Establish Governance - Organize Your Project Team

Successful programs have an established governance structure in place. Effective patient engagement programs need governance in place to address accountability, ownership and commitment required to implement change required by any project.  


Governance and leadership should be the first area addressed in any clinical health IT project, and it influences all phases of the project timeline. It also emphasizes the imperative for senior management/project owner involvement in the initiative.


The majority of governance committees have a broad representation of members including CFOs, CNOs, CEOs, VPs, clinicians and directors from across the organization.


The following steps should be taken to organize your project team:

  • Name an “executive sponsor” who will demonstrate the commitment of the entire organization to adoption and sustainment of initiatives

  • Identify the leadership team

    • Clinician champions who will advocate for the cause of using health IT to improve patient care

    • Patient experience and risk/quality managers

    • Include patients and family caregivers on your leadership team

    • Identify additional skill sets/project members needed to be successful and invite or hire them as-needed

  • Develop a stakeholder management process. Regular and frequent communication to key stakeholders (patients, family members, clinicians, and staff) drives success.

  • Create an organizational change management process. A sound methodological approach can drive quality outcomes.

  • Measure return on investment. Financial and operational imperatives integrated into the mission and vision of the organization show long-term commitment to quality.

  • Communication. Clear, routinely scheduled communication of strategic initiatives demonstrates commitment to strategic directions. A governance structure wishing to promote a spirit of “togetherness” allows for membership participation in decision making and therefore promotes proactive communication.

  • Involvement. Focused and consistent organizational communication is critical to success.

  • Visibility. Branding of the methodology, desired outcomes, integration with the mission and vision of the organization facilitates internal and external engagement.

  • Inter-departmental/organizational collaboration. This reinforces the importance of teamwork, processes and successful outcomes within the organization.


For patient engagement, comprehensive planning may include identifying a patient portal team and champion, developing a rollout strategy, setting goals and establishing metrics for success. The more carefully this advance work is done, the more the resulting system will benefit patients.


HIMSS Resources/Articles:

Effective Patient Engagement: Strategies and Tactics - Webinar

Beyond the Family Participation Checkbox: Creating and Sustaining True Patient and Family Engagement – Webinar