Perfect Timing: Project Management Helps Navigate IT, Construction Plans for New Hospital
Not all construction problems involve projects that are running behind schedule. Jobs that are beating the clock can be just as disruptive, especially when construction and information technology (IT) schedules don’t align.
That was the case when a mild winter in the Northeast helped speed up construction of a brand-new, 650,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art hospital, pushing completion to eight months ahead of schedule. This left management with little time to plan and implement the new hospital’s many IT systems.
The clock was ticking, and hospital management needed to act quickly to avoid expensive move-in delays. Management realized that the project’s complexity, scope, and intensity required an experienced project management team from outside the organization. They engaged Integrated Project Management Inc. (IPM) to execute program and project management throughout the construction process, with IPM leading the IT program rollout and managing several discrete system implementations.
COORDINATING A STRATEGY
After an initial analysis, IPM determined that most of the IT program’s 25 interdependent system implementation projects shared the same resource pool, and each project’s schedule was influenced by interdependencies with the construction team’s activities. Since construction had already begun, the IT team was forced to evaluate technologies while finalizing the building infrastructure detail. Working closely with the hospital team, IPM developed and implemented several critical elements to help lead the project to a successful completion:
- Program leadership and schedule management
A master program schedule helped the IT team orchestrate the many activities and resources associated with each of the 25 interdependent projects. IPM developed and coordinated the program schedule, and managed the implementation of IT infrastructure, patient monitoring, and clinical system workstreams.
- Resource management
Detailed IT and project management resource requirements helped the hospital understand resource shortages and respond with augmentation strategies and PM allocation.
- Communication management
Stakeholders and IPM collaborated to define core system requirements. Additionally, IPM became the point of contact and objective third party for many of the IT vendors, and the contact for the construction team, helping to prepare the IT team for upcoming construction milestones.
- Budget management
Partnering with the IT project sponsors, the construction team, and the construction project lead, IPM managed the IT program budget, including vendor selection, vendor contracts, and expense tracking.
- Integrated technologies
IPM managed the complex integrations that each vendor’s technology presented during planning and implementation.
A SUCCESSFUL OPENING
After synchronizing the construction and IT schedules, the project realized improvements almost immediately. Before the hospital opened, the team met two major dry-run milestones prior to “go-live” that mimicked day-to-day operations. This enabled the team to test system integrations and allowed end users to become more familiar with the many new systems and protocols.
Despite the compressed timeline, the hospital successfully completed the IT program implementation ahead of schedule and avoided hospital move-in delays. The hospital successfully implemented all IT systems that were planned for go-live and required for hospital operations by the patient move-in day.
FOLLOWING THE WORKSTREAMS
A new hospital construction project has many moving parts which must be coordinated to successfully meet deadlines. Some key examples include:
- IT infrastructure
- Network connectivity
- Data center
- Computers and printers
- Security systems
- Patient monitoring and imagery equipment
- Clinical systems
- Nurse call system
- Real-time location system
- Instant, hands-free voice communication