Healthcare CIO work keeps expanding

Report gauges new expectations, pressures placed on healthcare CIOs
By Bernie Monegain
06:23 AM
Businesswoman drawing graph on wall

Healthcare CIOs report their workload is growing in both scope and complexity, and there seems to be no end in sight. This is according to a new report from nationwide healthcare executive search firm SSi-SEARCH.

"Looking back, healthcare CIOs indicated their workload since HITECH had increased 25 to 50 percent since HITECH," according to the white paper Healthcare's Million Dollar Man. "Looking ahead, most CIOs said the complexity would only continue to increase – significantly."

Why Million Dollar Man? "The idea of the 'million dollar man' is born of the massive budgets, teams and high profile deployments -- valued at hundreds of millions of dollars -- the CIO has managed since HITECH," Pamela Dixon, managing partner, SSi-SEARCH, writes in the paper.

The title is not intended to imply healthcare IT is a man's world, but, the numbers are telling, revealing a picture of a highly educated male:

  • 82 percent are male
  • 97 percent have a college degree
  • 61 percent have a master's degree. 
  • Total compensation ranged from less than $125,000 to over $725,000 per year

{See also: CIO salaries lag as work multiplies.]

Part I of the survey explored how HITECH demands have impacted healthcare and, specifically, the role of the CIO over the past five years. Part II of the survey looks ahead and explores the next five years for the CIO. What CIOs believe will be their greatest challenges. What tools would better enable the CIO to achieve success.  In this exciting next phase, we see the CIO preparing for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Frustrating CIOs, according to SSi-Search findings are hard-to-find resources. Also, 24 percent of survey respondents indicated, "strategic involvement with other executives on key initiatives is limited."

[See also: CIO: No longer just 'the IT guy'.]

Here is a sampling of CIO comments from the survey:

"CIOs will be expected to lead and deliver on the strategies and objectives of the enterprise, expected to innovate and contribute as strategic leaders much more so than in the past." - Rick Schooler, vice president and CIO, Orlando Health

"An organization without a CIO at the strategic table, and putting in place strategic IT-based initiatives, simply won't be around for very much longer. IT is an absolutely critical enabler of virtually every aspect of healthcare delivery moving forward." - Daniel Nigrin, CIO, Boston Children's Hospital

"The future of healthcare IT is truly the convergence of technology innovation, electronic medical record, big data and mobility. It is happening at warp speed. The future will require a different type of leadership from CIOs, who will become catalysts for business change and transformation well beyond just leading the alignment of business objectives with technology investments." - Praveen Chopra, vice president, CIO, former chief supply chain officer, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta now CIO Thomas Jefferson University, TJU Hospital System

"If I were to forecast the future … there are three main components that will be key: operational effectiveness; partnerships and creating a culture of innovation." Deanna Wise, executive vice president and CIO at Dignity Health headquartered in San Francisco.

"Within the next five years, the line separating clinical analytics and business intelligence will be blown away. In a value-based healthcare marketplace, the ability to understand your patient population's clinical data and the relationship between that data and financial performance is not optional." - George Reynolds, MD, vice president, chief medical informatics officer and CIO, Children's Hospital & Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.

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