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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The tenuous links between new IT systems and benefits? | Simply, improvement...

The tenuous links between new IT systems and benefits? | Simply, improvement...:

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The tenuous links between new IT systems and benefits?

Project-Miracle-Benefits 2There’s a great article in the Guardian today about the launch of a new Patient Record System at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge which concludes with “We’ve been screwing up like this for two decades. Isn’t it time we tried learning from our mistakes?“.  Author John Naughton says this article is not another anti-NHS rant, but the reason it caught my eye is my interest in Project Management in general and benefits realisation in particular.
I also read the article with my OpenStrategies PRUB-thinking hat on.  Let’s use a PRUB lens to examine the launch PR, which said “The new system will improve the quality of care for patients by ensuring that doctors, nurses and other clinical staff can access relevant patient information wherever they are“.  This is shown in the PRUB diagram here…

As a high-level summary of the project this fails to demonstrate how Benefits will actually be achieved.
Reading on, the PR says “Instead of having to wait for paper records to be delivered to the ward, nurses are able to bring up patient notes on their handheld devices. Patients will get their medication quicker, nurses can spend more time with their patients and people who are treated here will get home sooner.”  Does that improve the chances we can validate the overall project strategy?  Sadly, not, because in PRUB terms it’s really just focusing on more “Projects” and is still light on Uses and how these will enable Benefits to be realised.  It simply doesn’t tell the story of how the availability of patient records enables patients to receive their medication more quickly, or allow them to get home sooner.

The sub-heading of the article says “Paperless patient records are a necessity, but a new, US–made system at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge is a chronic misreading of patient needs“.
Let’s be charitable and assume there was actually a robust “Benefits Map” for this project that clearly linked the project’s deliverables, through Uses, to Benefits.  In my experience, for many projects “Most Benefits aren’t” and the Public Sector just does not understand that it cannot “deliver benefits“.
It seems to me that a project management approach based on OpenStrategies’ PRUB-Validate with its emphasis on Uses would really add some value in these types of project.
If you think you need to sharpen-up your approach to Project Benefits, please get in touch and find out how OpenStrategies’ PRUB-thinking can make a real difference.


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