The Many Faces of Project Delivery in Healthcare

on Monday, 22 April 2013. Posted in goPMO Corporate

Project management and delivery play an important role in every business, whether the process is formalized or not. But in healthcare, project delivery is much more multifaceted than in most industries; caring for patients requires a robust, rigorous set of systems, processes and operations because every aspect of care impacts someone lying in a hospital bed. Due in large part to this complexity, there are four different approaches to project delivery in healthcare.


  1. Healthcare organization as business: Though there's certainly a human element to healthcare, the same can be said for just about any business. Therefore some approach healthcare strictly as they would any other business. Though infection rates, mortality rates, and similar data may comprise fundamental metrics, the same business principles can be used to guide decision making and policy development.
  2. Patient-centric healthcare: This face is the one that most healthcare organizations  try to put forward most frequently. The idea behind patient-centric project delivery is that every system or process developed should support the health and well-being of the patient. This approach can get complex, as different patients may have different-and potentially conflicting-needs.
  3. Healthcare organization as physician support: According to this model, the healthcare organization provides the infrastructure by which doctors can care for their patients. The approach places confidence in doctors not only as patient caregivers, but also to some extent as administrators who can (and should) guide organizational policy, systems, and processes.
  4. Healthcare organization as community presence: From individual doctor's offices to community hospitals, healthcare organizations certainly play a vital role in the health and well-being of their communities. This mission is essentially an extension of patient-centric healthcare, whereby every member of the community is viewed as a "patient."

For most healthcare organizations, it's impossible to choose one of these approaches and allow it alone to guide policy, systems, and operations. Instead, most healthcare businesses may adopt different approaches based on current needs and conditions. For instance, budgeting decisions that don't directly impact patient care may call for a more traditional business strategy. Yet the same budget team may also fall into a more patient-centric mindset (and rightfully so) when making decisions that will affect the quality of patient care.

Healthcare organizations therefore need project delivery methods and tools that can be adapted to reflect these various approaches and demands. You'll need a full suite of tools that facilitates project intake and prioritization; project scoping and estimation; and requirements management and traceability. The more of these ingredients that can be performed and tracked in a single view, the more consistent you will deliver success regardless of the approach or approaches you use.

Robert Williams is founder of goPMO, which offers the healthcare industry a practical implementation approach for project management. After many years as an IT leader in the industry, Robert saw a clear need for greater efficiency in project consideration and execution. Thus goPMO provides both an easy-to-use self-serve project implementation tool and full-service project management consultation. A certified PMP from the Project Management Institute, Williams empowers healthcare organizations and PMO's to be catalysts for high impact and powerful project delivery.