CIOs should be more than just 'the head geek'

Success as a healthcare CIO boils down to having the right people on your team, Randy Davis, chief information officer and vice president of support services at CGH Medical Center in Sterling, Illinois, said in an interview at Becker's Health IT and CIO Review.

The World Series may be over, but Davis looks to baseball to explain his position.

"If you have the right team, you don't care if the ball is a screamer to second, third, shortstop, a line drive to the outfield, a double play ball; don't care. It matters not because the people you have in place are able to react properly and decisively regardless of what may be thrown at them," he said.

If you have the right people and are totally clear about goals, you can turn them loose and "they'll do right by you," he said.

Davis also said that CIOs should:

  • Learn enough about care delivery to offer solutions, rather than just taking service requests
  • Stop using government regulations as an excuse
  • Ask challenging questions and do the work necessary to keep the team forward-looking

The CIO, he says, should be more than just "the head geek," he told Becker's.

CIOs oversee massive budgets, teams and high-profile deployments valued at hundreds of millions of dollars--and they're looking for greater involvement with key executives on strategic initiatives, according to a whitepaper from executive search firm SSI-Search.

Those in the position also are taking on ever more responsibility--their work is expanding in scope and complexity--but salaries haven't been growing at the same pace. And they rarely climb the ladder to CEO--healthcare organizations tend to favor candidates with clinical experience.

Yet IT initiatives generally are central to improved care delivery and the very survival of healthcare organizations.

"IT has grown in stature," Broward Health CIO Doris Peek said in an interview with Becker's.  "IT is no longer considered just an expensive cost center."

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