Founded in 1986, Dignity Health is a mission-driven, public benefit hospital. Over 60,000 caregivers and staff across 21 states work together to create a healing environment for patients and their loved ones.
Before seeking out a project management tool, the team was trying to manage a scrum process and coordinating efforts primarily through email, with weekly webinars for standups. According to Sabrina Penn, Clinical IT Pharmacist at Dignity Health, “It was very messy. When you’re doing sprints, it’s easy to lose track of an email, and sharing those emails can be tough, especially working at a hospital with limited file sizes for attachments.”
Sabrina’s work involves coordinating with developers to work within functional specifications and supply additional decision support to the prescribing system, along with leading the design and implementation of clinical decision support systems. All of the teams she leads are focused on the technology used in the dispensation of medication as well as hospital administration, including any and all project’s related to their electronic health record system, various medical devices, and all technology for medical information security.
The fact that they were working in across multiple locations and facilities made collaborating all the more complicated. After investigating various tools to help bridge the divide, they decided to try Shortcut.
More Communication, Fewer Emails
One of the features that drew them to Shortcut was how open it is. Anyone, from any location, can quickly check on project status and receive updates, without anyone needing to share a specific document or forward an email. The team especially appreciates the daily digest notification.
Everyone reviews all of the open projects on a regular basis, and can easily add and assign Tasks and Stories.
"I found that it really brought a cohesiveness and cut down on the amount of meetings I’ve had with our team and other teams in general. There’s nothing to report — everyone knows what’s going on with any of our projects."Sabrina Penn, Dignity Health Clinical IT Pharmacist
The data and reporting features also help Sabrina create more accurate time estimates in the future, which is one of the larger struggles that companies in more regulated industries (like healthcare) have. “What I’ve been doing is going by average time that’s been spent on a specific build or direction in the past and then schedule it out accordingly, knowing that it probably won’t be completely accurate.”
A New View
Another feature that helps is the categorization and sorting of stories. “You can see exactly what step you’re on, where you’re at in the sprint, and what tasks are under your name.” She relies heavily on her Views, because otherwise everything looks important at a glance — she’s created very specific custom views that take into account Labels and timelines, and then shares those with her team so they can see what they need to see. They also have their own custom Views, but her Views are their default workspace, which creates a shared and accurate understanding of team priorities.
Being able to see things quickly and clearly was a key factor in Sabrina’s decision to start using Shortcut. “When you have so much data to manage project-wise, it’s important to keep things as clear as possible. If there’s any possibility of an issue being misconstrued or misrepresented, that can pose a big risk. Forgetting a project because it’s not viewable could potentially wind up being a patient safety issue.”
On Top Of It All
They’ve defined distinct workflows for each of their teams. For example, the Local Technology Oversight team must keep track of everything related to local pharmacy technology, and Sabrina has provided guidelines that can be used as a starting point for all new Projects and Stories. They use a generic “pending” workflow state for any efforts that require additional research or additional steps to keep them in line with existing regulations.
Right now, they have four teams using Shortcut, with new teams being added. After demonstrating to Dignity Health leadership how Shortcut has helped them, the organization as a whole is looking at converting to using it. After all, when you’re dealing with healthcare, you can’t afford to be disorganized.
Says Sabrina: “Everyone I’ve talked to is amazed at how organized and on top of these projects you can be, because of Shortcut.”