Aim: The aim of the study was to analyze healthcare projects from the viewpoint of the planning, implementation and evaluation of the projects. The purpose was to generate knowledge about the work done in projects that can be utilized in healthcare management.
Methods: The study was a non-experimental survey. Descriptive statistics were collected using a convenience sampling method. The data were collected from all hospital-funded development projects in all acute care setting in one Finnish university hospital (€1.1M spent on funding for the projects in 2008-2010; 58 projects). 397 project participants were recruited for participation in the web survey which formed the basis for the research data. The e-questionnaire was comprised of five domains: Time and staff resources used for the project (7 questions); Project planning and providing information about the project (8 questions); Experiences of project implementation (16 questions); Evaluation (7 questions); Human resources affecting the project outcomes (26 questions). The questionnaire included background information as well as open-ended questions enquiring about the participants' views on the development of project related activities. After two survey rounds the response rate was 29.5% (n=117). Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis.
Results: 71% of the project participants took part in the project in addition to their usual responsibilities. The participants were mainly physicians and nurses (77%). Half of the participants were in managerial positions and had previous project experience. 50% of the participants thought that the information communicated about the project was sufficient. The project groups were multi-professional; cooperation was seen as having been successful and that aims were perceived as having been achieved successfully(92.5%). Although the participants noticed a conflict between their own work and the project work, their eagerness for future-oriented development and smooth integration of project results as part of their daily routines were the main reasons they took part in the projects.
Conclusions: Setting up clear guidelines and adhering to them would encourage experts to take part in projects. Dissemination of information during the project internally and externally would strengthen the degree of commitment of the project participants. Integration of projects into the hospital strategy would be of primary importance to guarantee the success of long-term systematic development work.
Keywords: Project, project management, project work, health care, human resources