Importance of Auditing & Medical Coding Project Kick-Off Calls: How to Get the Entire Team on the Same Page
Effective project management is crucial for success in the dynamic and complex landscape of the healthcare industry. There has been a flood of technological and procedural updates within healthcare in recent years, including the implementation of EHR and CDI software. Adopting project management principles while executing these updates has allowed facilities to effectively manage costs, minimize risks, and ultimately achieve successful project outcomes. Scheduling a kick-off call has become an essential practice to ensure seamless collaboration and project alignment from the beginning.
As a certified project manager, I aim to highlight the significance of kick-off calls and several important questions surrounding their function. Healthcare organizations can enhance project outcomes, improve communication, and achieve their strategic goals by implementing a kick-off meeting during their next project.
The Purpose of an Auditing & Coding Project Kick-Off Call
A kick-off call serves as the initial step in the project management process. It provides a platform for stakeholders to align their understanding of the project’s goals, scope, and deliverables. According to Don J. Wessels’ paper, Rapid Project Planning – Propelling Projects to Success, for the Project Management Institute, the call enables stakeholders to understand the project’s definition, objectives, requirements, and desired outcomes. This shared understanding lays the foundation for effective collaboration throughout the project lifecycle.
Kick-off calls offer an opportunity to define and communicate the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder involved. Clear delineation of responsibilities minimizes confusion, reduces duplication of efforts, and fosters accountability. They promote active stakeholder participation and engagement throughout the project lifecycle.
By discussing project timelines, milestones, and dependencies, kick-off calls help establish realistic expectations among stakeholders. It enables them to plan their resources, schedules, and workloads accordingly. Additionally, the call provides an avenue for stakeholders to introduce themselves, establish rapport, and initiate open lines of communication. It promotes a collaborative atmosphere, encouraging effective information-sharing and problem-solving throughout the project.
Auditing & Coding Project Kick-Off Call Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To provide complete transparency of the kick-off call process, here are several frequently asked questions we’ve received.
While the specifics of a kick-off call may vary based on the project’s nature and complexity, a structured approach can help ensure its effectiveness. At a minimum, the call should include the following elements. Download our kick-off call template here.
• Introduction and Welcome: Begin the call by introducing and welcoming all participants, briefly stating the project’s purpose, and outlining the objectives to be achieved during the meeting.
• Client Overview: If you’re an external vendor working with a hospital or provider, provide a brief description of the client’s organization, goals, mission, values, and challenges.
• Scope of Work and Expectations: Review the signed scope of work agreement to confirm it is accurate. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder involved in the project. This clarifies expectations and ensures everyone understands their contributions and dependencies. Discuss a high-level overview of the project, including its expected outcomes, scope, and key deliverables. Emphasize the benefits and value the project aims to bring to the organization.
• Project Team Introductions: Introduce the key members of the team who will be working on the project. Discuss their areas of expertise, experience, and their roles in the project.
• Communication and Reporting: Outline the communication channels, frequency, and reporting mechanisms used throughout the project. Emphasize the importance of regular updates and encourage open communication.
• Workflow and Facility Policies: Review the current workflow, systems, applications, and tools utilized during the project. Outline any facility-specific requirements or protocols.
• Training and Knowledge Transfer: Identify additional training staff may need to complete the project. Set up knowledge transfer sessions to train staff and bring any materials or resources to pass along that knowledge.
• Q&A Session: Allocate time for participants to ask questions, seek clarifications, and address any concerns. Encourage an open dialogue to foster engagement and stakeholder involvement.
• Next Steps and Action Items: Share a summary of the key decisions and action items discussed during the call. Assign each action item to a stakeholder with expected deadlines. The next meeting or checkpoint should be scheduled before signing off.
The project manager typically takes on the responsibility of organizing and facilitating the kick-off call. As a certified project manager, I coordinate with stakeholders, prepare the agenda, and ensure the call’s objectives are met. The project manager should also collaborate with relevant teams to gather necessary information and resources for an effective kick-off call.
The success of a kick-off call hinges on involving the right stakeholders who possess the knowledge, expertise, and decision-making authority to contribute meaningfully to the project. The key participants in a kick-off call may vary depending on the project, but here are a few examples to include:
• Client: The organization or group that reached out for assistance meeting their goals or accomplishing their project.
• Project Manager: The person responsible for planning, executing, and controlling the project, ensuring it meets its objectives.
• C-Level Executives: Directors and other management-level executives who oversee the departments involved in the project.
• Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): Individuals who possess specialized knowledge relevant to the project and can provide valuable insights.
• Other Key Stakeholders: Representatives from departments or areas impacted by the project’s outcomes, such as IT, finance, operations, or HIPAA compliance.
Need Assistance Planning Your Next Auditing or Coding Project? Our Consultants Can Help
Scheduling a kick-off call at the start of every healthcare project provides a solid foundation for success. By facilitating project understanding, clarifying roles, setting expectations, and fostering communication, kick-off calls enable stakeholders to collaborate effectively toward project goals. Embracing this best practice empowers healthcare organizations to drive successful project outcomes, enhance productivity, and deliver high-quality results.
YES employs several certified project managers to ensure every endeavor is completed accurately and successfully. If you’re interested in learning more about our project management services, reach out to our YES consultants. We look forward to helping you succeed.
- Wessels, D. J. (2010). Rapid project planning—propelling projects to success. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2010—North America, Washington, DC. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/rapid-project-planning-facilitator-success-6604