While most organisations at some stage or other engage in project management activities, project management in the healthcare industry has certain unique features. The most obvious feature which sets this activity apart in the healthcare industry is that in healthcare, the stakes are significantly higher. We are dealing with issues that could affect the well-being—and survival—of people, our patients.
A project differs from a strategy or an objective or a program in that it has a start and end date (with activities in between), a project leader who is accountable for its progress, and a budget sufficient to achieve its goals. It is important that all stakeholders are aware of these three criteria and are consulted at each step of the project’s progress.
Project management in the healthcare industry is particularly complex because if projects go over budget or off-schedule, this could impact on patients’ level of care. There may, for example, be ethical and legal issues should the security of patient confidentiality be compromised through a project to store patient data electronically.