Why CIOs and project managers need to better understand each other's turf
A frequent complaint healthcare CIOs share is that there are not enough qualified project managers to take on the heavy load of health IT projects. But said problem is not as simple as it may seem.
“There is a need to develop healthcare leaders and project managers who understand the complexities surrounding healthcare, and also to cross-train the healthcare leaders so they better understand what the project management discipline is all about as well as a little bit about software development,” said Richard Verrill, executive consultant at Enterprise Resource Performance Inc.
Verrill said that will be the thrust of his session at HIMSS17 in Orlando during February, 2017.
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“We had a collaboration between the Virginia Chapter of HIMSS and the four Project Management Institute chapters within the state; it was the response to a perceived need, and how we approached the collaboration and the lessons we learned about developing leaders across professional associations will be discussed,” Verrill explained.
The collaboration featured two audiences: novices trying to break into healthcare, and, experienced project managers already working in healthcare who wanted to better understand the complexities around healthcare delivery and improve their project management skills.
“We were expecting going into the collaboration that we would get a lot of healthcare administrators to better understand the project management discipline,” Verrill said. “Instead we had seasoned project managers coming who needed to better understand the healthcare industry they were working in. A lesson we learned is that we hear the CIOs and CTOs crying they need health IT project managers, but the project managers are not receiving the training and support from their organizations.”
Project management is a critical skill and crucial need in healthcare; the majority of health IT work now is done through projects with cross-functional project teams that must be collaborative, and people do better work when they understand the context they are working in, Verrill said.
“So while CIOs and CTOs are saying they are having problems finding qualified people, the fact is they are not making the investments they need to train and develop people,” he added. “They are crying, ‘Poor me, I cannot find all the people I need to do all the projects I have.’ But they are not investing the resources to address the need. And we’ve seen this reinforced when we have gone recruiting.”
The session “Developing Health IT Leaders: A Statewide Collaboration” is scheduled for February 22, 2017, at 11:30 a.m.in Room 208C.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.