The challenges that emerged because of the COVID-19 pandemic affect all spheres of human activity. The effectiveness of measures used to regulate the problem and respond to new threats is a key factor vital towards the minimization of risks and the protection of individuals from being infected. However, the complexity and scope of the existing tasks precondition the need for instruments, tools, and technological support that would help managers to improve the functioning of the healthcare facilities and make them more capable of resisting dangers preconditioned by the coronavirus.
Nevertheless, regardless of the urgent demand for new approaches that can help to avoid mistakes, minimize poor outcomes, and stabilize the functioning of all industries and spheres, including the healthcare sector, there is still little understanding of what tools can be more effective and applicable in terms of maintaining the high quality of care, medical services, and safety to individuals. For this reason, there is a significant body of research devoted to the investigation of innovative solutions, software, procedures, and digitalized methods to improve management and guarantee positive results. The proposed review is designed with the primary goal to review articles belonging to this cohort, outline the common approaches or conclusions provided by the investigators, discuss the methods that can be effective today, and discuss the gap in knowledge and how it can be managed.
Importance of Management
The existing body of evidence accepts the critical importance of project management in any sphere of human activity. For instance, Radujković and Sjekavica (2017) assume any project’s success critically depends on the appropriate use of strategies and approaches to control such criteria as cost, time, and quality. These aspects also act as the central determinants of the project’s success as the conformity with the given standards helps to achieve the desired goals and minimize effort and money devoted to it. Moreover, the importance of project management is evidenced by the fact that methods with proven effectiveness and high practical utility can be applied to all industries, regardless of their nature, as only consideration of the existing demands and environment is needed (Radujković & Sjekavica, 2017). In terms of the pandemic, this feature acquires the top priority as one of the possible ways to reconsider the functioning of organizations to minimize health risks and introduce frameworks characterized by the increased effectiveness and the ability to attain better results. For this reason, most authors emphasize the need to facilitate a positive change in goal-setting, results in evaluation, monitoring, and strategic planning via using technologies and other robust practices (Radujković & Sjekavica, 2017). The current complicated situation increases the speed of this alteration and offers new opportunities for managers.
Another trend emphasized by most investigators working in the given sphere is the fundamental role of science in project management. Today, the scientific approach is viewed as one of the possible ways to attain significant improvement in various industries and minimize risks. Asgard (2018) states that the wide variety of applications, software, and digital tools available today for project managers helps them to attain new levels of excellence, minimize mistakes rate, and save costs by demonstrating the same level of effectiveness. For this reason, the integration of technology in projects is fundamental and becomes one of the prior tasks during the pandemic. Employing innovative methods with the opportunity to visualize data sets, track changes in the environmental factors, and monitor supply, managers become capable of facing challenges and overcoming them effectively. Under these conditions, the utilization of the scientific approach and technologies is advantageous for modern project management.
Electronic Health Record
One of the possible solutions for better management during the pandemic is the use of electronic health records (HER). Reeves et al. (2020) outline several opportunities for optimizing clinical management of the COVID-19 patients by using EHR-based tools. The adherence to this method helps to attain a higher level of automation and faster speed of data processing, which is vital in terms of the severe stress hospitals experience today. The use of techniques supported by EHR-based tools frees medical personnel and increases the pool of available specialists to respond to new emergence cases (Reeves et al., 2020). In such a way, the use of electronic health records becomes an integral part of project management in terms of the healthcare sector. Still, there are also some other options for using similar approaches in different industries to track processes and monitor the workload (Reeves et al., 2020). The EHR is one of the examples of how specialists can benefit from devices and innovative solutions today.
