The Human Side of Healthcare Project Management


Healthcare and Project Management


By Dr. Deepa Bhide, MBBS, DCH, PMP

Hyderabad, India


Thomas Walenta, PMP, PgMP, PMI Fellow

Frankfurt Area, Germany


Guanxi” is a Chinese term that refers to the relationship or network of connections between people, businesses, or organizations. It is a critical concept in East Asian culture and business, emphasizing the importance of building and maintaining personal and professional relationships for mutual benefit and success. Success itself is defined and perceived by people. Understanding Guanxi helps build professional connections toward project success. For a project to succeed, we need proper support from the right people at the right time. Project management is managing the human side of the project and not just status reports, meetings, and deliverables.

The human side of project management in healthcare encompasses understanding and applying human values, emotional intelligence, empathy, and effective communication within project delivery. Healthcare projects involve the lives and well-being of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. Healthcare project managers have interesting challenges to deal with. While they must be focused on the ultimate project goals, they must also recognize the need for collaboration, trust, and empathy to ensure that the human element remains at the forefront.

By focusing on the human side of project management, healthcare organizations can enhance patient experiences, improve outcomes, and create a compassionate and supportive healthcare environment. In this article, the authors discuss the role of human values and emotional intelligence in the context of project management in healthcare. The authors also outline the role of human aspects in dealing with Artificial Intelligence-related projects. The article concludes by acknowledging the author’s work in healthcare project management and expressing gratitude.

Key terms: Healthcare; project management; emotional quotient; human values; leadership, SCARF, mentoring; Artificial Intelligence


Mary*: Good morning, doctor. I have enjoyed the informative discussions for the last few weeks. Each conversation has led me deep into the fabric of the healthcare industry1 and given me an insight into its nuances and needs. I can see the direct and indirect applications of these concepts in my day-to-day work. Recently, I was recognized for delivering a critical report for my department for an ongoing accreditation process for our hospital. The report was an important piece in the maze of all the documents that needed to be submitted on time. Amidst other priorities, the task remained elusive. I was lauded for my timely work, task outcome, and, most importantly, my knowledge of healthcare project management and my project management skills. I was overwhelmed to learn that my manager considered me for a novel project on disease management.

Author: Oh, that is excellent! Congratulations, and I am happy for you. I am glad our conversations have helped you. I am sure you will excel in your role. I am curious to know more about your novel project.

Mary: Sure. As I know, disease management programs (DMP) or structured management programs are about managing chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease) in the population. The main goals of DMP are effective treatment of the current condition, preventing complications, and improving the patient’s quality of life. The program entails collaboration between healthcare entities such as physicians and other healthcare workers, care delivery organizations such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers, government and non-governmental organizations supporting the programs, drug, and medical equipment suppliers, and so on.


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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. and Walenta, T.  (2023). The Human Side of Healthcare Project Management, Healthcare and Project Management, series article, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/pmwj136-Dec2023-Bhide-Walenta-the-human-side-of-healthcare-project-management.pdf

About the Authors

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.

Deepa’s growing interest and work in these areas, born from her day-to-day patient interactions, 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. 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, and wholesome view of Project Management and Healthcare, a cross-domain confluence. 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, she pursued her DCH in Pediatrics and Child health. Deepa has served various roles in local and global Project Management Institute (PMI) regions. She remains actively engaged with PMI and has been a participant and speaker for various national and global meetings and online events.

Deepa lives in Hyderabad, India, and loves traveling, singing, and experimenting with global cuisine. She can be contacted at deepa.bhide@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/


Thomas Walenta, PgMP, PMP

Frankfurt, Germany


Thomas Walenta, PMP, PgMP, PMI Fellow, was working as Project and Program Manager for IBM from 1983-2014. Most recently he was responsible for a program encompassing all business of IBM with a global client in the EMEA region, with teams in India, Japan and across Europe. Thomas build his first PMO in1995 and started his first program from 2002. He led the PMI Frankfurt Chapter from 1998 to 2005, increasing membership from 111 to 750 and annual budget to 100K Euro. He teaches PM at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt and since 2014, he is a project management consultant.

Thomas had a variety of volunteer positions for PMI, among them being final juror of the PMI Project of the Year award, member of the PMI Board nomination committee, auditor for PMI‘s Registered Education Provider Program, writer/reviewer of PMP Exam questions and significant contributor to PMI‘s first standards about Program Management and Portfolio Management. Thomas has served as a member of PMI’s Ethics Review Committee 2011-2016. He received PMI’s Fellow Award in 2012.

Thomas is also a member of GPM/IPMA since 1996.

He was elected by PMI membership to serve on the PMI Board of Directors, from 2006 to 2011, and for a second term 2017-2019. Being a speaker on global project management events in Tokyo, Moscow, São Paulo, Little Rock and across Europe, Thomas extended his professional network significantly and is regarded as an experienced and skillful advisor and mentor. He has been an honorary global advisor for the PM World Journal since 2019.

Thomas is based near Frankfurt, Germany and can be contacted at thwalenta@online.de or www.linkedin.com/in/thwalenta/