Government Regulations Overwhelming Hospital CIOs

I was recently talking with a hospital CIO about the challenges that he faces as a hospital CIO today. This hospital CIO has been doing it for a long time and so I was quite interested to hear his perspective on the changes in his job.

His response was telling. He recounted how he kept a powerpoint slide which covers all of the areas and projects he’s responsible for as a hospital CIO. Over time that slide had grown into a lengthy list of responsibilities, but he’d also modified the slide into two different lists. The new list he created was all the government regulations he was required to deal with as a hospital CIO. He then told me that the list of government regulations was as long as the rest of the list.

This is not surprising for those of us in the healthcare space. Without even effort I can list the alphabet soup of government health IT regulations: MU, ACO, ICD-10, EHR, 5010, etc. Plus, that doesn’t even include all of the various healthcare regulations that tangentially impact healthcare IT.

No doubt all of these government regulations can be overwhelming to any healthcare IT organization and its leaders. Although, I’m also concerned at the impact this will have to innovation in these hospital IT organizations.

We’ve seen how meaningful use has nearly stopped innovation in EHRs. It seems that wave after wave of government healthcare regulations are doing the same. When does a hospital CIO have time to do innovative things when they can barely keep their head above water dealing with government regulations?