Sources selected for the review also emphasize the beneficial character of technologies regarding risk management. For instance, speaking about the construction industry, Asgard and Jorgensen (2019) emphasize that the majority of risks are linked to poor planning in the early stages of project management. They outline the lack of prioritization, lack of consequences, and lack of competence as the fundamental challenges that should be managed to guarantee safety (Asgard & Jorgensen, 2019). Disregard these factors can result in the emergence of critical vulnerabilities and the deterioration of the situation. For this reason, it is fundamental to put much effort into managing these areas. The idea is supported by Reeves et al. (2020), who state that practical risk management is one of the tools guaranteeing appropriate and improved outcomes in organizations. It should be improved by implementing technologies and viewing them as the basis for further growth. The critical topicality of risk management becomes obvious in terms of the pandemic and limits introduced by it. The ability to effectively manage workers might help them to remain safe. Asgard and Jorgensen (2019) also state that additional educational instructions can help to protect construction clients and authorities, which means that there is a need to distribute and explain them effectively. The given task can be performed by using technologies existing at the moment.
HSE Management and Risks
The analyzed literature also devotes much attention to such factors as health, safety, and environment (HSE). For instance, Asgard (2018) claims that project managers play a vital role in guaranteeing high performance on HSE in construction projects, which means that they acquire the top priority as the important actors contributing to the project’s success. His findings show that the inclusion of the basics of HSE in the courses provided to project managers are fundamental for the achievement of better outcomes (Asgard, 2018). The diversity of tasks that exist today, tools, and technologies available to specialists might complicate the decision-making process and the choice of the correct and working approach. Under these conditions, project managers should be taught how to impact safety culture in projects and how to cultivate an appropriate culture (Asgard, 2018). The emphasis on these factors can promote a better understanding of project and risk management among future engineers and reinforce health and safety tools employed by them in various industries (Asgard, 2018). These findings correlate with the assumptions of other authors, stating that educating PMs can help to reduce risks and protect individuals.
Tracking and Management Tools
In such a way, the training and education of project managers become central for the majority of industries as well-prepared specialists demonstrate better results and can help to reduce incidence rates. The given training should also include the ability to use technologies and software in a different situations to boost performance. Glegg et al. (2019) say that custom-designed Excel-based visual management tools are vital for effective project management in terms of the current complex environments. Using this type of software, specialists can work with massive data portions and visualize information available for them, which becomes critical for enhanced decision-making and the ability to succeed with diverse tasks. The creation and integration of such models can enable better strategic planning, process tracing, and reporting (Glegg et al., 2019). The given advantages are vital for various spheres of human activity, including healthcare, which faces multiple challenges today. In such a way, the existing research acknowledges the importance of technologies in project management and views them as the way to better practice.
Improvement of Outcomes
In such a way, it is possible to conclude that most of the analyzed works agree in the opinion that the use of project management can help to attain better outcomes, minimize risks, and protect all participants of processes peculiar to a particular industry. A serious advantage of PM is its applicability to different spheres with the primary goal to avoid crises or guarantee better decision-making during complex periods. Thus, Sa Couto (2008) emphasizes the critical importance of viewing healthcare as a critically important project with doctors acting as managers who set goals and ensure the effective allocation of resources. The experience in managing patients helps therapists to exist within their industry and select among strategies that guarantee them the most desired outcomes.
In such a way, the existing body of evidence acknowledges the critical importance of project management in modern industries. Because of the high risk of the pandemic, the issues of safety acquire the top priority, and the use of technologies is one of the possible ways to mitigate the threat. However, along with the recognition of technologies and PM, along with the detailed investigation of various concepts, the body of evidence lacks the information about the unified and effective approach that can be used by crisis managers in terms of different projects. Additionally, little attention is devoted to the advantageous use of software as a way to avoid mistakes in diverse industries and create the basis for their improved functioning.
The analyzed resources demonstrate that project management can be considered the way to struggle with the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Project managers equipped with the newest technologies and educated by the recent trends can significantly minimize risks and consider factors that might precondition the failure of a particular project or its inability to evolve. The creation of visualized models by using Excel, specific applications, electronic health records, and other tools contributes to the improved ability to manage massive data portions and attain better outcomes. In such a way, the further evolution of various industries should be linked to the extensive application of diverse technologies and solutions offered by them, and the proposed literature review justifies this very opinion.
