Healthcare Operation Management
Service Level Agreement
The following project will be dedicated to the provision of 24/7 consulting service concerning panic disorder/general anxiety disorder among local youth. The project is aimed at raising awareness and providing primary care to this population. The matter is that panic disorder/general anxiety disorder affects youth and young adults aged 18-28, and that is why it is critical to provide a facility for the prevention and treatment of these disorders. Distinct signs of these disorders are easy to recognize, but it is necessary to be well-informed about their implications and the key strategies of their address. In a situation of helplessness and fear, a young person may encounter difficulty with finding support among his/her peers or relatives. Consequently, informing the population on methods of prevention and management of these disorders is extremely important. Therefore, a local healthcare facility needs to provide an up-to-date service in order to disseminate information and support to local populations. That is why the project will focus on the establishment of a call-center system and mobile application that will facilitate the transition of information to the target populations.
The main goals of the project can be outlined in the following way:
- Providing a free consulting service about panic disorder/general anxiety disorder to the local youth;
- Raising awareness in the community about these disorders;
- Integrating IT solutions into public health promotion practices;
- Offering transition treatment of panic disorder/general anxiety disorder to primary care domain.
Ignoring the fact that the project may deliver other outcomes becomes increasingly difficult, but the main scope is oriented toward the achievement of these goals. However, there is a number of requirements that must be implemented in order to ensure a valid accomplishment of the project and the quality of its deliverables.
The main requirements of the project are comprised of the availability of healthcare professionals and relevant technical resources. Speaking about the stuffing of the project, it is necessary to note that primary care nurses may be involved in the project, provided that they meet the criteria for consulting populations regarding panic disorder/general anxiety disorder. A shortage of mental health doctors definitely affects the project, and that is why certain policy changes may be needed for the entire healthcare organization. The second requirement is the availability and suitability of the necessary technological base. This involves hardware and software, so outsourcing the technical part of the project is apparent in this case. A vendor will be expected to work together with healthcare experts and informants to meet feasibility criteria, quality, and budget limits of the project deliverables (McLaughlin & Olson, 2017). Additionally, regular support and maintenance should be also considered, since they directly impact the quality of the service in the long run.
The project will be tested with two major tangible measures: reduction of panic disorder/general anxiety disorder among the target population, and congruence of the technical solutions with existing guidelines, standards, and HITECH policy. The project is aimed at the reduction of panic disorder/general anxiety disorder among young adults in the community, so a specific statistical record must be kept. At the same time, compliance checks and roll-out tests must be performed in collaboration with software vendors and local regulatory agencies. Apart from that, surveying of the service users should be conducted to gather data regarding user-friendliness, clarity of content, and accessibility of the service. Under these circumstances, the project can be successfully implemented, but there are multiple specifics that should be discussed on a separate note. They include a detailed scoping of the project, scheduling, budgeting, risk management, and quality assurance.
Scope of the Project
The project should reach distinct goals, therefore it is important to outline clear project deliverables. To start with, it is necessary to provide a sufficient number of competent personnel that can work for service on a regular basis. Formation of at least three working shifts with a staff of 5-7 people per shift is the minimal requirement, so certain updates may be needed in the future. The second deliverable of this project is technical suitability. Appropriate work of the mobile application, presence of Internet connection, cybersecurity, and availability of other communication systems are mandatory for the successful completion of the project. Apart from that, a combination of the two aforementioned deliverables must focus on the efficacy of the service: local populations should be well informed on such availability so that responsiveness of the target audience is the priority. Otherwise, the project will not fulfill its main goal.
It is critical to discuss the basic acceptance criteria that shape the scope of the future project. The estimated sum of funding should be at least $20, 000 for the development of basic hardware and software since this aspect provides a transition of the service to the target populations. The project may require additional expenses, but the sum mentioned above is minimal for deploying the most basic technical solutions for a small community-based healthcare facility. This is a common problem for small-sized healthcare organizations, so it should not be neglected (McLaughlin & Olson, 2017). Likewise, the provision of mental health professionals is important for developing the content of the service and basic training of primary care nurses in order to assist the patients, if such need arises. Moreover, primary care nurses will be encouraged to participate in the project because of expanding their scope of practice and ability to provide more holistic advice.
