What is included in the EHR project manager role

Practices in the early planning stages of an EHR project often appoint a project manager from within their organization or bring in an outside EHR project manager. Using a general definition of their role, an EHR project manager supplies valuable oversight and guidance to an EHR project. The motivation for using a project manager rests on the need for comprehensive planning and oversight for complex and large-scale technology projects. 

Based on limited evidence, using a project manager in an EHR project has been linked to a greater chance the project will be successful. For example, a 2015 study showed that among respondents involved in an EHR implementation project, management was viewed as one of the keys to success. Given the potential benefits of using a project manager what is included in the EHR project manager role?

What skills should an EHR project manager have?

As mentioned previously a project manager can be found in-house or hired as an outside consultant. Regardless of where the project manager is found they should be skilled in the following areas: 

  1. Understand, communicate, and align key stakeholders with project goals. 
  2. Communicate the project vision to stakeholders involved in the project. 
  3. Organizational and critical thinking skills. 
  4. Knowledge of your organization’s clinical and operational goals, your organization’s processes, and challenges. 
  5. An understanding of the fiscal impact of the project over the short and long-term. 
  6. The ability to work through conflicts 

What are the responsibilities of the EHR project manager role?

The project manager’s roles are many and varied and should be involved in an EHR project from the early planning process to go-live. In sum, the project manager’s services are the glue that binds the many complex areas of an EHR project together to ensure its success.  

Most importantly an EHR project manager’s responsibilities center on creating an implementation plan and ensuring the EHR project will further a practice’s strategic goals. The alignment of the EHR project with strategic goals requires the project manager to first articulate the implementation plan and make certain that all of an organization’s resources are being used in a way that furthers the plan. Put simply, a project manager is responsible for making certain the plan on paper is put into practice. Translating a plan to practice involves communicating with the various stakeholders the importance of the project and what role they can play in its success. In a sense, a project manager must act as a champion for the EHR project.

In addition to the broad responsibilities described above, a project manager will also have specific responsibilities such as setting deadlines, assigning responsibilities, and monitoring the project’s progress. Lastly, a project manager’s responsibilities require the individual in this role to be familiar with the fiscal aspects of the project and be able to make sure the project is also aligned with a practice’s budget.

The use of an EHR project manager should be viewed as a key component of a successful implementation.  Along these lines, even smaller-scale practices that may not have the resources to hire a project manager should consider in-house project management as an investment in ensuring the probability that an EHR project will be successful.

author image
Jeff Green

About the author…

Jeff Green, MPH, JD works as a freelance writer and consultant in the Healthcare information Technology Space.

author image
Jeff Green

Featured white papers

Related articles