The demand for healthcare project management jobs has skyrocketed over the past ten years. These jobs were in high demand prior to the pandemic, and now healthcare organizations can hardly keep up with the innovation and transformation required of them. From meeting new quality regulations to creating emergency preparedness plans, project management skills are increasingly valuable in healthcare management roles.
What is healthcare project management?
Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities in order to achieve goals. Health systems, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical groups, insurance companies, and healthcare vendors all employ project managers to support their business transformation initiatives.
Project managers are aware of the process groups and how they impact the project. These processes are:
- Project Scope Management
- Project Quality Management
- Project Stakeholder Management
- Project Communication Management
- Project Time Management
- Project Cost Management
- Project Resources Management
- Organizational Change Management
- Project Procurement Management
- Project Risk Management
Each of these process groups has unique tools and techniques, and require specific skills to manage and execute successfully.
COVID-19’s effect on project management
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted numerous aspects of our healthcare delivery system that require improvement — and new challenges mean new projects. The pandemic was also the catalyst in speeding up certain healthcare projects, most notably virtual care. What once was a telehealth project that may have spanned several years had to be fast-tracked to reach completion within weeks or months in order to sustain business continuity and meet patient needs.
In addition to telehealth, the pandemic escalated projects around supply chain, workforce adaptability, primary care, and mental health, just to name a few.
How can project management skills help you?
With many healthcare projects currently underway and more in the pipeline, now is a great time to acquire project management skills. Having these skills allows you to excel in your current role and assume additional responsibilities that may be required for the next level in your career growth.
Project management skills are also highly transferable across other departments or even other industries, though it’s beneficial to understand how project management is essential to the specific role and industry you are working in.
In addition to career and salary advancement opportunities, these skills often help you to understand the bigger picture and strategic positioning of your company, providing greater job satisfaction.
Examples of healthcare projects
From scheduling shift work and planning community vaccination to creating a new homepage or developing a new sales process, we all tackle projects regularly in our roles — even if we might not currently call them ‘projects’. For larger projects, where much is at stake, it’s essential that all process groups are carefully analyzed. Implementing a new software or building a new hospital require strong project management skills and the expertise to identify external risks or recognize the impact of scope-creep (changing requirements after the project execution has started). These extensive and exciting projects are often directly tied to the healthcare organization’s strategic goals and objectives.
Job growth and salary outlook for healthcare project managers
The job outlook for healthcare project managers is excellent. Project management skills are highly valuable, and the healthcare industry is facing considerable challenges that stem from increased government regulation, responding to shortcomings exposed during the pandemic, demand for consumer transparency, and significant technological advancement. This transformation and innovation that is required to reach the healthcare delivery system of the future have created a strong demand for healthcare project managers.
According to Salary.com, the salary range for a Healthcare Project Manager typically falls between $71,938 and $94,347. This range can vary widely depending on factors such as education, location, certification, years of experience, and other related skills.
What skills do you need to have in order to become a healthcare project manager?
To be an effective project manager, you must be able to identify the tools and techniques necessary for project planning, including scope, time, cost, resource planning, monitoring, and reporting. Each of these processes is important to reaching project goals in a manner that is supportive of change within your organization.
Project managers must be able to identify stakeholders early in the process and provide critical updates at every stage of the project. Understanding how these stakeholders influence project activities and timeline can be vital to success.
Leadership and communication are arguably the most important skills for a project manager. They will need to be explicitly clear in setting the scope of work, timelines, and budget for multiple project team members that may span across several departments.
If you enjoy managing projects, are detail-oriented, and have a passion for the healthcare industry, a healthcare project management certification may be right for you. An increased investment in healthcare innovation and system improvement has created an abundance of opportunities for healthcare project managers.
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