CMIO Rising

Dr. Sean Kelly
Jun 29, 2012

This year I am attending my first Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS) meeting in Ojai, California. Maybe it is the beautiful southern California setting that brings the analogy to mind. Or maybe the round of applause that spontaneously erupted this morning when the Supreme Court ruling upheld the Health Care Reform Bill's major muscle reinforces the energy. But I can't help but feel like this tightly-knit community of tech-geek-doctors is surfing a rising tide of momentum.

Meaningful use. Healthcare Reform. EHR rollouts. 

Suddenly the CMIO, you know - the "doctor who speaks tech" or the "IT guy who still practices" is one of the most important people in the room. Lots of regulatory money on the table. Almost every major aspect of clinical and administrative operations now has a significant IT component. 

The C Suite of any hospital or healthcare system has always been an exclusive club. The sense out there seems to be that the CIO position or its equivalent has been accepted into the club as a well established need. But what about this new guy? Will he fit in? Is there enough work and need to go around?

Well, I think the answer, more and more, is yes. Plenty of need. Plenty to do. At a growing number of hospitals, the CIO feels like they are drinking from a fire hose. So many projects, never enough time. And so much depends on integrating technology with patient care and clinical leadership. There is an ever-growing need for what a Gartner representative described as "a human bridge." How can hospitals optimize EHR adoption and utilization? Capture Meaningful Use dollars? Increase doctor and nurse satisfaction? Deal with BYOD and security/efficiency issues?

It feels like many institutions who several years ago were unsure of what to make of a CMIO and how their role might fit into the C Suite have now accepted the value of CMIO's, largely because individuals who can bridge the gap between IS initiatives and actual patient care are valuable in establishing lasting and, pardon the pun, "meaningful" change. 

The tide is rising. Surf's up. Get ready for a wild ride, CMIO's...