Importance of Project Management in Healthcare

Updated: Aug 26


Medical facilities run smoothly with the help of project management. You need to plan and manage project phases as a healthcare project manager. It may be the ideal job for those who want to help others and organize tasks.


Some would think that project management in healthcare is not as important compared to other industries. If you’re looking to get a good handle of project scope creep and many more, here’s why project management in healthcare is essential for your success.


What Is Project Management In Healthcare?

Project management in healthcare involves planning, organizing, and managing resources, people, and budgets and maximizing how the medical facility functions. This relates to all aspects of healthcare, including nursing, laboratory, and pharmacy. Much of its job is to resolve issues around its operations and customer relations.

A healthcare project manager will have to understand the concepts of cost, value, and time and how they relate to company operations in general. Most healthcare projects can be complex, hence a project manager should have a good level of prioritization.


For instance, a healthcare provider may have different project phases, from initiation, planning, execution to project conclusion. Each stage has a different priority and a variety of communication levels needed for full effect, including handling customer escalations in healthcare facilities. Productivity and resource allocation are crucial skills that a manager needs.


Stages of Healthcare Project Management

There are several stages in project management in healthcare facilities. The stages include initiation, planning, execution, and closing. These stages may overlap; thus, the project manager must manage and monitor each case.

The initiation stage involves setting goals and objectives. It may include reviewing the current processes and identifying areas to improve. Managers of healthcare projects determine the project's purpose and scope. Their job is to estimate costs, predict what financial resources the project will need, and prepare solutions to overcome challenges.


The planning stage involves developing project plans, creating long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals, and developing work breakdown structures. At this stage, project managers create a timeline, set up budgets, and assign responsibilities to each project step. They also measure the project's progress, together with its return on investment (ROI).

The execution stage involves managing and controlling the project, including monitoring and communicating assigned tasks and ensuring consistent progress. At this point, project managers can expect big challenges to happen.


The closing stage involves closing the project, reviewing project data, and evaluating the success. Project managers summarize project outcomes, deliverables, and lessons learned in a document at the end of the project. Teams can improve their project management process in the future by reviewing these details with both the leadership and the project team.


Why Healthcare Needs Project Management

Healthcare teams require a good level of project management, not only on the facility itself but also on healthcare delivery. While these managers don’t have to go to the nitty-gritty like email management, they handle the business's more extensive scope and needs.

Project management in healthcare can help eliminate inefficiencies and resolve issues within the facility and its customers. Healthcare projects are vital; hence project managers should have a comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of the project.

A project manager should work closely with clients to determine their project needs. From there, they can develop a timeline and a budget and determine how the project will proceed. Project management in healthcare can also improve healthcare delivery and involve collaboration among team members.

A good project manager will determine critical success factors, define tasks, and maximize the resources they need. Project managers should also manage each stage of the project and handle every challenge every step of the way.

Project management in healthcare is essential for organizations to ensure projects run smoothly. It can enhance productivity, improve healthcare delivery, assist facilities with conflict resolution, and ensure facilities can meet their financial goals.


Challenges of Healthcare Project Management

Project management in healthcare is challenging, from dealing with customers’ expectations to handling project scope changes. Many things may cause project scope change, depending on the project.


Low Margin of Error

Since healthcare facilities deal with patients, they need to ensure that their treatments, operations, and procedures are always right. Project management in healthcare is essential for facilities to ensure their treatment procedures are completed on time and that patients receive the best care possible.


There is a tiny margin of error with healthcare projects. Patients can be harmed by any mistake or lack of process. The industry-wide initiative to convert to electronic records is one example of how easy it is to make big mistakes in healthcare project management. Litigation can occur if private data is leaked or shared improperly due to existing HIPAA laws.


Unpredictable Costs

Healthcare projects have unpredictable costs, which is why a project manager needs to develop a contingency budget plan. Unexpected expenses may also occur, such as unexpected equipment breakdowns, which must be estimated and managed.


Combined with rising healthcare costs, this puts more pressure on the healthcare industry to deliver affordable, high-quality services. An enhanced understanding of project management is necessary to strike a balance between efficiency and quality.


Labor Issues

Healthcare facilities often hire different groups of people, including nurses, maintenance staff, technicians, doctors, and other laborers. These groups have different skill sets; thus, project managers should work with these people to ensure that everyone can perform their duties and meet the project’s goals.


A single individual or team is rarely involved in healthcare projects or processes. Transitions ("handoffs") between teams or members tend to pose the most considerable risk for miscommunication.


Undefined Expectations

Healthcare projects demand a high level of coordination, which is impossible without clear communication between team members. Healthcare facilities need to explain to their patients the processes and processes they need to undergo and the desired outcome.


As more "higher priority" tasks take precedence, deadlines and clearly defined expectations are easily overlooked. Today, it is a major challenge for many managers to meet deadlines or communicate expectations on time every day.


Final Thoughts

Healthcare project management is not easy, but it is vital to the success of a healthcare facility. Facilities should emphasize project management to ensure that customers’ needs are met and to prevent many challenges from overwhelming the team.

Medical facilities need project management to ensure their service and equipment are up to date and running. From handling customer complaints to resolving issues, facilities need project managers. It’s not a question of needing project management in healthcare - it’s knowing how to maximize it.