Patient Care as a Project


Healthcare and Project Management


By Dr. Deepa Bhide, MBBS, DCH, PMP

Hyderabad, India


Managing long-term, time-sensitive, complex projects takes extra time and effort. These projects pose several challenges to project management, such as the inability to predict timelines, loss of focus and coordination, dwindling team morale, poor diligence, unstable project conditions, and failure to derive a quick value. Patient care delivery is at the core of the healthcare project universe and needs to be considered and handled as a complex project to improve outcomes. Patient care and project management processes can be mapped to each other to conceptualize and visualize to realize the benefits of consummate patient care.

The article is based on the personal experience of the first 22 weeks of the author’s recovery from a devastating ankle fracture. It is an excellent example of looking at patient care as a project. By conceptualizing the ankle fracture recovery process as a project, the author compares patients’ care management activities to long-term, time-sensitive, and complex projects. In keeping with the format of previous articles in this series, a dialogue between the author and a curious friend is used to explain details and concepts.

Key terms: Patient care; patient-centricity; project management principles; ankle fracture; recovery

Mary*: Good morning, doctor. How are you doing today? How was your week?

Author: Hello, Mary. I have been good and have been busy nursing my injured ankle. Unfortunately, I felt excruciating pain in and around the ankle and had to visit my surgeon. I am on some pain meds and have been advised to take physical therapy.

Mary: Oh really? Are you ok with having a session today? I remember you mentioning the devastating fracture you sustained a few months ago. Your recovery seems to be outstanding. How did you manage that?

Author: Oh, thank you! We can proceed with our session, and this is an excellent segway to discuss my ankle fracture recovery project.


Have you ever had a broken bone?

Have you used project management to recover from a complex medical condition?

They say, “The journey matters most, not the destination.” Yet, in my ankle fracture recovery project, there was a compelling need to achieve both: a productive journey and a successful outcome (destination).

In the early hours of the 10th of July 2022, I skidded on a wet surface, sustaining a fracture of my left ankle joint. The pain was excruciating, and I could not bear the weight on the affected leg. X-ray and CT scan performed on the same day showed a trimalleolar (three parts) fracture with extensive destruction of the ankle joint. After the swelling had reduced, my Orthopedic surgeon and his team operated on me on the same day over a five-hour long surgery to restructure the fractured joint by implanting titanium plates, screws, and wires.


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Editor’s note: This series of articles about project management in healthcare is by Dr. Deepa Bhide, a pediatrician with additional experience in information technology and project management. Being a physician herself, she has recently experienced healthcare from a patient’s perspective while recovering from a broken ankle.  In this series, Dr. Bhide discusses programs, projects, and project management in various aspects of healthcare from industry, provider, and human patient perspectives. Learn more about Dr. Bhide in her author profile at the end of this article.

How to cite this paper: Bhide, D. (2023). Patient Care as a Project, Healthcare and Project Management, series article, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue V, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/pmwj130-Jun2023-Bhide-patient-care-as-a-project-pm-and-healthcare-series-6.pdf

About the Author

Dr. Deepa Bhide

Hyderabad, India


Dr. Deepa Bhide, MBBS, DCH, PMP, has over 20 years of professional experience where she has blended medical practice and research with IT and Project Management. She juggles consulting, training, and operations and is proficient in clinical medicine, project management, and healthcare information technology. Starting her career as a medical practitioner, she has worked with varied organizations before her current stint as director and clinical expert for Inventurus Knowledge Solutions.

Her passion for IT and Project Management was born from her day-to-day patient interactions. Deepa’s growing interest and work in these areas helped her view Project Management as a backbone of progressive healthcare. Her paper on “Patient Care – A Project Management Perspective” has received global recognition and acclaim. Deepa is an active contributor to PMI with her articles on a cross-domain confluence of Healthcare and Project Management. With a physician background as a solid foundation to leverage IT/PM skills and knowledge, Deepa has blended her broad-based experience and learnings to present a unified, holistic, wholesome view of Project Management and Healthcare. Through various webinars, events, talks, and writings across platforms, Deepa has been an evangelist in championing global project management during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Gold medalist from Osmania University for standing First in the MBBS course and also for Human Physiology, she went ahead to pursue her DCH in Pediatrics and Child health. Deepa is an active member of their volunteer initiatives. Deepa has served a variety of roles in local and global PMI regions. The part of Council Lead for PMI’s Healthcare Community of Practice for two years (2013-15) involved identifying and mentoring volunteers and collaborating across geographies for knowledge assets. Deepa is currently a part of PMI’s Ethics Insight Team, a global team of 7 volunteers advocating PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Deepa lives in Hyderabad, India, and loves to travel, sing and experiment with global cuisine. She can be contacted at deepabhide@gmail.com.

To view other works by Dr. Bhide, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-deepa-bhide/