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Physicians increasingly must lead change in their practices, which requires a basic understanding of the project management process and common tools.

Fam Pract Manag. 2023;30(5):19-24

This content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosures: no relevant financial relationships.

Imagine your clinic would like to improve its routine lipid screening metrics. To address this, you are tasked with leading implementation of a point-of-care (POC) lipid testing device, as an alternative to sending patients to the contracted phlebotomy lab. How would you proceed?

With health care constantly evolving, physicians are frequently asked to take part in or lead projects that are necessary for progress. For busy physicians, this may feel like a daunting task, but by virtue of practicing medicine, you have already developed many of the skills required for effectively managing a project — including planning, communicating, assessing risks and benefits, facilitating change management, and appealing to many stakeholders. While you use these skills differently in the context of an exam room, you can apply them to project management, whether you are leading a large-scale effort, implementing a quality improvement project for maintenance of certification, or simply participating as a stakeholder.

KEY POINTS

  • Following the five-phased, systematic approach to project management protects against missed steps and helps ensure project success.

  • During the planning phase, several tools can help you define critical tasks and subtasks, understand the flow of tasks and their dependencies, and get a high-level view of task and project duration.

  • In parallel with the project execution phase, the monitoring phase involves tracking progress on different aspects of the project such as timeliness, budget, quality, or effectiveness.

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