Why Every Healthcare Organization Needs a CIO
- June 11, 2019
The healthcare industry continues to move forward through the digital age. Many health systems, hospitals, and physicians are now using or preparing for their second, third, or fourth generation electronic health record (EHR) and/or revenue cycle systems. Expressions such as “Data is King” and “Information (or Knowledge) is Power” have permeated many board and executive strategic planning discussions and goal-setting sessions. The reality, however, is that data, information, or knowledge can reveal insight that, by itself, does not produce the power needed to yield the desired results. Power comes from applying this insight to move the organization forward more quickly or effectively by taking the right action in the right way at the right time.
Forward-thinking healthcare organizations that view their data as an asset (like money, buildings, and people) are depending on the highest-level IT leader, usually, the chief information officer (CIO), to provide the following critical data services:
- Capturing accurate, timely, and complete data at the point of origin
- Securely storing, backing-up, and recovering this data in the event of a breach or a disaster
- Providing secure, authorized access to the organization’s data
- Enabling organizations to slice and dice the organization’s data to create meaningful insights on which it can act and obtain a sustained competitive advantage in their marketplace
Organizations that struggle in one or more of the above areas can often be traced to not carefully listening and responding to organizational needs and a lack of innovation coming from the CIO’s office. In such cases, we have found that old-school CIOs, IT directors, and managers cling to an IT-business-as-usual attitude and see themselves as responsible for keeping the computer lights on and the servers humming and not involved in strategic discussions and decisions that drive the business forward.
Today’s healthcare organizations of all sizes need experienced CIOs who are focused on providing the above critical services, leading the organization in addressing business and technology challenges, and extracting the most value from their IT investment dollars. Those organizations that cannot afford to hire and retain these professionals on their own often hire a virtual CIO, a sort of CIO-on-Demand. Such an arrangement is often much more cost-effective, manageable, and rewarding for many healthcare organizations.