Whenever any organization decides to implement a new system or upgrade their existing system there are typically goals they are trying to achieve. Sometimes those goals are addressing specific issues, adding functionality, or meeting the expectations of the organization.
How many times have you seen where goals are identified at the beginning of the project and yet no one ever circles back to determine if those goals were met at the end of the project? Most often this happens when the organization’s goals were not SMART goals.
For those of you whom do not recall what a SMART goal is, let’s take a look back. The “S” in SMART stands for specific. Are you goals specific enough to be definite at the end of the project? For example, an organization’s goal to reduce patient check in time is not specific enough, what is included in the check in process? Therefore defining this goal to include those specifics can provide clarity later. So our goal turns into “reduce patient check in time to include providing the patient with necessary paperwork, completing patient update in system, and marking patient arrived”.
The “M” stands for measureable. Is your goal measureable? Take for our patient access goal, further defining the goal to include “reduce patient check in time to include providing the patient with necessary paperwork, completing patient update in system, and marking patient arrived by 20%”, now gives the team a figure to measure when determining success. Therefore if the average check-in time was 5 minutes, the goal to reach is 4 minutes or less, on average, per patient.
The “A” stands for attainable. When setting goals at the beginning of the project we need to ensure that the goal can be obtain. Setting unrealistic expectations or figures that are not attainable may not demonstrate the success of your project. This is where the “R” in SMART comes in as well. Be realistic when setting your goals. Let’s go back to our goal above, what if we had set this goal to decrease the average check in time by 50%? Setting such a lofty goal for your team members may be defeating before they even begin and unattainable.
Finally, the “T” stands for timely. Don’t set goals too far out. Ensure that your specific, measurable, attainable, realistic goal is set within a time frame that makes most sense to determine if the project was a success.