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Health System Chief Information Officers

Juggling responsibilities, managing expectations, building the future


Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in traditional, acute health care systems face enormous challenges as they race to prepare their organizations to make the transition to an information-driven health system.

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions interviewed CIOs in 12 major health care systems to assess their opinions about and preparedness for the challenges ahead. Their responses are presented in the report, Health System Chief Information Officers: juggling responsibilities, managing expectations, building the future.

First and foremost, CIOs are focused on short-term priorities of navigating the regulatory environment, completing foundational ground work, and moving toward accountable care and payment reform.

After these priorities are accomplished, CIOs will move beyond laying solid foundations to answering questions that are vexing to so many health care systems:

  • Creating an information-driven health system using advanced analytics: aside from financial returns, CIOs are looking for advances in health information technology (IT) to increase productivity, boost patient safety, and support quality improvement.
  • Building an IT platform for expanded scope of services: CIOs understand that the scope of their enterprise should embrace non-traditional settings. Solutions not traditionally in their domain are the key to connecting disparate pieces of a local delivery network into an integrated organization competing to seamlessly manage population health across a continuum of connected services.
  • Building a platform for risk-based contracts with payers: as hospitals face taking on insurance risk via capitation, bundled payments, or other means, CIOs will need to gauge what IT requirements are necessary to adjudicate and pay claims, credential providers, capture and report safety and quality measures, and manage seamless inputs and outputs across a wide spectrum of delivery sites.

Getting from here to there: the road ahead

There is widespread consensus among CIOs about their near- and long-term priorities; getting there is the challenge. Moving forward, they will rely on five factors to ensure the success and effectiveness of their organization’s health IT-led transformation: adequate financial resources, technology supplier sustainability, organization oversight and support, qualified IT professionals, and scalability.

CIOs are not delusional about the urgent issues they face. To meet them they require unflappable leadership skill and vision, a carefully-constructed team with expanded competencies, and the ability to ‘make the case’ effectively with their boards and management teams.

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