Project Management and Quality in Healthcare

A Systematic Literature Review



By Vladislav M. Dobin, BS, MHA and Bruce Lazar, MBA, DM

School of Health Sciences
Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Carbondale, Illinois, USA




The emergence of quality as a driving force in healthcare now requires innovative management techniques such as project management (PM) to attain quality management outcomes. This systematic literature review aims to determine whether the adoption of formal project management methods for managing projects among healthcare leaders improves quality management outcomes. This review involved searches of four academic databases following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. Data from 26 relevant articles were thematically analyzed by utilizing a screening process with two independent reviewers, developing a Kappa consensus matrix, and categorizing the frequency of the keyword and phrase occurrences related to the research question, namely does the use of formal project management methods for managing projects among healthcare leaders improve quality management outcomes? Seven themes emerged from the data analysis process: timely goal accomplishment (65%); cost-management through PM (58%); positive impact on quality (65%); improved task interdependence, communication, and teamwork (73%); PM as an adjunct to other quality management programs (31%); improved perceptions of PM (46%); and references to the Project Management Institute or the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (69%). The results demonstrate an expanding need for PM within a healthcare system and a preponderance of evidence in favor of PM as an adjunct for health leaders performing healthcare quality management. These findings suggest that healthcare professionals could consider the use of PM to improve healthcare quality management outcomes.

Keywords: project management, healthcare quality, quality management

  1. Introduction

The shift from pay-for-service to performance-based healthcare delivery has involved the incorporation of a variety of quality management techniques and policies. Examples include payment reform, organizational restructuring, and evidence-based methodologies that reduce complex tasks to methodical processes.1 The similarities between the conventional and healthcare industry are clear: reduce costs while increasing output. 2 However, healthcare organizations (HCOs) are seldom based on for-profit business structures, resulting in varying levels of expertise outside of the clinical environment 3. Thus, HCOs may benefit from continuous momentum towards project management (PM) as a catalyst to improve health quality.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a governing body that certifies PM professionals and publishes manuals, such as the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide. Additionally, the organization operates multiple websites and journals to continuously educate and accredit PM practitioners. 13 In terms of quality, organizations such as the Institute of Medicine and the Agency for Health Research and Quality are the leading authorities. 4 The PMI is a lesser-known entity in the health business, but it has established information technology and business methods that enable teams to complete short-to-medium length projects. 5 The two management domains rarely intersect in the healthcare industry.

Organizations with recurring projects and development utilize project management offices (PMOs) to oversee individual teams and project life cycles. 6 Like patient-centered medical homes, project managers and stakeholders’ coordinated efforts incorporate strategic planning and ongoing analysis. 7 The structure of a health care organization requires a mixed approach for integrating the evidence and strategies to improve organizations 8; PM is one such method. It is unrigid in its application and incorporates best practices such as Lean and Six Sigma and advanced approaches to accomplishing goals.  9

The experience level of health leaders may vary, and integrating structured PM requires an assessment of managerial competencies. No central authority identified or compiles comprehensive strategies for PM implementation specific to healthcare, but the literature indicates positive impressions on the part of practitioners. Thus, an exhaustive search of the academic literature in the field of quality management methodologies utilized by health workers is warranted. The methods and findings of this study are intended to elucidate opportunities for the PM and healthcare industries alike. The value of PM should align with health quality in terms of efficiency and organizational success. Ultimately, the purpose of this systematic literature review is to determine whether the use of PM methods for managing projects among healthcare leaders improves quality management outcomes.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Dobin, V.M. and Lazar, B. (2020). Project Management and Quality in Healthcare: A Systematic Literature Review; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/pmwj97-Sep2020-Dobin-Lazar-project-management-and-quality-in-healthcare-literature-review.pdf



About the Authors

Vladislav Dobin

Illinois, USA


Vladislav M. Dobin is a graduate student at the University of Southern Illinois pursuing his Master of Health Administration degree. He has spent over ten years in the U.S. Army working in a variety of environments and has developed a passion for organizational improvement. He plans to attain the Project Management Professional certification and enroll in a Doctor of Business Administration program upon graduation. Highest degrees: Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration (2018) and Master of Health Administration (anticipated August 2020). Vladislav Dobin can be contacted at ASA School of Health Sciences-SIUC, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois 62901, USA and via email at vladislavdobin@siu.edu

ORCID identifier: 0000-0001-6706-2095


Dr. Bruce Lazar

Illinois, USA


Dr. Bruce Lazar is an educator, researcher, lecturer and global consultant. His career span includes teaching, lecturing, and working with organizational leaders to stabilize and transform operations within various types of companies. He has a passion for research and has earned an MBA and a Doctorate of Management. Dr. Bruce Lazar can be contacted at, ASA School of Health Sciences-SIUC, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA and via email at bruce.lazar@siu.edu

ORCID identifier: 0000-0002-1401-9525



Dobin, V. conceptualized the research idea, and Lazar, B. worked with Dobin, V in the development and needed changes in the review. Lazar, B. encouraged student Dobin, V. to investigate the research topic, and Lazar B. supervised the review and the presentation thereof. Dobin, V. carried out the initial analysis, and Lazar B. verified the analysis. Dobin, V. drafted the initial manuscript; Lazar B. reviewed, identified necessary changes, and approved the final manuscript as submitted.