In a survey fielded at the end of 2014, executive search firm SSI-SEARCH found the responsibilities of the healthcare CIO growing and changing rapidly, with work expected to more demanding than ever in the year ahead. Also, the survey showed that what takes up most of a CIOs time might not always be the same as what is seen as critical by the health system as a whole.
[For more on the survey, see: Can CIOs keep up with pace of change? and Healthcare CIOs hit with big change.]
• Stage 2 meaningful use – 55 percent
• EHR optimization – 55 percent
• Analytics initiatives – 43 percent
With 55 percent of CIOs surveyed indicating Stage 2 is a top priority, it might be surprising to see the poor results to date. At mid-year 2014 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid reported 972 eligible providers and 10 eligible hospitals had attested to Stage 2. The numbers inched up by year's end, but not enough to instill confidence in the program.
Several industry groups called for changes to parts of Stage 2 and warned that the entire initiative might be at risk unless the government agreed to some compromise.
More than ever, physicians became vocal about how their electronic health record systems operated. They talked about the need for better design, for ease of use and for interoperability, and they drew CIOs into the conversation, demanding and getting greater attention to their plight than in the past.
SSI-SEARCH asked CIOs: “What is the most important capability you need to meet the challenge of your role now and in the future?” Forty-six percent stated “data analytics.” The next most popular answer was “clinical expertise” at 22 percent.
How would the analytics skill be acquired or improved? The majority of CIOs surveyed responded, “Partnering with another member of the team with this skill” closely followed by “Bringing on additional resources to augment the team with this skill set."
SSI-Search asked CIOs: “Which of the following areas does your health system perceive as most critical?”
The answers did not align with how CIOs said they spent their time:
• EHR optimization - 66 percent
• Analytics initiatives - 63 percent
• Population health - 63 percent
• Stage 2 meaningful use - 59 percent