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Meaningful Use, Stage 3, Providers & Technology

Meaningful Use StageThe Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposed rules for stage 3 of meaningful use. The entire document is over 300 pages, and reads like a legal contract or legislative bill – not something you would read for fun. Stage 3 is the final stage of meaningful use, beginning in 2017, and required by all providers and hospitals by 2018.

Stage 3 meaningful use focuses on provider flexibility, simplifying the program, interoperability of electronic records, and patient outcomes. “The steps we are taking today will help to create more transparency on cost and quality information, bring electronic health information to inform care and decision making, and support population health,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell in a press statement.

Stage 3 “does three things: It helps simplify the meaningful use program, advances the use of health IT toward our vision for improving health delivery, and further aligns the program with other quality and value programs,” said Patrick Conway, MD, acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer at CMS, in a statement.

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Dealing with a Demanding Project Sponsor

Jim GrahamA Project Manager does not necessarily have the luxury of picking their project sponsor. At times the cards are dealt and you have to deal with a difficult sponsor or team.

Throughout my years as a project professional, I could name plenty of examples of “difficult sponsors”, such as; being indecisive, changing project timelines, changing the scope, avoiding responsibility (e.g., not making/delaying key decisions), unrealistic expectations, not providing the right resources… the list could go on!

So, what’s the best way to handle your difficult sponsor? From day one, build a strong partnership with the sponsor! Being honest with your stakeholders is the fist step in building the trust and credibility that will make difficult conversations a bit easier.  I have learned this lesson the hard way, as I was transitioned to a few projects that had been started by other PM’s. Those PM’s, once confronted with a difficult sponsor, cowered in fear of upsetting them. They would say “yes” to everything, essentially conforming to their customer’s indecisiveness. By doing this it builds a false foundation for the project and the team, and sets it up for failure from the start.
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Don’t Panic…Wait 5.

Jim GrahamPM Tip of The Week: Don’t Panic…Wait 5.

A member of your project team just reported a major issue, what are you to do?! Don’t press the panic button! Take a deep breath and wait 5 minutes or 10, or even the day. Why? Often issues that are perceived as major may be easy resolved, once more information is uncovered or other team members have a chance to provide insight.

Panicking will be a time waster. Instead use your energy to be sure whatever fire just came up is real, and then assess the impact to the overall project health. With the help of your team and their feedback, assess and determine the real impact the issue may have on the project. Once you have clearly documented the facts and options, it is then time to determine if escalation is necessary. Lastly, do not be afraid to present issues to the sponsor even if you feel that their reaction may be negative. If you are prepared and can clearly explain the issue at hand, they might provide insight and help, perhaps even offering options that you have not considered.

Favorite Lightweight, Inexpensive, Software

Terry Courtney
This is the first in a series of articles on our favorite software tools – things we use almost every day. Most are inexpensive or free, and lightweight cloud-based solutions.


iPad, iPhone, and web browser cost: free

Let’s start the series with something I use every single day. I read a lot of blogs and news, from a variety of sources, and have tried many systems and tool to help. For a long time, I used Google Reader, until it was discontinued. Now, I am hooked on Feedly.

Each morning I start the day with a cup of coffee and an iPad. I scan a few news apps, like USA Today and BBC, and then open Feedly. Starting with local news, I try to get through as many sources as I can. When done, I mark everything as read, so the following day only new articles are shown.

When I encounter really interesting articles, I flag them as “save for later”. Feedly will keep a list of these ‘bookmarked’ stories. At some point during the week I typically open Feedly from my Mac, and scan the saved articles – usually things I want to follow up on.
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Top Reasons Why Aprelion is Different

Jim GrahamNo. 1: We Assign The Right Consultant

We know that an inexperienced Program/Project Manager can put project success at risk. We focus on assigning the right PM for you, your business, and your initiative. We do not put a PM on a project just because they are available, they must possess the necessary skill sets to match the project scope, technology, and organizational culture.

No. 2: Clear Project Scope, Definition of Roles, and Definition of Project Success from Day 1
We want the project team to support the project from kick-off to close. We will level-set from the beginning by preparing an overview of the project goals and the organizational significance for the team. We will clarify every team member’s role, how they will be evaluated throughout the project lifecycle, and highlight key milestone areas that will be critical for their involvement. Lastly, we will ensure that the project success criteria is clearly defined, this way all are satisfied at project close.
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