CMIO role evolving in wake of EHR implementation

Healthcare organizations tend to be unclear about what the chief medical information officer's role is after the implementation of electronic health record systems, according to an article at Healthcare Informatics.

Chris Wood, M.D., CMIO of Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Illinois, is a "second-generation CMIO." Wood, who last summer came from a position as medical director of information systems at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, advocates that CMIOs should be leaders in determining the future of the position.

"This is a new functionality that the entire health system is looking at. Instead of doing procedure after procedure, we have to step back and ask what is best for the patient, and how we can get rid of waste, improve quality and lower costs. If you are passionate about it, find ways to go out and get training," he says in the article. "You are better positioned than people who don't have that informatics background."

Since Loyola has years of EHR use under its belt, Wood says he sees his job as helping clinical staff gain more useful insight from the data being generated.

Wood reports to a chief of operations, but also works closely with the chief quality officer--who runs a center for clinical excellence and studies all the metrics reported to state and federal government and to private payers.

"He has data needs. Clinical programs trying to drive out waste individually have data needs. Researchers at the med school have data needs. The CMIOs who can partner with the most important clinical business goals of the organization are going to succeed," he tells Healthcare Informatics.

Improving care requires a greater willingness to share information and interoperability between systems, Sutter Health CMIO Christopher Jaeger said in an interview at Becker's Hospital CIO.

Just as in the case of healthcare chief information officers, workload and responsibility are growing for CMIOs, which could explain why fewer say they're satisfied with their jobs, though recently their salaries have increased.

To learn more:
- read the interview