ments, answer care-related questions from clinicians
and train end users to leverage the technology. “
Having her on board made a huge difference and ensured
the technology was actually used after the project
was implemented,” Ms. Sasportes says.
HCL Avitas found clinical involvement equally
powerful during its EHR implementation project.
By consulting doctors, the team found that healthcare providers care a lot about how much time a
new IT tool will take them to use. “Doctors don’t
want to spend more than a couple minutes on the
technology while they are with patients,” Mr. Sarojani says. “That means asking how much we can do
in two minutes” rather than just focusing on delivering features, he says.
Clinical integration is so important that Mr.
Sarojani created a clinical-technology-management
office, or steering committee, to govern healthcare
IT projects, which functions like a project management office (PMO). The office consists of a
manager; early adopters, or “champion users,” from
each of the company’s clinics; and a senior clinical
leader to serve as a liaison to the company’s chief
medical officer. Members of the steering committee
assist with setup requirements and implementation,
clinician training and general health IT evangelism.
“Without champion users within the clinical sys-
tem, healthcare IT projects are always going to be
seen as technology initiatives. We want them to be
seen as clinical team initiatives,” says Mr. Sarojani.
The steering committee faced some initial growing
pains but is now yielding significant results. “Clini-
cians are not used to being managed within a cor-
porate project system, so there was initial pushback.
Once we got the right clinicians on the team, though,
the whole PMO concept definitely began to work.”
Integrating clinicians into the core of projects does
more than just meet users’ needs. It also helps with
overall stakeholder management. “With IT projects,
sometimes people feel that a project is being done to
them,” Ms. Sasportes says. “But when you have some-
one on the project representing their interests, stake-
holders have the feeling that the project is being done
with them. That makes them more likely to embrace
the technology once it’s rolled out.”
That thinking applies to all the various stakeholder
groups involved in healthcare IT projects. “We have to
engage not only the doctors and the nurses, but also
the finance department, the insurance department,
the human resources department and stakeholders—
because they’re all end users who are going to use the
systems we’re implementing,” says Wael Al Hudhud,
former IT manager at King’s College Hospital Clinics
in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Even patients have a role to play. “On healthcare
IT projects you have three big groups of stakeholders: patients, clinical staff and management,” Ms.
Sasportes says. “To ensure success you need to have
stakeholder involvement from all three groups.”
PRIVACY BY DESIGN
Clearly, close attention to stakeholders from the
outset pays off—and the same is true with security
risks. With sensitive patient medical data often in
the mix, healthcare IT project leaders need to be up
to speed on organizational and legal requirements.
Ms. Miller can attest to this. A current project
to collect data from children’s hospitals on the
treatment of a serious illness took nine months to
“No one can
but a good
—Wael Al Hudhud,
formerly of King’s
Clinics, Abu Dhabi,
United Arab Emirates