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The Ultimate Guide to Healthcare Project Management

clickup healthcare management

There’s a line of patients in the waiting room.

The doctor’s running late today.

The pharmacy staff say they need some refills since they’ve run out. 

For an industry responsible for taking care of people’s lives, the healthcare industry can be pretty tough on the caretakers who manage it.

So how do they keep themselves focused with all that’s going on?

Excellent healthcare project management skills. 

Like Dr. Lisa Cuddy, Chief Hospital Administrator in the television series, House M.D. 

Surely no one at Princeton Plainsboro Hospital would want to leave project management in the hands of people like Dr. Gregory House. 😟

After all, healthcare is a high-risk sector. 

People’s lives are literally at stake here.

You cannot afford any mistakes. At all.

So what can you do?

Hire a project manager to keep things organized, alive and kicking. 

But if you’re suffering from poor project management symptoms and want to achieve your project goals, don’t worry. 

We’ve got your back. *literally*

In this article, we’ll cover what healthcare project management is, why it’s crucial, and what it takes to be a good project manager in healthcare. 

Bonus: You’ll also learn how to nurse your projects back to health with an excellent healthcare project management tool

All set? 

Let’s give you a dose of healthcare project management. 

What Is Healthcare Project Management? 

To keep up with the tightening grip of health insurance firms, the massive size of the healthcare system, and the big issue of safety, modern health care organizations require tons of planning to create an effective process. 

This is where healthcare project management comes into the picture. 

It’s the planning, execution, and maintenance of any healthcare project to improve the organization’s functioning. 

It helps streamline a project that can help save cash and at the same time improve patient care that ultimately benefits a healthcare organization. 

For example, let’s say Dr. Cuddy is fed up with Dr. House and wants to open a new department of diagnostics at her organization. 

She would first have to create a tangible pipeline to open and manage this new healthcare facility. She could either do the planning herself or hire a project manager. 

Something she has mastered.  

sipping coffee

But do we really need project management in healthcare

Let’s find out. 

Why do you need healthcare project management?

The healthcare industry is constantly evolving. 

New technologies are always emerging, and health care organizations need to keep up. 

As a result, there’s immense pressure on the healthcare industry to keep up with the times and deliver quality patient care. 

Healthcare firms also need to comply with various government regulations like HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) for billing and any other process.  

This is where project management healthcare comes in. 

With the foundational principles of project management, organization heads like Dr. Cuddy can bring structure and discipline into the organization. 

Effective project management can also help with:

  • Better patient care and experience 
  • Improved budgeting 
  • Better management
  • Smoother communication 
  • Better stakeholder relations

Now, how do you actually go about managing projects in the healthcare field?

Apart from medical science, healthcare professionals also need to learn the science of project management. 

Let’s look at the popular project management methodologies that you can use in the healthcare sector:

1. Agile project management

Agile project management is like an antidote to counter traditional project management’s pain points. 

It follows an iterative approach and breaks down a project into smaller development cycles (2-4 weeks) called sprints. A manager can define a sprint backlog that outlines what the team needs to focus on during that cycle. 

This facilitates easier adjustment to changes, especially in an industry like healthcare that has constantly changing variables. Agile also has several key benefits and works for most industries because it ensures flexibility, adaptability, teamwork, and quicker ROI. 

And, when it comes to a healthcare setting, an agile project management tool can help you complete a healthcare project quickly to keep up with things. 

Looking for an agile project management tool for healthcare?

Check out these top 12 agile tools for project management.

For example, let’s suppose Dr. Cuddy wants to roll out a new appointment booking app for her hospital. 

She can use the agile methodology and roll out a test app first. This way, she can take feedback from patients about the user interface and ease of booking appointments to quickly incorporate the changes into her app design.

This way, she won’t have to waste time and resources to create a new app from scratch if the first one isn’t user-friendly for her patients.

2. Waterfall

Waterfall is an old-school, traditional project management process.

