Role and Responsibilities of a Healthcare Project Manager

Date: 07/09/2021| Category: Project Management|

The medical sector is moving at a fast pace. Thanks to the particular health situation in recent years, the technological innovations and the increased numbers of consumers, the healthcare industry has grown exponentially. People are needed to organize and manage that growth.

However, large healthcare projects in general are daunting. Organisations notoriously postpone initiating large-scale projects due to the vast scope and potential for overwhelm – despite knowing how critical upgrades are to an organisation’s success. The role of Project Manager in this industry is therefore very complex and difficult.

Read this article to find out about the role, key skills and training needed to become a project manager in the healthcare sector.

Read now: Healthcare Project Management: Challenges and Benefits

Healthcare Project Management: a growing trend

The healthcare industry is a unique and complex industry with many stakeholders, including doctors and nurses, insurers, patients, and software vendors. Over recent years, it has grown rapidly due to a number of factors: there is a huge need for someone to manage, organize, and monitor all these projects.

The type of public health work where project management might be relevant includes the following:

  • Vaccination and immunization programs
  • Outreach about telemedicine programs available through healthcare organisations
  • The establishment or adjustment of policies for governmental health programs
  • The creation or adjustment of programs to prevent communicable diseases

For these reasons, and others, experts in the field expect that the figure of the project manager will tend to grow in the hospital sector. However, there are clear signs that there will be an increasing general demand for project managers in the coming years.

What does a healthcare project manager do?

The Healthcare Project Manager is responsible for the day-to-day coordination and efficient operation of a healthcare program. On the initiation of a new project, it is their responsibility to come up with a detailed project plan and solution for the problem that might arise.

When a new project is launched, the Project Manager develops a detailed project plan and is responsible for coming up with a solution to any problems that arise. They are responsible for regular coordination and operation within the process.

They oversee healthcare projects from start to finish, monitoring and reporting on the progress throughout the process. They also supervise and direct all team members involved in the project.

While that may sound a bit simplistic, it really is not. This project manager must be a person with a strong understanding of the industry itself as well as training in the basic techniques of project management.

Part of being a project manager is also being able to identify issues, provide solutions, delegate tasks and monitor progress to stay on schedule and on budget.

What are the skills needed for a project manager in health care?

If you are looking to work in the healthcare field as a project manager, it can help to have an undergraduate degree in a related field, such as health administration or health management.

It also helps to get a PM certification, as it is becoming increasingly required when healthcare companies post for these positions. While a certification is not mandatory, it does give a strong foundation in the basics of project management. As healthcare continues to grow and change, the need for specialized project managers continues.

A project manager quickly becomes the center of activity and change. They will have to handle stressful situations and stay calm in any condition.

Some of the desired qualities and skills are:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Flexibility
  • Multitasking skills

You also need to develop a nuanced understanding of the following:

  • Working in an unusual market, where insurance coverage and other variables make the buyer and seller relationships different than in many markets
  • How a range of healthcare stakeholders will want to be involved in many projects
  • The increased regulation of the healthcare industry

Responsibilities of a healthcare project manager

Project management can help improve processes across broad categories of work in healthcare organisations.

Areas where they can help include the following:

  • Managing Tasks
  • Managing Staff Time
  • Managing Resources
  • Managing Change

Managing Tasks
The work of many health care specialists is dependent on the work of others. Some tasks must be completed before other tasks can begin. Project management can help improve systems and processes to ensure that they are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Managing Staff Time
You work with healthcare professionals to improve the efficiency and quality of the delivery output/healthcare services. Having the appropriate health care staff available at the right time is essential for providing quality care. Project management can help ensure appropriate scheduling and time management for all staff members. Of course, regular communication with department heads and staff are essential.

Managing Resources
Project management can ensure that your healthcare organisation is effectively and efficiently allocating the resources it needs to do its job. You also have to manage the budget of a healthcare facility like managing patient fees and billing, overhead costs.

Managing Change
Employees in many industries — including the healthcare industry — resist change. Project management can help communicate and implement change in a way that leads to less resistance from staff. Furthermore, stay ahead to changes to new laws and regulations to ensure whether the healthcare facilities comply with the rules and regulations.

How Much Do Healthcare Project Managers Make?

According to the study conducted by PMI and entitled ‘Earning Power, Project Management Salary Survey, Eleventh Edition’, the average salary of 539 respondents is 132,086 in US dollars.

Project Managers whose expertise span anywhere between ten and fifteen years on average get a salary that is 24% more than someone with five to ten years of experience. Additionally, higher education equals a bigger salary.

How do I become a healthcare project manager?

Education that you will or may need includes the following:

  • Undergraduate degree related to health administration, public health administration, nursing, economics, or business administration
  • Advanced degree in similar fields

Beyond their undergraduate or graduate degrees, many project managers take part in ongoing training to improve their skills and gain certain certifications in project management.

Specific certifications in project management are awarded. The most used certifications in healthcare sector in Belgium are the following:

  • PMP
  • PRINCE2
  • HERMES 5
  • AgilePM

Some healthcare project managers also have certifications in various healthcare disciplines and specialties.

If healthcare project management sounds like something you would excel at and enjoy, then contact us. We will be happy to understand your needs and advise you on your training or consulting path to achieve your goals.

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