Combining cultures a challenge during mergers, hospital CIOs say

Combining cultures and planning for leadership are among hospital CIOs' primary concerns when it comes to hospital mergers and acquisitions, according to a recent survey by healthsystemCIO.com. Of 221 CIOs surveyed, roughly 75 percent cited "merging cultures" as the biggest challenge during the merger/acquisition process.

"We are too nice when it comes to [merging cultures]," one CIO said. The CIO added that operationalizing such an approach could ease the pressure on participants.

Nearly 70 percent of respondents, meanwhile, cited "failure to agree on a governance structure" as the main reason behind failed mergers. Russell Branzell, CEO of Fort Collins, Colo.-based Colorado Health Medical Group and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, said he thinks that relationship management is one of the most important aspects of a hospital CIO's job this day in age.

"Core competencies have changed--so little of it is technology orientation," he told FierceHealthIT earlier this month. "It really is about providing a vision and a strategy, not just for technology, but for the adoption and the outcomes of the technology."

Branzell added that the top skill today's CIOs should master is relationship management. "It is amazing to me how people don't understand all the inner workings of the ecosystem in the health environment and how physicians interact with nurses who interact with other caregivers who interact with supply chain and how people think," he said.

Roughly 63 percent of all survey respondents indicated that they had either worked at an organization that was acquiring a hospital, an organization that was being acquired, or both.

To learn more:
- check out the healthsystemCIO.com survey

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