means to develop a set of new processes, to introduce
a new technology, to get a physician or a nurse or administrator to do something
different. All of these have to be thought of in terms of discrete start and stop
points. And which is the definition of a project.
A project is something which has a beginning and an end. It’s not operations. But
it is something which we have to use in order to make change into operations.
And so the better you understand how to define projects upfront, how to map
them out in terms of Gantt charts and project plans and allocate resources to
where people are hitting their deliverables in their timelines ensures that at the
end you’re going to get the success that you expect.
The project’s on time. It meets the other expectations. It’s on budget. It’s on
scope. And it actually meets the needs of what you tried to do. And so managing
projects is probably one of the most important skills that an operations manager
is going to learn.
RONALD MCDADE: From my perspective, project management in health care is
everything other than the day to day care of the patient. You go in. You do
something to change things, hopefully improve them. And the project is over.
Projects have limited duration and finite outcomes. There are five distinct phases
of working through the project. First is the initiation of the project. Somebody
comes up with the idea that we have to do this.
It could be the president of the hospital. It could be an accrediting organization. It
could be a caregiver on the unit comes up with an idea on how to do things
better. So we initiate the project.
And then it goes through– any well-run project– goes through a very detailed
planning process. Some bigger than others, depending on the magnitude of the
project you’re undertaking. Making a quick change on a patient care unit might be
relatively easy. Implementing a new information system is extremely complex. After planning the
project, we go to the execution phase of the project where we actually go make
the change. Then after the change is implemented, we go into a control phase
where we’re really looking closely at how the project has changed our operations.
Monitoring the metrics, talking to people about how it’s being accepted. And then
of course, there’s the closing of the project.
Once we’ve met the goals of the project be it to implement a change or change a
metric or improve operations, then we formally close the project. That first part of
project management where we initiate the project has to be a very considered
conversation. What really is the definition of this project?
What really are we trying to do? Vague definitions to the project will give you
vague results and a very uncomfortable process in between. But by specifically
defining what the project is, what its intended goal is then we’re all focused
around the same thing when we undertake a project. A key part of the project
manager’s role is monitoring that plan.
Each plan has what we’re going to do, who’s going to do it, and when it’s due by.
And the overall function of the project manager is to make sure that plan is met.
And any unexpected bumps in the road are dealt with in such a way as we don’t
impact those due dates and deliverable deadlines. In any project data is vital to
You have to know where you are in order to know where you’re going. So the
only real way to know where you are today is to understand the data. The metrics
that talk about your cost, quality, and service outcomes, your satisfaction of your
staff, your satisfaction of your customers. That data is important.
And continuing to collect it throughout the course of the project is equally
important. Because you have to know how you’re changing the operation. There
are sometimes projects that are meant to improve that actually end up detracting
from the quality or service or cost of the organization.
The most critical part of managing a project, especially in health care, is the
people side of this. You’re impacting people’s lives, their priorities, their routines.
And any project manager– and I would argue that any health care leader is really
a project manager. Any project manager has to be very skilled in the people
aspects of business.
Making people feel heard, helping them trust you and the direction you’re taking
the project. Health care managers are raised in a culture where if you see
something’s broken, it gets fixed. That’s how I want my caregiver to treat me. If
I’m not right, fix me. But when it comes to projects there are so many interrelated functions in a
hospital on any given unit that if you just look at the one problem and go in and
fix it, you frequently created a problem somewhere else. So that integrated
project management, formal project management methodologies are very
important. The basic principles of project management, how to run a good
project, how to assemble a good team, how to make sure you’re on target, how
to preplan for the unforeseen. Those basic principles aren’t going to change
Data is the one big thing I think that is improving our ability to manage projects.
We are far from where we need to be as an industry. But as more data gets
automated, more data becomes available to managers and project managers, I
think project management is becoming a little bit easier. Because it’s easier for
us to keep our eye on the target.
Discussion Part ( 2 ½ pages)
Project Management Approaches in Health Services Organizations
Consider the following scenario:
Ryan is a heath care administrator for a large network of hospitals. As its mission, the hospital network seeks to promote health access in underserved communities and to engage in innovative population health management projects to support evidence-based practice. While both tenets of the hospital network’s mission are vast, Ryan is responsible for ensuring that each individual hospital within the network is achieving measurable goals for ongoing performance. In evaluating each hospital individually, Ryan finds that the majority of the hospitals are performing at a superior level in increasing health access in underserved communities. However, Ryan also finds that the majority of the hospitals are not demonstrating superior performance with ongoing population health management. Ryan has organized a task force to better determine new strategies to balance the two in hopes of moving the hospital network forward in the marketplace.
Health care administrators face many challenges when implementing strategies for and approaches to addressing multiple projects and the scope of health care delivery on a day-to-day basis. In upholding the mission of an HSO, health care administrators must also ensure that each project contributes to effectiveness without hindering or compromising performance. What approaches might health care administrators use to ensure that projects are appropriately managed? How might project management approaches differ among projects that aim to enhance performance for the HSO?
· For this Discussion, consider the different types of project management approaches introduced in the Learning Resources for this week. Then, reflect on how you might implement these project management approaches as a current or future health care administrator. Consider how different project management approaches are more appropriate for some projects versus others in contributing to the value of an HSO.
By Day 3
Post a description of which types of project management approaches are used by your HSO or an HSO with which you are familiar. Then, explain the strengths and weaknesses of using these types of project management approaches in contributing value to the organization. Be specific and provide examples.
By Day 5
Continue and expand on your colleagues’ postings if you have prior experience with the same project management tool, or propose alternative project management tools that might be used to meet the objectives your colleagues identified.
Submission and Grading Information
To access your rubric:
Week 8 Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5
To participate in this Discussion: Week 8 Discussion