eral tactics I use to manage large implementations:
Ask the team to prioritize issues.
Address the highs first, then later address the medium and
Provide weekly status reports with green, yellow, and red
indicators to show a quick view of progress.
Graph open versus closed issues and other key indicators
so the team could easily see and enjoy progress.
Key stakeholders were also given green, yellow, and red indicator
status reports showing progress, successes, and blockers. Big blockers may require advance verbal communication with executives.
Finally, as an HIM professional it is important to earn trust of
project sponsors, key executives, and business owners early in
the project. Listen and be responsive. When large issues arise,
you’ll have a bank of trust, and key stakeholders will help remove barriers or grant forgiveness when human errors occur.
Carey: The biggest challenge for our project was conveying
the need for HIM to establish a contact center. Many across our
organization had no idea of the volume and variety of inquiries
received by HIM on a daily basis until we produced call volume
reports. Solid data is a proven ally for HIM professionals during
Sturm: The biggest challenge within ROI is ensuring the privacy and security of our patients’ health information. Both state
and federal regulations have a tremendous impact on our ROI
operations along with the policies and procedures we create.
With the implementation scope reaching multiple states, our
tools had to account for state and federal differences or be fluid
to plug in specific state verbiage where required.
Rose: Provide three important lessons learned that other
HIM professionals should know.
Biesboer: The three main lessons learned during my repeated
experiences as an enterprise-wide project manager include:
1. Keep people motivated by providing concise, timely, and honest communication. Inject fun into your discussions and keep
the current status in front of stakeholders according to a regular schedule, providing the degree of detail they need.
2. Earn trust through realistic expectations and transparency.
If difficulties are expected, prepare the team ahead of time.
3. Guide the team toward their stated goals. When you run
into blockers, review your options. Objectively provide the
background, options, rationale, and a recommended direction to maintain forward progress.
Carey: The most significant lesson learned is to avoid bringing assumptions to the table. Remain open-minded and validate
your expectations. When I was the project manager for our EHR’s
operating room, nursing, and HIM modules, I mistakenly assumed that IT resources understood HIM. Looking back, I should
have educated my peers who were managing other parts of the
project regarding the tenets of HIM. This would have facilitated
HIM operations leaders’ attempts to maintain decision-making
regarding the electronic record configurations and policy.
I also suggest conducting reference calls with organizations
using any technology you are considering. HIM needs differ
from those of other departments. Current users can suggest
ways to configure applications to best meet your needs and save
valuable implementation time and resources. Perform as a proj-
ect manager with HIM knowledge. Project managers are valu-
able when they have subject matter expertise and can develop
subsidiary plans within the overall project management plan.
Sturm: It’s important to have the right stakeholders at the ta-
ble when starting a project. Due diligence should be conducted
to map out all areas of the project and determine vested parties.
Having the right team on board provides for a productive group
of multidisciplinary professionals with varying expertise.
With a multiphase project, such as a system rollout, identify
lessons learned during each phase. When possible, incorpo-
rate those lessons into the next phase for a stronger outcome.
As your timeline allows, be flexible and don’t hesitate to post-
pone a go-live if critical goals are not yet achieved.
Communicate often with your project team and stakeholders.
For HIM-driven projects, it’s critical that the local HIM director
communicates with key constituents or peers. Establish regular
meeting schedules during the course of the project or expand
your schedule if necessary. Disseminate project management
tools such as timelines and meeting minutes to the project team.
Regularly review the project plan to monitor progress compared
with the overall timelines. ¢
Angela Rose ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is director of client relations and account
management at MRO.
Using HIM Skills to Lead
Quiz ID: Q1828902 | EXPIRATION DATE: FEBRUARY 1, 2019
HIM Domain Area: Management Development
Article—“Using HIM Skills to Lead Enterprise-Wide Projects: An
Review Quiz Questions and Take the Quiz Based
on this Article Online at
Note: AHIMA CE quizzes have moved to an online-only format.
Susan Carey, MHI, RHIT, PMP, FAHIMA, system director of HIM at Norton
Healthcare (center; in yellow), leads a team meeting reviewing various enterprise-wide projects slated on her organization’s HIM Program Dashboard.