Altarum Institute’s Health Care Advisory Services group (HCAS) provides Program and Project Management consulting to a wide array of federal and private healthcare clients.

HCAS’s proven approach is founded on the ability to customize existing methodologies and tools to meet the organizational goals, objectives, and culture of each client. Our team is comprised of a myriad of subject matter areas and expertise - with a singular group focus on customer service.

Core service offerings include: Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and Enterprise Portfolio Management (EPM); Project Management Office (PMO) support; Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS); and Governance support.

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and Enterprise Portfolio Management (EPM)

Organizations often struggle with the management of project-intensive work, resource allocation, and the ability to synthesize data and make informed decisions to support enterprise strategies. HCAS provides support through the continuous process of identifying, selecting, and managing a portfolio of programs and projects in alignment with key performance metrics and strategic business objectives.

Our solution provides the means to identify, evaluate, prioritize, implement, and monitor an entire portfolio of initiatives via a centralized strategic planning process. HCAS has applied our portfolio management expertise throughout a number of client engagements. A recent example of success was our support to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) national effort to centralize patient accounting systems into 7 regional facilities. Our approach provided transparency of processes and strategic prioritization of projects to ensure efficiency throughout implementation - enabling VHA to implement these initiatives below budget and ahead of  schedule.

Project Management Office (PMO) Support

Industry leading federal and private healthcare organizations are continuously creating new initiatives and projects to enhance operations and solve critical issuesThe foundation of HCAS’s project management approach is the internationally recognized TenStep Project Management Process. This model, based on the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), includes robust project planning, project management (monitoring and controlling), and project closure processes and tools.

The model ensures that a rigorous approach will be applied to all projects, from the initial steps of planning and formalizing project activities, through development of an Integrated Project Plan (IPP); building a budget and schedule; managing the project; and finally to project close-out. Most importantly, our approach uses these principles and tools as the foundation to customize planning, reporting, and execution to fit an organization’s specific needs and culture – enabling a tailored and scalable approach for any size project.

Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS)

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a technique used to measure project progress in an objective manner by analyzing project scope, schedule and cost. It is a flexible yet principle-orientated methodology that covers the entire project life cycle. Project progress is measured in dollars, so cost performance and schedule performance can be compared in the same terms. EVM methodology has become the industry standard because of its effectiveness and versatility that can be applied to any type of project.

HCAS utilizes a sophisticated EVM model to collect monthly project budget data, and regularly provides analysis to organizational leadership as well as key stakeholders. As part of this analysis, financial inputs are aligned with critical project milestones to derive a series of critical EVM metrics, including:

  • Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS), representing budgets of the activities that are planned, or scheduled to be completed;
  • Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP), representing the planned or scheduled cost of the activities that are completed;
  • Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP), representing the actual cost charged against the activities that were completed;
  • Cost Performance Index (CPI), representing the actual cost efficiency of a project;
  • Estimate at Completion (EAC), representing the estimated total cost for all authorized work; and
  • Estimate to Complete (ETC), representing the estimated cost required to complete the remainder of a project.

HCAS has successfully employed our EVM approach to support the VHA’s Chief Business Office (CBO) Project Management Office (PMO) for the last 5 years. This support has led to a clear and transparent understanding of project cost and value, while increasing PMO’s ability to make informed decisions in an accurate and timely fashion.

Governance Support

A strong governance system may be the most important aspect of successful organizations, and yet is often overlooked or under-appreciated. Many of the opportunities to improve performance and drive down costs require organizations to maintain strong collaborative relationships between leadership and key stakeholders. HCAS’s methodology to developing a strong governance plan provides a consistent structure to receive input and collaborate on initiatives with all entities of an organization.

Our approach includes: executive reporting; developing and maintaining workgroup charter(s); updating workgroup rosters; meeting management and facilitation; creating concise agendas, meeting materials, and minutes; and tracking and documenting action items. HCAS has been instrumental in helping the VHA Chief Business Office design, implement, and conduct high-performing governance councils.

In 2010, we helped initiate an innovative national committee to identify national improvement opportunities for front-end revenue processes. In 2012, we assisted the CPAC PMO in developing a tiered framework of executive-level governance to ensure CPAC receives appropriate stakeholder guidance as it enters into its sustainment phase.

Summary

Altarum’s Health Care Advisory Services group can provide complete program management support for organizations or all sizes – ranging from the nation’s largest healthcare provider (VHA) to critical access hospitals and physician practices, assisting with national strategies to locally constrained projects. Our customized approach and highly skilled  staff enable us to be an organization which continuously improves its client’s ability to develop, plan, and execute strategic activities.

The foundational tools and best practice methodologies enhance our delivery, but the drive to understand our clients and become valued and trusted partners enable us to effectively and efficiently support any size engagement.