A Two-Phased Approach to Evaluate the Success of HIT Implementation (Part I)

I had the opportunity to listen to a webinar titled, ” A Two-Phased Approach to Evaluate the Success of HIT Implemation”, back in December 6,  2011.  This webinar was sponsored by ANIA-CARING and the speakers were Patricia Sengstack, DNP, RN-BC, CPHIMS and Susan Houston, MBA, RN-BC, PMP, CPHIMS.  I listened to this webinar back in December but I needed a refresher. Thank God, my professional organization ANIA-CARING recorded the webinar and I watched it again. I am so glad I watched it again. I am more focused today than the first time I listened to the webinar.  I was able to concentrate more and focus what the message the webinar was sending.

This webinar focused on evaluating the success of an health information technology implementation. Being a part of the implemetation team before, we were not good on evaluating the clinical information system and its impact on nurses. We listened to the nurses’ concerns and made changes accordingly.  But, we did not measure strategic outcomes. We did not know if the alerts that we placed were helpful. Did the nurses get alert fatigue or does these alerts actually help with best practice? Nor did we know the outcome of the copy forward function of their documentation.  Did it help them? Or were they just copying information for weeks on end?

There are two phases of evaluation:  project (phase 1) and strategic (phase 2).   I will discuss phase 2 in another blog posting later on this week.  The first step in measuring the success of a project is collecting supporting documentation. 

The second step is measuring the project success.  The questions to ask are:

  • Was the project on time? 
  • Was the project on the correct budget?

The third step requires defining the measure of success,  Measuring the projects success requires these criteria:  SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely), what are the requirements, stakeholder expectations, and earned value.

The fourth step is defining the requirements.

  • Are the requirements well-defined?
  • Is there a change management process in place?
  • Is there anything to verify against requirements? 


The stakeholders are the key players. We design the system for the stakeholders and for the clinicians.  These are the questions we must ask ourselves:

  •  What are the stakeholder expectations? 
  • Are you involving the stakeholders early in the game? 
  • Are you understanding their motivation?
  • Are you understanding their expectations and managing their expectations?

After the project, the fifth step is measuring success by measuring progress and measuring when project is complete. This is accomplished by deliverables at the end of each phase of the project or at the end of the project. 

Utilizing lessons learned is the sixth step in the project phase.  Documenting lessons learned either after each project milestone, after the activation rehearsal, or at the end of the project.  Lessons learned will help what the team did right and not necessarily what they did wrong.  Focus on the positive lessons learned to be applied to later phases of the projects.  Do not focus on what your project team did wrong. Focusing on the negative will not help your project nor will it help the morale of the project team.

Measuring project management success is the seventh step.  There are three criteria for success:

  1. Was the project done right?
  2. Was the right project done?
  3. Were the right projects done right, time after time?  (Morris and Pinto)

 To determine project management success, these six items are taken in consideration:

1.)  Time
2.)  Cost
3.)  Scope
4.)  Quality
5.)  Consistency
6.)  Communication

 Lastly, was the project a success? Just because your project team delivered the project on time, was the quality of the project great?  Did you meet the expectations of the stakeholders? Was the quality of the deliverables exceptional? Were the deliverables delivered in a timely fashion? Are the stakeholders satisfied?

There is a standard methodology for determining a project’s success. This requires consitency, lessons learned from past experiences, continued improvement, and governance structure.

I will continue writing about the Two Phase Approach to HIT Implementation later this week. I will write about the phase 2 approach:  stategic.







Reference:  (1) Morris, P.  & Pinto, J (2007). The Wiley Guide to Project, Program and Portfolio Management.  New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.



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