How to Avoid Another IT Project Failure

By John Lynch | October 16, 2018

You have likely heard the myth that humans only use 10 percent of their potential brain power. Thankfully, scientists have debunked that myth in recent years, but the concept is alarming.

What if it were true? What if we truly only had access to 10 percent of our potential?

The thought is disturbing and leaves one wondering, “How can I access more of what is right there waiting to be unleashed?”

Sadly, many healthcare providers fall victim to this exact scenario with their information technology solutions. Without fully understanding the potential of the IT solutions they have implemented, many hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices are running on bare-bones versions of the tools.

The result can be catastrophic for efficiency, for financial stability, and for internal processes and staff morale.

Luckily, there is a solution for tapping in to the full potential of your electronic health records, data analytics, patient portals, communications systems, and other applications.

The Reality of IT Projects

In 2008, a research study found that 68 percent of IT projects fail. In 2013, another study revealed that “50 percent of businesses surveyed had experienced an IT project failure within the previous 12 months.”

In a recent study, “55 percent of the 126 IT professionals surveyed between January and March 2015 reported they had a project fail.”

In each of these studies, researchers found that the project failure was most often due to:

  • Resource allocation
  • Aligning the project and resources with business goals
  • Putting initial costs before outcome success

Despite their desire to save money by using internal resources to execute on a new IT project, many companies in these studies ended up “consuming in excess of 160% of estimated budget” and “taking over 180% of target time to deliver.”

To make matters worse, many of these companies delivered “under 70% of the target required functionality.”

In other words, not bringing in the right experts to do the job costs companies more money, more time, and the end result is a sub-par product.

The Biggest Cost

My team and I work with many healthcare organizations to rectify IT project mishaps. While a loss of revenue and time spent on failed projects is dire, there is an even bigger cost to companies that go about implementing new IT solutions the wrong way:

Diminished staff morale and lower quality of patient care.

When a new healthcare application is implemented poorly and internal staff members – such as physicians, PAs, nurses, or practice administrators – are not trained properly in how to use the product, there is often a deflating perception that the software is just not good enough to meet the needs of the team. This leads to frustration, tension, and inefficiency.

Unfortunately, these negative outcomes often trickle down to the patient in the form of longer patient wait times, failure to receive adequate information, and overall poor quality of care.

Project Manager Mishaps

One of the primary reasons why internal applications of software implementations fail is that healthcare facilities turn to the wrong resources for project management. While current staff members are often talented at running operations with many moving parts, handling complex communications, and bringing a team of healthcare professionals together to serve patients, they are not often adept at implementing healthcare IT solutions, training staff how to use the new software, and maximizing efficient use of the product.

Similarly, on-site IT professionals may be impressively proficient at setting up elaborate networking systems, local servers, and security protocols, however, most networking experts and systems administrators are unfamiliar with robust clinical solutions such as EHRs and data analytics software.

Yet, many healthcare facilities turn to their team leaders, administrative staff, or IT staff when implementing and optimizing a new healthcare solution. Not only do internal staff members rarely have the expertise to maximize the potential of a given application, but also they often do not have the time to dedicate themselves fully to such a massive project while also keeping up with their day to day tasks.

Just as you would not call in a neurologist to perform thoracic surgery, it is a grave misstep to ask internal staff members to take on the responsibility of project management and successful implementation of specialized IT projects.

Rather, a more prudent strategy would be to keep your valuable internal team in their current positions and bring in external help for the short-term project of implementing a new solution and training staff members on how to use the new system to its fullest potential.

Do the Job Right – Once

The failure of IT projects may not be readily obvious to individuals who are not entirely sure what their new solution is fully capable of offering. Signs that your healthcare IT project has not been successful include:

  • Low reimbursement success rate
  • Physician dissatisfaction
  • Frustrated team members
  • Long patient wait times
  • Patient dissatisfaction
  • Miscommunication between team members, patients, pharmacies, and stakeholders

Rather than forcing your talented internal team to turn away from their core skills and take on a new, potentially costly project, bring in the expert consultants who have the knowledge and skills necessary to make your solution a success from the start.

Healthcare IT consultants have expertise in:

  • Organizational analysis
  • Needs-based assessment
  • Budget adherence
  • Risk management
  • Organizational skills
  • Timeline management
  • Multi-level project management
  • Applying external resources when needed
  • Establishing accountability with everyone from the C-suite to the staff, vendors, and even board members, if necessary

Desired Outcomes & More

At John Lynch & Associates, we have seen first-hand how implementing a clinical solution from a strategic, expert level has helped our clients. Some of the most common outcomes include:

  • Obtaining more thorough and complete patient information
  • Maintaining accurate patient health records
  • Improved accuracy in diagnosis and procedure codes
  • More accurate claims and billing processes
  • Improved reimbursement
  • Increased physician and staff morale
  • An improved sense of teamwork and collaboration
  • Stronger and more efficient communication

One of the most rewarding benefits we help our clients achieve is establishing a system that allows physicians, PAs, and clinicians to practice to the top of their licenses.

In other words, we help each staff member work to the top of his or her ability, which creates greater efficiency within the entire organizational ecosystem.

For example, if a physician is doing work that a PA or administrator can do, then that physician is not making the best use of his or her time.

With front office staff working to the top of their ability, and nurses and PAs doing the same, this takes a significant burden off of physicians and frees up valuable time and energy that can be allocated to improved quality of patient care.

While it may be difficult to envision how something as technical as executing an IT clinical solution successfully can affect something as personal as the quality of care patients receive, the connection runs deep.

The IT systems we rely on every day allow us to serve patients better, more efficiently, and with greater dedication, which is precisely why my team and I are dedicated to advancing healthcare through consulting excellence.

If you have a valuable IT project on the horizon, reach out to us today to find out if your healthcare organization could benefit from expert consulting, project management, and IT solution innovation.

Phone Number

(623) 980-8018

Mailing Address

PO Box 11651 Glendale, AZ 85318-1651