Lean Project Management In Healthcare

A Patient-Physician Centered Methodology For A Modern Medical Practice


Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Medical practice, healthcare, overall, is a high-stake project with multiple facets and determinants. Unlike many industries, such as Software as a service (SAAS) or medical devices, the medical practice's quality and efficiency rely on many variables and determinants. The complexity of managing a medical Practice is increasing by the year. The larger organizations, by trait, are familiar with such complexity merely owing to the scope of responsibilities and size. However, in recent years after the advancement of the merit-based physician reimbursement model, smaller independent clinics are also facing similar challenges.

Despite the overwhelming reluctance of mainstream physicians to adopt a more comprehensive practice management model (or project management methodology), they must realize their mistake.

The traditional medical clinic management is becoming outdated, while relatively speaking, smaller systems must follow similar guidelines set by the current healthcare policies for their peers in large organizations.

In today's healthcare arena, utilizing a project management methodology is more than just an option for independent physicians. But then again, choosing the correct method carries its challenges.

In my past writings, I tried to shine a light on the Agile project management methodology and its utility in medical practice. At the moment, I plan to discuss another pervasive project management scheme and shed light on some of its potential and pitfalls.

The Concept of Project and Project Management in Medical Practice

Today, practicing medicine is fierce, as the stakes are loftier. Like other institutions, such as hospitals that are familiar with practicing effective project management, they too will benefit from lower costs and improved outcomes.

In medical practice, patient well-being remains a distinctive element of the project, which makes it further complicated — and crucial. Investing in something that will assure increased revenue, decrease costs, and maintain compliance is worth the price and effort to make sure it's done right; because the clinics and patients using it will invariably prosper.

Physicians that exercise powerful project management will benefit from lower costs and improved outcomes.

As trivial as it may sound, defining the phrase "project" is one of the critical strides a medical practice requires to put up with- when initiating the project management practice within their walls. If not defined appropriately, a project can unwittingly become puzzling because everyone may speculate that everybody else typifies it identically where it is not necessarily true. Indeed, anything could be classified as a project. Yet the project differs from a task, program, or strategy. For simplicity, every physician should create a comprehensive, particular portrayal of what is interpreted as a project. However, In contrast to a program or objective, one necessary criterion of a project is that it must have a start and end date. Therefore, it compels project management discipline to control and coordinate the beginning, the end, and everything that transpires. A typical project should again have an accountable owner and a fiscal appropriation. A fund implies tangible reserves allocated to this project.

The Four Stages of Project Management

It's always convenient to assume that there is a necessity to "redesign the way our medical practice works or launch a project to enhance the billing process. But to be effective, plans must go from a one-sentence hypothesis to an entirely governed system.

There are many methodologies to establish optimal project management tools; however, irrespective of the choice of the scheme; all approaches implicate the following four foundational stages:

Initiation- Defines the approved scope of the project, including projected costs, outcomes, and risks.

Planing includes designing each step of the project, establishing deadlines, formulating a budget, and appointing responsibilities. The planning phase includes making decisions on measuring the project's progress and return on investment.

Execution and monitoring- This is the start of committing to the steps summarized in the planning phase. This stage is dedicated to tracking and measuring progress regularly to ensure the project is en route. Managers adjust the project plan, schedule, and budget during the execution phase to minimize negative ramifications. This phase is unique in medical practice management, as there are added layers of stakeholders who want to sign off on every aspect of the process.

Closure- Properly concluding a project is done in the closure stage. That is done by creating a document that summarizes outcomes, deliverables, and lessons learned. Hence, evaluating particular circumstances with leadership and the project team will improve the project management process in the prospect.

The typical Challenges particular to Medical Practice and Healthcare

In real life, every organization engages in some project management. The latter can refer to a highly systematic scheme and well-resourced or haphazard and bootstrapped.

Project management in medical practice has unicity as it takes complicatedness and obstacles to an entirely different level. Some of the significant rationales that make healthcare much harder to manage versus other industries include:

High Stakes

There are harsher implications if projects go over budget or off schedule because patients' well-being may be stuck. Any mistake or lack of process can potentially hurt patients.

Hefty Regulation

Currently, there's a sharp requirement to protect sensitive patient information. To ensure that, facilities tend to add layers of consent, often necessitating sign-off by the practice administration, local, and national administrations. This leads to more compound ventures and more rigorous project management requirements. The healthcare industry confronts more legislation than other sectors, together with HIPPA's patient confidentiality laws.

Surging Expenses

The proportion of insureds anywhere in the world is the highest it's ever been. The increased need for healthcare with soaring costs has put more burden on the healthcare industry and medical practices to deliver discreet, high-quality services. Finding the balance between efficiency and quality places even more importance on the need for proper project management.

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