Project Management

Life Or Death: Risk Management in Health Care

Cindy Waxer

Executive Summary:

Poor risk management can be fatal to any project. But what happens when properly planning for risk factors really is a matter of life and death? This article examines how the staff at Children's Memorial Hospital (Chicago, IL, USA) moved more than 100 critically ill children from an aging facility to the new Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. It overviews why the 14-hour, 3-mile (4.8 kilometer) journey to the new US$855 million facility was born out of necessity, describing how the old facility had become cramped and a replacement hospital need to be created. It explains how the project team was built, and how the transition plan was developed. It discusses how support was gained from internal stakeholders and how the young patients' fears were allayed by using a stuffed animal named Buddy Bear. The article then summarizes how the project team handled the logistics of transporting the patients by using a census-reducing strategy to minimize the number of patients that would have to be transitioned on moving day. It describes how the team created a grid outlining what each patient required during the move to ensure the correct medication and medical equipment were transferred. In addition, it overviews how the Lurie Children's Transport Team, a dedicated group of specially trained nurses and respiratory therapists, …

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