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Hospital CIOs Overwhelmed with Operations

Posted on June 18, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

With the hundreds of CIOs that I’ve talked to over the years, I’m starting to see a real trend happening in their work life. Many hospital CIOs that I talk to are overwhelmed so much with the operations requirements that they don’t take the time to look at more strategic decisions. From the outside it’s easy to see how this is going to pose a problem, but in the heat of the work day it’s hard to recognize.

Think about all the operational pressures that exist for a hospital CIO today. The first on their list is likely meaningful use and the EHR incentive money. Some might question if this is an operational agenda item and I assure you that it is indeed an operations question and not a strategic question. This alone is quite overwhelming. However, there are many more government regulations that are sitting on their back and requiring a lot of work. 5010, ICD-10, ACA, are a few that are close to the heart of this. None of these operational requirements even takes into account things like desktop replacements, network upgrades, server maintenance, server upgrades, mobile device management, etc etc etc. Not to mention security and HIPAA.

The point is that it’s easy for a hospital CIO to get caught up in all the day to day operational requirements that they can’t see any room for a strategically important project. This is a really significant problem and one that ONC should be worried about as well. Are hospitals so overwhelmed with operational requirements that they’re not going to be ready for the future?

There’s an easy way for a hospital CIO to know how they’re doing with this. Sit down and take a look back at your schedule for the last week. How much was spent on strategic thinking and implementation for your organization? I think most hospital CIOs will find a severe lack of time spent strategically improving their organization.

The only way to get there as a leader of a hospital organization is to have people on your team who you trust enough to delegate important operational tasks. Yes, the operational tasks must go forward, but you have to delegate the operational tasks so you can focus on the strategic.

Government Regulations Overwhelming Hospital CIOs

Posted on June 3, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

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?