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Project Diagnosis

December 1, 2010
by Bobbie Byrne
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Will the requests never end???

The other day, I was getting on an elevator after a meeting with our ED physician informaticist. I was complaining about how, if we did not get our Careworks project done soon, I was going to pull my hair out. Even though the organization pledges undying support for the massive Meditech install, my comrades continue to request more projects.

“It is just a billing interface..”

“My project will save the hospital $100K..”

On and on and on, the requests keep coming.

Additionally, we have tried to stem the requests for static operational reports that get printed. Currently, we have over 600 report requests. Except for yearly reports, if a report has not been run within a year, then it is pretty hard for me to accept that that particular report is a key part of running our business. (A similar thing could be said about a manager on a month-long vacation. If the organization can do without you for a month, then perhaps the organization can do without you…)

Of course, I really cannot blame the other VPs for making IT requests. This project has been going on for over a year. and we just took a six month delay. There is only so much delayed gratification the organization can tolerate. Our install is essentially “like-for-like,” and it is pretty hard to rally around that battle cry.

I also cannot really complain about the report requests. We are moving their cheese, and they do not like it. (That does not mean that I am going to comply with all the requests, but I don’t blame them for asking.)

So here is my plight. I want a fast-forward button—to jump over all this slogging through the pain—and get to go-live day. I know that the team feels the same way. They hate saying “no” to projects. Heck, they went into IT because they like to push it to the next level—keep moving and improving. It is “all Careworks, all the time”.

So, back to the elevator and pouring out my problems to Dr. Lee. He politely cuts me off and says,

“Oh, you just have project constipation.”

I laughed, as he was precisely correct, eloquent in a blunt manner typical of ED docs!

We are all bound up. I know that we are going to get there—time will work it out—but I can’t help asking, myself: does anyone have a project enema??

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Comments

Nice. New initiatives have a double edged sword. people are excited about the possibilities and are constantly coming up with new ways of improving the process. The flip side is you have the Triple Constraint: Cost-Scope-Schedule.
I hate to say no as well, so I have a forum (or Parking Lot) that gets accumulated during the project. Stuff outside the scope is captured. After go-live, everyone starts asking, "What's next?" Then I show them the parking lot list. Prioritize, budget and move on to Phase II. No Dulcolax needed.

Bobbie Byrne

Vice President for Health Information Technology at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill

Bobbie Byrne M.D. writes about being a community hospital CIO all the while trying to figure out...