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Project evaluation entails performing an objective and systematic analysis of a continuing or a completed project with the aim of determining whether the project objectives have been achieved (Kerzner, 2013). Other aspects considered in project evaluation are the sustainability, impact efficiency, and effectiveness of the project development process. One of the important aspects considered when performing the project evaluation is the measurable organizational value (MOV), which is a substitute instrument for the more commonly used return on investment (Kerzner, 2013). MOV denotes the overall measure of success and the goal of the project. It should be verifiable, offer value to the organization, and, most importantly, be measurable (Kerzner, 2013). The current project entails developing a master patient index (MPI) to replace the existing paper-based system. The MPI was motivated by the need to enhance the efficiency of hospital operations and patient safety. This paper covers the project conversion strategy, the checklist for project closure, and the outline of the project’s MOV evaluation.
Project Conversion Strategy
The conversion from the paper-based system to the MPI should be managed on several different complex levels, including institutionally, technologically, culturally, financially, and administratively (Wheatley, 2008). The MPI system comprises several components working together such as software applications, electronic document management systems, and radiology systems, among others. The conversion is a gradual journey that requires dealing with several change management aspects that pose a significant challenge to those who participate in the conversion process (Payne, 2014). Owing to the complexities associated with the conversion process, the transition to the MPI should be slow but steady. A number of decisions and considerations should be made during the implementation of the conversion strategy. These decisions should concern the specific historical patient information that should be converted to the MPI, the best conversion methods, the best approach to ensuring the quality of the converted information, and the duration of storing paper records after the conversion to the MPI (Payne, 2014).
With regard to the specific historical patient information that will be converted to the MPI, the conversion approach used in the project will focus on the conversion of only important information. It can be referred to as the hybrid approach. Its advantage is that it will save the cost, efforts, and time needed for the conversion (Payne, 2014). Under this approach, the medical records of patients having scheduled appointments within the next month can be scanned. Emphasis is placed only on the pertinent information as determined by the physician.
Regarding the best conversion method, the direct data entry method is the preferred approach to document imaging. It entails feeding pertinent patient data into the MPI. In data entry, items like allergies, problems, and medications are put into preset data fields in the form of drop-down menus to make the data useful for clinical decision-making (Payne, 2014). It is imperative to specify those who will be involved in data entry during the conversion process. In this project, medical students and clinical staff conversant with health information and medical terminology will be used for data entry to make sure that the quality of data satisfies the expected quality and integrity.
During the conversion process, it is important for data to be accurate, valid, and complete. The accuracy of data is pivotal in patient care and has numerous downstream implications like billing and quality reporting. Data validity relates to the reasonableness and soundness whereas integrity is concerned with the wholeness and completeness of data (Payne, 2014). After the implementation of the MPI, it is essential to develop a program that monitors the quality of data. It is also crucial to audit and monitor data for purposes of ascertaining the compliance with the quality expectations. The key personnel with the responsibility of auditing and managing data will include resident physicians. The data should be monitored frequently, preferably twice a month, and corrections should be made if necessary (Payne, 2014). The criteria for auditing data include matching the data and patients in the paper-based system and the MPI, as well as ensuring that the data are indexed appropriately in the MPI.
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The last step of the conversion strategy entails destroying the paper-based records. There are no established standards regarding the maintenance of converted records. The retention period is determined by the level of confidence and trust that users have in the converted data (Payne, 2014). Therefore, at this stage, it is premature to delineate a definitive timeline for destroying the paper-based records. Instead, the utilization of the MPI will be monitored to determine physician’s trust in the system, and once the confidence is established, the paper records will be destroyed.
Checklist for Project Closure
The checklist covers a number of items outlined below:
- Are all activities related to the project finished? It entails verifying whether all the meetings deemed necessary for completing the project have been conducted. It also involves ascertaining whether other departments in the hospital have been notified of the project completion. Lastly, it requires ascertaining whether there are some activities that might have been missed and need to be finished (Kerzner, 2013).
- Are all the project deliverables complete? It entails determining whether all the tangible deliverables have been achieved, such as training guides, documentation, and functioning MPI, among others (Kerzner, 2013).
- Have all the required approvals and acceptances been attained? This item focuses on obtaining a written approval signing off the project. People signing the project off are accountable for their actions, which compels them to review the deliverable before signing off the project (Kerzner, 2013).
- Have all the needed administrative tasks been carried out? This item entails closing out any existing open contracts and ensuring complete billing.
- Are all deliverables and documents archived? It ensures that project documentation is stored for future use as a basis for a comparable project (Kerzner, 2013).
Outline of the Project MOV Evaluation
A number of MOVs can be monitored after the transition from the paper-based system to the MPI. The first measurable value to the organization that will be evaluated after the project has been completed is the reduction of errors in patient identification (Morris, et al., 2014). In this regard, after the implementation of the MPI, it is expected that the number of cases involving patients being linked to the wrong or incomplete records will reduce significantly. The reduction of errors in patient identification is expected to increase patient safety and the quality of care services that the hospital offers. Another MOV is improvements in workflow between various departments due to the integrated nature of the MPI across different departments (Wheatley, 2008). In this respect, it is expected that the operational efficiency will increase.
The project conversion strategy will be a gradual process characterized by the conversion of only the pertinent patient information, using the direct entry of data into the MPI and destroying the data after physicians gain confidence and trust in the new system. The quality and integrity of the conversion process will also be ensured through regular auditing of the data. The checklist for the project closure focuses on scope requirements review and the administrative tasks associated with the project. Lastly, MOVs for the project include a reduction of errors in patient identification and improvements in operational efficiency.
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