Any project should focus not only on success criteria but also on certain risk factors that can be mitigated beforehand. The future project may face challenges with the technical part because of the limited budget and variety of regulations that demand complete adherence to standards. At the same time, technical solutions for healthcare companies are always expensive, even though they dramatically reduce costs in the long run. Another risk is based on a simple probability of low effectiveness of the entire service due to unexpected circumstances or lack of promotion (McLaughlin & Olson, 2017). Actually, the other risk stems from that issue: lack of data about the local populace may be a significant barrier to the development of relevant and efficacious services for the community. It is hard to estimate costs and benefits, and that may become a serious reason for investors and community-based donations to not support the project.
The project is implemented by a group of people, therefore, a distinct allocation of responsibilities must be concerned. It is difficult to deny the fact that the healthcare aspect of the service is provided by mental health specialists and nurses, meanwhile, technical issues are the responsibility of outsourced software and hardware vendors. Still, their productive collaboration can be effective only in case of a profound involvement of health informants. There is also a need to cooperate with local regulatory agencies to ensure compliance with standards and regulatory policies, meanwhile, any community movements and private industries can become long-term partners for the promotion and funding of the service (McLaughlin & Olson, 2017). Coordination of these processes has to be divided among teams of project management: health administrators, informants, nurses, IT specialists, and managers. The team is required to take responsibility for the management of resources, budget, and time, meanwhile, the aforementioned groups must complete the executive part of the project.
The project schedule will provide six months for the implementation. This deadline is the most feasible for the project, once a wide range of activities are involved. The Gantt chart below presents time estimates for every single activity to be completed within this project.
On a separate note, the project will use two main estimating techniques: analogous and three-point estimation models. The analogous technique will be used at the very beginning of a project when the most fundamental priorities should be allocated (Stackpole, n.d.). The main purpose of this method is to provide estimates based on similar projects, thereby narrowing the scope of the entire initiative. The second estimating technique is a three-point model. This approach is used to evaluate the best care possible (O), most likely outcome (M), and worst outcome possible (P). Probability is calculated with the formula (O + 4M + P)/6 (Stackpole, n.d.).
Strategies for Maintaining Project Budget
The first strategy aimed at the formation of the budget is based on the justification of fairness of the resources, and activities selected for the project. In other words, the budget consists of the list of costs that will be needed for a complete implementation of the project to practice (Naldi, Nicosia, Pacific, & Pferschy, 2016). Consequently, that will acknowledge the project team about necessary expenditures and outline the budget clearly, without omitting any important aspect. However, this strategy may face some challenges related to prejudices and misinterpretations of the project’s scope. The second barrier to implementing this strategy is the high risk of human error in estimating the costs. These challenges must be addressed by implementing the basic project management software for traceability of resources, inventory, and other expenses (Naldi et al., 2016). The outcome of such a solution is a significant optimization of the costs since they are attached to clear amounts and time frames within the project. However, there are some alternatives that should also be taken into account.
The second strategy suggests the estimation of the budget on the basis of processing data related to all project costs: calculation of all expenses and additional resources that may be needed with a mathematical model for prediction of probability and cost variations (Bamberger, Rugh, & Marby, 2011). This approach, though, is quite challenging from the perspective of accuracy. Acquisition of large sets of data can make the estimation process excessively complicated (Bamberger et al., 2011). It is clear that data collection requires more time, meanwhile, its reliability is still not ensured, so it presents the other challenge for implementing this strategy. These challenges can be managed with project strategic alignment. The project is not implemented separately from the healthcare organization, so the company will have to make certain adjustments to its financial performance in order to support the project. At the same time, the project has to be congruent with the healthcare organization’s financial capabilities, otherwise, it will be impossible to implement. As a result, the project will maintain the largest effectiveness of costs: they will be spent appropriately and with maximum benefit for the deliverables. Still, this approach does not ensure optimal cost spending like the maximal fairness model.
