CPOE Software at Memorial Health: IT Project Implementation Failures

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Introduction

Frese (2003) notes that most IT related projects failed because of time overruns, cost overruns, lack of teamwork, technical incompetence, user input insufficiency, failure of the project in meeting its objective and lack of complete requirements. On close scrutiny, it is evident that the CPOE software at Memorial Health failed because of several factors that cause IT related project failure.

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Indicators for IT project failure

Time overrun

This can be evidenced in the failed CPOE system. When time overruns occur, projects run behind their schedule. If money is not available and human capital cannot be added quickly to mitigate the risks associated with the overruns, projects are slowed down or stopped. Initially, the CPOE project implementation timeframe was 18 months in 8 hospitals. However, as Bhawan (2006) puts it, unrealistic goals are never met. It was evident that the timeframe set forth could not allow successful implementation of the project and after the first 8 months, a quick analysis was made in order to push the completion of the project on time but to no avail.

Cost overrun

When cost overruns occur, projects incur more than what their initial expenditure was. It became evident that there was a cost overrun as an unbudgeted $500 (unavailable) was needed for software integration. Since the money was not in handy, the project had to be delayed. Nevertheless, the end-user training budget was cut in an attempt to save money (Frese, 2003).

Lack of teamwork

According to PAHO (2011), teamwork is a fundamental aspect of project implementation as people are able to work together, share ideas, boost morale. He notes that without teamwork, failure is inevitable and the survival of any project is doomed as people cannot coordinate the resources available to ensure the successful completion of a project. From the beginning, it was clear that there were divided forces; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) were for it while most system health physicians were against it. When Sparks was handed the recommendations by Martin, he chose to scold her rather than sit down and discuss them with her. The staff, the management, and the IT team lacked a sense of teamwork that could have propelled the implementation of the product.

User input insufficiency

PAHO (2011), notes that project implementation can only be carried out by the designed number of people successfully failure to which the project implantation cannot be successful.

While implementing the CPOE, there was user input insufficiency. From the original budget of 16 people, the number was cut down to 8, and hence, little or no progress was made.

Failure of the project in meeting its objectives

According to the European Commission (2008), a project to be implemented must meet the objective put forth for it to be deemed successful. The CPOE project put forth did not meet its objective of reducing medical errors. The software proved to be buggy and this made it impossible for doctors to log in and hence, the nurses could barely enter orders of patients waiting for tests and medication.

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Conclusion

It is evident that the CPOE project failed because of several factors. However, strategic project implementation would have helped them mitigate the challenges they faced. For instance, Memorial Health Hospital should have set clearly defined goals in order to avoid cost overruns, time overruns and make the implementation of the project a success. With a general mission, people would have been able to work as a team and commit to the success of the project. This would also have enabled them to set realistic goals that are achievable within a given timeframe. They should also have employed a competent project manager who was skilled technically, administratively, and interpersonally.

According to VUMC (2011), strong teamwork has a strong leader who is able to guide the parties involved. A manager like a spark who is harsh and inconsiderate when alerted on the proceedings of the project is not competent enough to oversee a project and direct a team. There should also be sufficient allocation of resources in terms of personnel, logistics, and money. The team members should also have tried to troubleshoot the project in order to counter the arising problems and take quick action. This would have prevented the software from being buggy when launched as errors could have been detected earlier.

References

Bhawan, K.A. (2006). Project Implementation Plan. Web.

European Commission. 2008. Reforming Technical Cooperation and Project Implementation Units for External Aid provided by the European Commission. Web.

Frese, R. (2003). Project success and failure: what is success, what is failure, and how can you improve your odds for success?  Web.

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PAHO. (2011). Monitoring of project implementation. Web.

VUMC. (2011). Project Implementation Process (PIP). Web.

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