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Deploying Complex Technology: How Utilizing Best Practice Methodology Enables a Total Programmatic Approach


Craig Jaffe - Senior Program Delivery Leader, Digital & Integrated Solutions Delivery, GE Healthcare

It can be challenging to seamlessly integrate multiple technologies and workflows to optimize solutions to advance towards a single goal.

Establishing an enterprise solution level program manager lends an additional level of rigor to connect the dots and drive One Total Solution to effectively deploy complex solutions and enable enhanced outcomes.

Over the past several years healthcare organizations have turned towards technology to address gaps in care, optimize workflows, and reduce human error.

The current marketplace has a plethora of tools available for healthcare organizations to purchase, customize, and deploy. However, it is not uncommon for singular vendor technology to address specific symptoms of a systematic problem rather than the root cause of the core issue.

In this instance healthcare organizations may purchase solutions from several vendors and layer internal processes and technology on top to close the gap, enhance a workflow, and remove human error.

In the circumstance of a multi-vendor solution, healthcare organizations may be assigned specific vendor project managers and other resources to accomplish a product’s tasks for implementation.

To no fault, each vendor’s primary objective is to deploy their product in the best way they see fit to meet their use case. In this scenario, healthcare organizations may lose focus on the enterprise integrated solution they are looking to solve as each vendor works within a vacuum of their individual problem statement.

In addition, vendor resources may compete for meeting times, collateral, and overall capacity from the customer as it relates to their individual initiatives. It is important to not lose sight of the forest between the trees.

To solve for this inefficiency, organizations can utilize total program management methodology. This methodology is enabled when a single point of contact centralizes tasks and develops cross product dependencies for program activation.

All program resources such as product project managers, product technical & clinical resources, and support resources roll up into the single program manager. Providing a healthcare organization with a single point of contact for complex program delivery is a best practice.

At any given moment during deployment, the customer can depend on a single individual to answer or solve an array of questions. Likewise, when issues arise within a vendor action, an escalation to the singular program lead will occur and be tracked.

The program manager can filter through the situation, background, actions, and recommendations to determine the proper message that will be provided to the customer.

The main purpose of the program’s single program manager is to ensure, always, the individual product work rolls up to support the overall solution.

Organizations like GE utilize program management software along with an enterprise solution-based program manager to drive all aspects of program delivery.

The foundational methodology of total program management is the construction of a project schedule with a cross-product dependency matrix and a RAID (Risk, Action, Issue, Decision) log.  

The program schedule provides the single enterprise program manager line of site into all how tasks relate and depend on one another within and between vendor products, desired workflow, and customer initiatives.

In real time, when change occurs in the delivery of action items, the project schedule will automatically show the impact. From this point the program manager can quickly assess mitigation options and determine a go forward strategy with the customer.

Understanding how all products relate within the project lifecycle allows different levers to be pulled to efficiently manage the project.

The RAID log identifies and tracks program blockers that may halt progress. GE Healthcare, for example, utilizes a framework called SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) to vet issue/risk, act, and notate resolution.

To ensure a documented risk or issue is not repeated, GE Healthcare tracks root cause and lessons learned. Not only is this beneficial in terms of the project, the organization can utilize the RAID logs of many projects to understand areas of opportunity and address them with process improvement.

This enables total program management to continuously enhance overtime.

Lastly, GE Healthcare can merge and report out on key factors of the program with customer executive leadership via a program dashboard.

The program dashboard is a live document that is connected to both the program schedule and RAID log. When items fluctuate within either tool, the dashboard automatically updates in real time.

At any point in time customers can open a link and understand milestone progress, upcoming tasks, and risks/issues. The customer can share this dashboard within all levels of the organization for program visibility.

Methodology for a total programmatic approach with the use of technology enable seamless activation of complex multi-vendor solutions.

With one main contact serving as the lead, customers will always be aware of program status, risk and issue mitigation and resolution plans, and visibility to the ideal outcome envisioned.