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Project Managers' Top Tips for Successful Digital Transformation in Healthcare

Digital transformation projects are challenging and in the healthcare sector, with its complexities, risk aversion, and conservative nature, this process is even harder. 


But despite the challenges, our team at Open Medical has managed to successfully scale numerous transformative innovations within the industry. So we spoke with our project managers to gather their insights. 


Here are four essential elements they shared for delivering successful digital transformation projects in healthcare.

how to deliver digital transformation in healthcare
Image created by Open Medical © 2024 All Rights Reserved

1. A change management plan is essential

Start by conducting a comprehensive needs assessment to thoroughly understand the healthcare organisation's current systems, processes, and technology infrastructure. This helps in identifying their pain points, which will inform your strategy moving forward.


Then, it's vital to get everyone on board from the outset. Clear communication is key. Engage those who are enthusiastic about new digital ways of working; their enthusiasm can really drive the transformation process. 


And never underestimate the power of proper training. Many future issues stem from gaps in training, so ensure it is both engaging and comprehensive.


It is still inevitable that there will be stakeholders who are resistant to change, because, after all, who likes change? So make sure you identify them early on in the project and address their concerns.


2. Engage with your clients throughout the process

This includes organising in-person meetings, workshops, and maintaining constant communication. Use engaging materials to keep stakeholders informed and involve various departments—clinicians, administrators, and IT professionals—to ensure a holistic view of organisational needs and priorities.


Establish and maintain sufficient touchpoints. People tend to worry when they feel like they’re in the dark. So set up channels for client feedback and, most importantly, act on it. This will save a lot of time and frustration later on, and it will show clients that their input results in real change.

Lastly, always deliver on your promises, whether regarding the scope of the project or regular updates.  Not doing something you said you would will reduce trust very quickly.


3. You have to be organised 

Create a plan and a checklist to ensure all tasks are completed in advance to avoid any last-minute surprises. Collaborate with your team and stakeholders on this checklist to make sure everyone is on the same page, that no critical steps or dependencies are missed, and to address any problems or concerns immediately.


Make sure you have the right resources available, and if you're not comfortable with what's available, raise your concerns with the responsible party. Then, on the morning of the launch, hold a meeting to ensure everyone knows their role and who will be the escalation point for different issues.


4. Projects are busy and fast-paced, so take time for retrospectives

Retrospectives allow for self-reflection on what worked well and what could be improved. It also shows that you prioritise people over processes, giving project teams a chance to engage outside of their day-to-day tasks and reflect on actionable learnings. This practice improves communication and ensures alignment for future projects.


Ideally, have someone who wasn't involved in the project chair the retrospective—possibly someone from the client's side. And once conducted, the retrospectives must be forwarded to the department responsible. There is no point in doing one if the issues are not corrected. Conversely, positive feedback should also be shared.


Always review how the retrospective went and continuously refine your approach to these meetings. This iterative process helps maintain a dynamic and responsive project environment.


 

By focusing on these four themes—change management, client engagement, launch readiness, and post-project retrospectives—you can navigate the complexities of digital transformation in healthcare more readily and achieve lasting success.

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