Eventually, evaluation of the budget by forecasting some range of costs can also be used for this project. In such a way, the project team will be able to have a wider selection of resources in order to ensure the efficacy of the project and the quality of its deliverables (Teller, Unger, Kock, & Gemünden, 2012). Nevertheless, there is a challenge to settle maximal and minimal margin. Also, such estimation is likely to focus on the maximal expenses, regardless of the fact that they can be avoided or optimized, so it can be a strong barrier for the project team (Teller et al., 2012). Therefore, it is critical to comprise the project budget through the inclusion of its portfolio items, so that it would be possible to outline more relevant values. This strategy of budget maintenance will provide the project with all relevant resources at their average cost, so the project will not lack of any assets, and they will be financially feasible. This approach is a reliable alternative to other models mentioned above, but it may require maximal accuracy in the allocation of priorities and deadlines.
Risk Management, Quality Management, and Sustainability
Concerning risk management for the future project, the following actions must be taken. First, should be conducted identification of risks, as the project team has to be aware of the most likely challenges they may encounter. In consequence, estimation and measurement of their probability are important as quantification and description of risks can help the project to settle the most valid priorities (Hines, Luna, Lofthus, Marquardt, & Stelmokas, 2008). There is a wide range of formulas and models that approach risks from the perspective of their probability, but the quality of potential harms is also very essential. The third component of risk management is risk mitigation. This step involves the prevention and elimination of risks by the provision of resource backups, changes to operations, design, and reconsideration of expenses (Hines et al., 2008). It is important to note, that the project’s schedule should not be affected much, since postponing of the deadline means that it will not be achieved.
Maintenance of the quality of the project is the other consideration to date. The project is implemented in healthcare settings, therefore there will be used relevant standards and frameworks for quality management. To be more specific, AGREE II framework is suggested for the project. This framework involves six domains that represent different parts of the quality of healthcare services. The first domain is devoted to the appropriate scoping and relevance of the service that will be implemented, so respective clinical questions should be easily answered with the provision of the future service (Brouwers et al., 2010). The second domain reflects on the preservation of patient safety and privacy as well as on the involvement of all stakeholders in that process. Next, the rigor of development is concerned, as it instructs actual executives on how their duties and operations can be conducted (Brouwers et al., 2010). The fourth domain is related to the clarity of representation, so the deliverables of the project are supposed to be clear for patients and other stakeholders (Brouwers et al., 2010). The fifth domain provides suitability of the project deliverables, so all of the participants of the project will follow distinct and specific guidelines for implementing their parts of the project (Brouwers et al., 2010). Eventually, the sixth domain ensures so-called editorial independence that outlines the right of the project team to correct the project design for the sake of project deliverables quality, regardless of funders and vendors.
The quality will be maintained not only with AGREE II framework but also with a so-called excellence model. This model includes a number of steps that start with building appropriate relationships among all parties involved, so the main focus of the quality management in the project is devoted to benefits that can be used by other people (Dahlgaard, Pettersen, & Dahlgaard-Park, 2011). This orientation must be directed toward the process of the project implementation. Therefore, all operations have to be aligned with the scope of the project, and any gaps tested with an understanding of what harms the final user may encounter because of that (Dahlgaard et al., 2011). This principle is embedded in the product/service of the project, and it can lead to organizational excellence that creates the foundation for further support and maintenance of the project’s deliverables.
On a separate note, the sustainability of the project should be addressed. There are three main pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental. The social aspect of sustainability is addressed directly with the project, as the project deliverables are aimed at addressing the social problem: the incidence of panic disorder/general anxiety disorder among young people in the community. The economic pillar is also considered since the project will present a free service, which will economize costs of local populations for counseling, irrelevant diagnosis, etc. As for environmental impacts, there are no direct harms to the environment and, therefore, the project is quite environmentally-friendly.