It follows a linear approach where you divide each project plan into phases, and each phase cascades into the next one, like a real waterfall. 

like a detective

Usually, this project management process involves five stages: requirement, design, implementation, testing, and delivery. 

How is waterfall different from agile? 

In the waterfall method, the team needs to complete a stage first to be able to move to the next one. 

While it’s one of the most common project management techniques used in large industries like construction, it does have its drawbacks. 

It can delay results and the project can become redundant. This can be detrimental for a healthcare organization trying to provide immediate care to patients. 

However, the waterfall approach can work well if Dr. Cuddy wants to open a new healthcare facility. She can tackle the project in phases. 

First, she needs to define the dependencies and requirements to open the department, such as  budgeting, staff, government clearance, etc. Once she has a blueprint of the requirement, only then can she move to the implementation stage. 

Not sure how a waterfall approach can help you? 

Our detailed guide on waterfall project management can show you how.

3. Hybrid 

Since healthcare is a fast-changing sector, adopting a hybrid management approach can be just what the doctor ordered. 

You can implement projects quickly with an agile methodology and still have a roadmap for the board of directors and investors with a waterfall project management approach. 

This way, you can keep the end-users involved during different stages, ensure the right project outcomes, and keep the stakeholders happy. Win-Win, you see.

fist bump

But knowing what to do isn’t enough. 

You must also know how to do it. 

Ready to learn what it takes to be a healthcare project manager? Let’s go.

What Does It Take to Be a Good Healthcare Project Manager?

Healthcare project managers are the backbone of a project. *no pun intended*

They lead and oversee a healthcare project from admission to discharge

A program manager ensures that the project is delivered on time and stays within budget. 

They can also quickly identify if the project is under the weather and offer plausible remedies. 🤒

Health care organizations absolutely need a project management professional to make projects compliant with codes. 

However, project management isn’t for the faint-hearted.

The healthcare profession requires specific management skills. A project management certification is also ideal. 

Here’s what it takes to be a successful project manager. 

1. Project manager skills 

If you want to be a good manager, you must have healthy project management skills to manage a team, the project, and face the challenges of the healthcare industry. 

Here are some essential skills a healthcare project manager must have:

  • Flexibility: you should be quick to respond and modify the project to keep things on track
  • Communication: the healthcare industry is all about people. You should be an active listener and effective negotiator to secure deals 
  • Leadership: you should be able to motivate and inspire others. Your team should believe in you and have confidence in the project
  • Conflict-resolution: healthcare is an unusual market with inherent risks. As a project management skill, you should be able to act quickly and dilute high-tension situations
  • Delegation: you should be able to prescribe tasks to different team members. This will help you use the allocated resources efficiently and keep the project well within budget

2. Healthcare project management certifications

Dr. House may be an expert in diagnostics, but does he understand the science of management? Probably not. 

Many healthcare professionals look for formal training in project management to manage complex projects and people better.

At least department heads like Dr. House must.

I don't like anybody

Ideally, to be a good manager in healthcare, you should have a graduate certificate in health administration, business administration, public health, or nursing.

But certification in project management also won’t hurt

Several institutes offer courses in project management like:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP) 

Certain universities also offer healthcare project management as a major.

For example, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers online certification in Health Care Project Management

Both clinical and non-clinical professionals are welcome to take the Harvard course. You can even earn continuing education credits that count towards your degree. 

A program like this covers both project and people management skills. You learn about the stages of project management and how to adapt to different nuances yet achieve key metrics. 

They cover tools and strategies to maintain better interpersonal dynamics with the stakeholders.

It can even make you an expert at effective communication and successful negotiations. 

seriously?

3. HIPAA compliance

Hospitals and healthcare workers rely on healthcare informatics to access sensitive data all the time. If such information is leaked, it can pose a serious threat to a patient’s privacy. 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the governing code to ensure sensitive patient data protection.

