I don’t think anyone would argue that the healthcare business model is changing. There are a number of dynamics at play that are requiring every healthcare organization to evaluate what their business will look like in the future. Some examples of these changes include:
- Patients with High Deductible Plans
- Accountable Care Organizations
- Other Risk Based Care Models
- Value Based Reimbursement
- Chatbots and AI Assistants
- Health Sensors
- Retail Clinics
I could go on and on, but I think that highlights some of the major ones. What’s interesting about these trends is that it requires a change in business model. However, pretty much every one of these changes in business models requires the use of technology to facilitate the change. Some of them are impossible to do without technology.
If technology is going to play an important role in healthcare’s business transformation, what role should the hospital CIO play in the organization?
What’s shocking to me is how many CIOs don’t want any part in the business transformation part of healthcare. At CHIME I heard one CIO say, “We don’t want anything to do with MACRA. We just want to supply them the systems and let them figure it out.” I’m not sure the “them” he was referring to, but I think this approach is a big mistake. We’re all in this together and have to act as a team to get it done in the most efficient and effective way possible.
I was impressed by another hospital CIO who said basically the opposite. She said, “Oh no, we’re going to be in charge of MACRA and MIPS. I don’t want them taking over MACRA and MIPS, because if they’re in charge of it they’ll select a bunch of items for which we’re not capable of doing.”
Once again, this points to the need for collaboration to occur. You need the clinical insight together with the technical and software based insight in order to make the best decisions possible.
More importantly is I think it’s a big mistake for the hospital CIO to not be part of the business transformation. If the hospital CIO doesn’t take part in business transformation, then IT essentially becomes a commodity. The worst thing you can be in an organization is a commodity. When you’re a commodity they squeeze the budget out of you and you’re seen as non-essential or non-critical to an organization. What CIO wants to be in that type of organization?
I do see most progressive healthcare IT leaders outsourcing much of the “commodity IT” to other third party providers so they can focus their efforts on becoming a more essential part of their organization’s business transformation. The problem is that this requires a different set of skills and interests than what was essentially an operational role managing servers, desktop, and the network.
What type of CIO are you? What type of CIO does your organization need or want?