eHealth Insider: The rise of the CCIO, a US view

By Dr. Sean Kelly

Dr Sean Kelly is the chief medical officer of single sign on specialist Imprivata and a practicing emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. He offers a US perspective on the meteoric rise of the CCIO in the NHS.

With technology playing an ever-increasing role in the healthcare industry – the Information Strategy, reforms, and continued Electronic Patient Record (EPR) rollouts – suddenly the Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) is starting to become a hot property.  Almost every major aspect of clinical and administrative operations in healthcare now has a significant IT component as NHS trusts look at increasing efficiencies and improving security by deploying innovative technology. But what, exactly, is the CCIO?

The doc who ‘speaks tech’

The CCIO is the doctor who ‘speaks tech’, bridging the gap between the IT and medical practice. The CCIO exerts clinical experience onto technology roll-outs, ensuring that implementations will be executed with the best interests of care providers at heart, and fit seamlessly into clinical workflows. Equipped with medical and IT knowledge, the CCIO can make informed decisions about healthcare IT implementations.

Will the CCIO fit in?

But the C-suite, or board, 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 role of the CCIO? Will it fit in? Is there enough work and need to go around?