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Healthcare Project Management Office’s Responsibilities

Purpose and Responsibilities of PMO

According to the Project Management Institute (2013), a project management office (PMO) “is an organizational body or entity assigned with various responsibilities related to the centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain” (p. 11). As for Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS), they are non-customized (placed on the “shelf” to be bought as they are) packages of products and services that are purchased instead of customized versions and then modified to suit the needs of the buyer (Couts & Gerdes, 2010).

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For instance, Cerner (n.d.) integrated solutions for hospitals are suitable for implementation in different settings, including psychiatric wards, and come in packages (EHRs with the patient, doctor, room, and equipment schedules, homepages, planning systems, reporting, and reimbursement solutions) that are meant to satisfy the needs of different healthcare specialists after certain customization.

As a result, when implementing a COTS, a project or a series of projects are required to consider the needs of the company, determine the extent of the product’s customization, and carry it out. The successful implementation can be regarded as the purpose of the PMO; to achieve it, the PMO can be vested with various levels of authority and requested to take up different kinds of responsibilities.

Unfortunately, I do not have any direct experience in the field, but the readings suggest that a PMO may be required to take up the decision-making responsibility for the project (projects) and provide advice and recommendation as well as chart, plan, execute, monitor and officially terminate the project or its phases and manage the resources, especially human resources (Project Management Institute, 2013, p. 71). Apart from that, the experience of the COTS implementation may be used to inform the development of project management policies, and this responsibility is also likely to be delegated to the PMO. To sum up, the role of PMO in COTS implementation projects is central.

A Value Proposition for a PMO Startup

According to PM Solutions (2014), a PMO tends to decrease the rate of failures among projects (by 27%), save costs, facilitate resource optimization, promote human resource development (in particular, through training in the field of project management), and eventually improve customer satisfaction, productivity, and the company’s performance. Apart from that, the concept of PMO becomes increasingly strategic, which enhances the alignment of their activities with the company’s goals and reinforces PMO’s positive influence on organizational performance.

As a result, it may be suggested that PMOs deliver value, which can also be enhanced through the appropriate implementation of the innovation. The same can be said about project management in healthcare: there is evidence of them being extremely useful in the cases when they are implemented effectively (Suhonen & Paasivaara, 2011). Given the fact that nowadays healthcare professionals are put under the pressure of increasing the effectiveness of their work while also reducing the costs (Witkowski et al., 2014), the notion of PMO becomes even more alluring. To make a value proposition for a PMO startup, I suggest the following metrics that can help to report the progress of the work and its effectiveness (Landman, 2012).

The direct aim of PMO consists of improving project metrics; therefore, the success and completion rates for projects delivered within the time and budget constraints as well as budget savings and the strategic alignment of projects are of primary interest. Goals can be set for these parameters with the help of some established results in the field. For example, PM Solutions (2014) reports that the rate of successful project termination given budget constraints improve on average by 28%.

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It is noteworthy that the effectiveness of PMOs grows with age, and for a new PMO, the improvement of 20% can be suggested (PM Solutions, 2014). Other important metrics include productivity and customer satisfaction improvement. They do not depend directly on PMO, which is why they can be of secondary importance. The comparison figures should be calculated with the help of the previous history of the organization’s project development, productivity, and customer satisfaction.


​Cerner. (n.d.). Cerner integrated health solutions. Web.

​Couts, C. & Gerdes, P. (2010). Integrating COTS software: Lessons from a large healthcare organization. IT Professional, 12(2), 50-58.

​Landman, J. H. (2012). Recommendations for delivering value. Healthcare Financial Management, 66(7), 98-100.

​PM Solutions. (2014). The state of the project management office (PMO).

​Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide ) (5th ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

​Suhonen, M. & Paasivaara, L. (2011). Nurse managers’ challenges in project management. Journal of Nursing Management, 19(8), 1028-1036.

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​Witkowski, M., Abbott, M., Guzman, A. B., Higgins, L. D., Meara, J. G., Padden, E.,… & Feeley, T. W. (2014). Using time-driven activity-based costing to identify value improvement opportunities in healthcare. Journal of Healthcare Management, 59(6), 399-413.

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