Melanie Viquez, Transition Planning Director, shares her recommendations on implementing healthcare transition & activation project timelines, keeping these projects on track, and budgeting the resources and expenses necessary in what is often a once-in-a-lifetime endeavor. This is the first of our 3 Questions Series to share our team’s individual expertise and experiences in the activation of healthcare facilities.

Q1: How do you keep your projects on track?

A:  These are my top 3:
1. Keep transition planning requirements in check. It starts with solid planning. dashboardDefine all critical project tasks within the scope and create timelines early on. Prioritize these tasks and focus on “effectively worrying” for the tasks that are within reach. Transition Planning is a tall mountain with the patient move being the peak. However, between now and then, there are hundreds of tasks that will need attention. Visuals such as dashboards can be used to convey committee progress.

2. Maintain project expectations. Regular communication through established committee meetings is key for project success. Have a process for escalating tasks for review and resolution. Tasks which impact the schedule, require executive input or approval, need additional resources, or impact staff or patient safety should be evaluated by leadership to determine possible mitigation options. Communication posted on bulletin boards or intranet screen savers for a quick read encourages transparency and staff engagement.

3. Manage change with a solid process. As the building takes shape and the staff is walking through, second thoughts will come into play. Some are wish list items, while others are based on patient and staff safety. There should be a process in place to document the requests and analyze the change requirements so that the right decisions are made. Have the Project Team manage this process. Depending on where you are in the project timeline, there will always be trade-offs to consider.

Q2: When do you start Transition Planning?

A: Ideally, Transition Planning should start 18 to 24 months before Go-Live. Plans should include the following major activities: Building Load and Logistics, Orientation and Training, and Move. These will occur at some level regardless of size.  In hindsight, many clients wished that they had started sooner. For most, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the space fit the function of the operations. We have seen projects with more than 70% new equipment and technology requiring up to 90 days to plan and make functional decisions to support the implementation.

Q3: What pieces of advice would you give to healthcare leadership when budgeting for transition planning in a new facility?

A: Here are some key considerations:
1. Identify dedicated project managers to work with the respective clinical  project team
departments and construction teams throughout the project. Internal project managers help to coordinate and serve as the liaisons for hospital operations and the countless consultants on site. Having that internal point of contact supports timely communication and decision-making, even more so as the project moves forward and the work intensifies.

2. Identify occupancy-related expenses within your project. These are the one-time costs associated with supporting the project. External resources include logistics and warehousing for staging and moving equipment, EVS for routine and terminal cleans, IT support for deployment and testing, and costs for supply chain labor and materials during the initial stocking activities.

3. Identify staff training requirements and estimate hours needed prior to and after occupancy. In the calculation, account for staff time in their respective spaces for building orientation and department-specific workflow and equipment training. SuperUsers and the train-the-trainer model can be used to support the implementation of the training plan. And don’t forget post-move refreshers for staff and physicians.

Melanie has implemented readiness plans and facilitated training activities for staff while managing the installation, relocation, and logistics for staff, furniture, and equipment. Visit our website to know more at www.consultHTS.com or reach out to Melanie at MViquez@consultHTS.com.