Before we get started, it is best to start by defining what exactly a not-for-profit (NFP) health provider is. NFP’s in the healthcare industry use their revenue only to provide benefits to the community or members as well as covering operating costs (e.g. marketing, staff wages and other overhead costs). For instance, a NFP healthcare insurance provider will generally run on a membership basis that is highly accessible to anyone, or to a particular industry/association.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN NFP HEALTHCARE ORGANISATIONS?
Evidently, the most significant aspect to consider when project planning in the NFP sector is money, as there is limited funds to work with.
As such, appropriate allocation of costs is vital in achieving a successful result for a project plan. Project managers may be responsible for considering which financial modelling software to deploy in the planning process and the likelihood, per say, of getting approved for a financial aid grant.
Additionally, having the right group of team members to take on the project will be essential for project managers to organise. Compared to high profile charity organisations (such as Oxfam, The Salvation Army) it is likely that NFP’s will have a smaller number of staff to work with. Project managers will need to hire team members who have the capacity to work on the specific project, as well as having the right qualifications and mindset approach. To make things more efficient, it is also important to consider the significance of automation, and which software/tools can enhance the productivity of the work being completed.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR HEALTHCARE NFP’S?
Executives from the Community Business Bureau (CBB), an Australian NFP that provides business consulting services, outlined how healthcare service providers can adapt to the changing business environment in 2021 through adopting more sustainable and competitive operating strategies. Here is a link to the webinar.
One key point made that is highly relevant for project managers, is that current business models are not practical and there is a need for organisations to pivot towards being more agile. Further fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, public healthcare providers around the world face increasing challenges in operation and staffing requirements, as well as tightened budgets. This is where project management teams can work with NFP organisations to reshape or adapt their existing environment in a strategic and efficient manner. It was further raised that providers should evaluate how they can offer services that are stable, consistent, safe and of high quality whilst working with a smaller budget.
CURRENT RISKS FACED BY NFP HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS
As reported by Fitch Ratings, the US public healthcare sector has been subject to an increasing number of cyberattacks through 2020 to 2021. This has forced the NFP organisations in the healthcare sector to allocate further revenue and expenses towards the prevention of cyber-crime. Cyberattacks have prolonged effects on healthcare institutions as it prevents the ability to provide care and imposes significant financial losses due to the shutdown of payment systems and slow recovery of costs. It was estimated by the US Department of Health and Human Services that the confidential data of more than 22 million Americans was exposed through cyberattacks, which can cause detrimental harm to consumer confidence, litigation costs and the capacity of federal enforcement actions (due to regulations surrounding patient confidentiality).
For project managers, this is an opportunity to work with healthcare organisations in the NFP sector to build a more integrated system of software that is used by medical staff that can be regularly updated and supported to lessen the vulnerability to cyber crime.
With the COVID crisis continuing to persist and an increasing focus on enhancing the digitalisation of the healthcare sector, the skills and expertise of project managers are more valuable than ever. NFP organisations will need project managers to guide the movement towards expanding their scope and quality of patient care, as well as implementing software that will improve efficiency levels, all whilst managing the limited availability of funds.