If you use any project management software that accesses patient data, it must safeguard: 

  • Malicious attacks on patient information
  • Access and sharing of patient information 

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to oversee that every technical or non-technical program or process complies with the norms of HIPAA to keep health care information safe.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s go over some healthcare management tips. 💁

7 Helpful Tips for Managing Projects in the Healthcare Sector

If you want to fill in the shoes of a healthcare project manager, you might as well have some handy management tips up your lab coat’s sleeve. 

  • Diagnose requirements and project goals by asking the right questions to leadership 
  • If you have multiple projects, prioritize those that help streamline a process
  • Ensure open communication to have your project team on the same page
  • Build a diverse team. Rope in employees from different departments to help you improve a process
  • Be ready for contingencies. If something flares up, run some tests, adapt, and keep moving forward
  • Follow the project charter that defines your strategic goals, resources, timeline, and key metrics
  • Be in sync with the healthcare regulations and governance that can impact your program or project

You now have some no-fail tips under your belt.

What’s next?

Learn the best way to manage your healthcare projects!

The Best Way to Manage Healthcare Projects in 2021

If Dr. House wants to keep his hold on diagnostics and become a smart manager, he needs to be familiar with terms like sprint planning, agile and scrum, automated workflows, and more. 

He’d need to learn how to use a Gantt chart and kanban boards to visualize projects and improve his project management experience.

And more importantly, he’d have to learn to use project management software to implement all the industry jargons we just mentioned. 

good point

Like ClickUp!

Wait, what’s that?

clickup devices

ClickUp is a highly-rated project management software used by healthcare project managers and other productive teams worldwide

An agile tool like ClickUp can empower you and your project team to deliver faster results efficiently.  

Employ it to manage your organization, right from doctors to IT department to nurses and janitors. Use 1000+ integrations to visualize your project the way you want. 

However, what makes ClickUp truly fitting for your healthcare department is that it’s HIPAA Compliant (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). 

ClickUp complies with the Privacy Shield Framework and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). 

This means we ensure the highest security standards for all our clients. 

Moreover, ClickUp has a wide variety of project management features for free

Here’s how you can use ClickUp to make your healthcare project a success:

  • Dashboards: create a control center for your health care project and share it digitally with your health care team
  • Workload view: get a day-by-day visual of the tasks assigned to each team member. Monitor your team’s task load and re-allocate resources accordingly
  • Form view: create customizable patient forms using drag-and-drop supported fields. Use them to request Hospital IT support or patient feedback and choose where you want to send the form responses. Also, use hidden fields for patient information you already have
  • Timeline view: visualize your project in a linear way over time. Group timelines to plan work ahead. Also, create a public roadmap to keep project stakeholders up-to-date
  • Tasks Checklists: create to-do lists with subtasks and assign them to teammates. Allot Multiple Assignees for shared tasks
  • Docs: create and share project documents and SOPs for Doctors and nurses. Note patients’ daily vitals and other details in nested pages. You can also mention team members from nursing staff on duty and assign patients to medical specialists right from Docs
  • Custom Fields: select and add different task field options to track patient information quickly. 
  • Recurring Checklists: automate tasks like cleaning routines by creating janitorial checklists
  • Templates: manage your hospital administration with pre-defined templates. Create and reuse Checklist Templates to update health records, store forms, and manage patients without wasting time

And if these features weren’t enough to convince you to use ClickUp, check out why it’s the #1 healthcare project management software for your team.

Want to Keep Your Project Fit as a Fiddle? 

A health organization never sleeps, and neither should your healthcare management operations. 

And the only way to keep things awake and running (effortlessly) is with a project management software—like ClickUp!

This tool will keep your healthcare project’s heart beating.❤️

From accessing your hospital’s control center even when you are half asleep (thanks to long Doc-duty hours) to tracking your team’s workload in real-time, ClickUp can be a life-saver. 

Create customizable forms to fill up a patient’s insurance details, provide faster care with Automations, and create consistent processes with Templates.

ClickUp is indeed a panacea for all project management ailments. 

What’s holding you back? 

Get a free shot of ClickUp to keep your healthcare project immune to risks to help your patients better! 

ready to save some lives

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