Management of HIT Projects: Lessons Learned from a Literature Review
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The rapid growth of information technology (IT), combined with provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, have led to a paradigm shift in healthcare documentation and recordkeeping, resulting in widespread implementation of healthcare information technology (HIT). Successful integration of HIT requires an artful blend of traditional project management techniques with the distinctive theories of change and IT administration (Coplan & Masuda, 2011). As a future leader in the field of nursing informatics, it is inevitable that I will be taking an active role in managing HIT projects. In this paper, I describe my personal insights into the unique process of technological change implementation in the healthcare industry.
Much can be learned from the experience of others; and, for that reason, I elected to review the implementation practices of three healthcare organizations. In 2006, Jefferson University Physicians (JUP) began the adoption of the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), a pay-for-performance (P4P) initiative offered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) (Berman et al., 2013). Since this project was one of the early attempts at integrating HIT, their analysis of the process provides an excellent example of traditional project management techniques. Similarly, the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) took part in a pilot project in 2007 to evaluate the benefits of creating a hybrid database of clinical and administrative data (Pine et al., 2012). However, this project involved an in-depth analysis of interoperability and, thereby, describes various IT management approaches. Lastly, the electronic health record (EHR) implementation process of Glide Health Services (GHS), a nurse-managed health center (NMHC), was selected to depict the value of including change management practices (Dennehy et al., 2011).
Considerations for Managing HIT Projects
Although the text of the Project Management Institute (PMI, 2013) purports itself to be a guide, and not “applied uniformly to all projects” (p. 2); I find that the traditional methods described are incompatible with the capriciousness and cultural complexities associated with HIT projects. Coplan and Masuda (2011) suggest the incorporation of change and IT management practices to facilitate projects the unpredictable world of healthcare. In addition, I assert, and will illustrate in the following sections that the careful consideration of what I refer to as the 3Cs (communication, collaboration, and compassion) further enables the fluid completion of HIT projects.
It is undeniable that effective communication is a prerequisite for the successful completion of any project.