However, as stated previously, there is a gap in the literature regarding the application of some universal models, besides EHR, or HSE, to various industries with the primary goal to attain improved outcomes and guarantee that individuals will feel safer and protected. It can be linked both to risks typical for diverse businesses and, at the same time, to the threat coming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The complexity of the situation introduces the need for effective managerial solutions on how to reduce mistakes rates and their severity in different spheres of human activity in terms of the existing environment (Glegg et al., 2019). However, there is a lack in the analyzed sources of how to avoid critical mistakes in different managerial processes as the works focus on how to improve the project management in general, with little attention to details and errors that might occur and deteriorate outcomes.
For this reason, it is vital to fill this gap to improve the current understanding of the problem and offer measures that can be used by managers in all industries to minimize the rate of mistakes and eliminate risks that can precondition undesired outcomes. Moreover, the existence of the given gap means that little attention is devoted to how technologies can help to resolve problems caused by various factors, both internal and external, in all industries and guarantee their stable functioning in terms of the pandemic. For this reason, it is critical to continue working in the given sphere and ensure that much attention and effort will be given to the strategies and methods that can be used to guarantee the ability of various industries to resist threats and continue their stable functioning.
One of the possible ways to eliminate the existing gap is the in-depth investigation of how technologies can be used in various industries with the primary goal to minimize the number of mistakes and elaborate on a unified model that can be used by managers regardless of the field where their work. For this reason, it is possible to analyze the existing theories and advantages of diverse software and applications that are critical for organizing the process, delegating tasks, and monitoring the vital operations needed for the final success. The current literature gap might hurt multiple industries because of the lack of attention devoted to ways to mitigate risks and reduce the number of accidents associated with the human factor. Thus, the mistakes that are preconditioned by the lack of attention, the poor observation of the existing guidelines, and the disregard of rules can also be related to the human factor sphere and can be managed by using technologies, which is a beneficial way to resist nagging threats and improve various spheres’ readiness to struggle challenges such as COVID-19.
In general, speaking about the literature and gaps revealed in the course of its investigation, it is possible to conclude about the existence of a solid knowledge base necessary to improve project management and provide specialists with the improved opportunity to attain better outcomes and contribute to the evolution of various industries. However, the experience gained due to challenges communities face today shows that there is a need for the further minimization of mistakes rate in all spheres by using technologies. For this reason, this gap should be filled by investigating models that can be capable of meeting diverse managers’ needs.
Altogether, it is possible to conclude that technology is a critically important part of the project management sphere. The sources selected for the review show that healthcare, the construction industry, and other spheres can benefit from using health record management systems, Excel models, and software for monitoring and tracking the alterations in basic operations. Moreover, it is possible to create a safer environment by employing existing technologies and using them to manage projects presupposing diverse risks. It means that the future development of communities is linked to the extensive use of technologies in all spheres of human activity.
However, there is also a certain gap in knowledge related to how to minimize mistakes rate in all industries and help workers to avoid being injured, becoming ill, or damaged by both internal and external factors. In terms of the pandemic, the given knowledge becomes vital as it will help to manage organizations more effectively and attain better outcomes. For this reason, it can be recommended to continue the investigation of the sphere to create a unified and effective risk reduction and mistakes management model capable of establishing a safer environment with a low level of potential threats.
Asgard, T. (2018). Health, safety and environment in the teaching of project management. The case of bachelor education in construction engineering in Norway. Procedia computer science, 138, 688–696. Web.
Asgard, T., & Jørgensen, L. (2019). Health and safety in early phases of project management in construction. Procedia Computer Science, 164, 343–349. Web.
Glegg, S. M., Ryce, A., & Brownlee, K. (2019). A visual management tool for program planning, project management and evaluation in pediatric health care. Evaluation and program planning, 72(2), 16–23. Web.
Radujković, M., & Sjekavica, M. (2017). Project management success factors. Procedia Engineering, 196(6), 607–615. Web.
Reeves, J. J., Hollandsworth, H. M., Torriani, F. J., Taplitz, R., Abeles, S., Tai-Seale, M., Millen, M., Clay, B. J., & Longhurst, C. A. (2020). Rapid response to COVID-19: health informatics support for outbreak management in an academic health system. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 27(6), 853–859. Web.
Sa Couto, J. (2008). Project management can help to reduce costs and improve quality in health care services. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 14(1), 48–52. Web.