Hospital CIOs: Groundwork must be laid for future health IT endeavors

While most healthcare CIOs recently interviewed about their challenges and concerns by consulting firm Deloitte said that they were comfortable with their organization's preparedness regarding ICD-10 and Meaningful Use efforts, they also said that foundational groundwork regarding security and optimization of systems is needed to move forward on future endeavors. An analysis of those opinions was published in a new whitepaper, "Health System Chief Information Officers: Juggling responsibilities, managing expectations, building the future."

"These are the table stakes for CIOs," the paper's authors said. "Having a solid foundation of clinical, administrative, and financial systems supporting analytics platforms will be crucial for health systems to navigate the rapidly evolving reimbursement and regulatory environment."

For the analysis, Deloitte interviewed 12 CIOs about their goals, both near-and long-term, as well as challenges and preparedness for IT initiatives.

The most important future endeavors identified by the CIOs included the creation of information-driven health systems using advanced analytics; the building of IT platforms in order to expand the scope of services offered; and the building of platforms for risk-based contracts with payers.

"CIOs place high value on defining and measuring the ROI resulting from new technologies," the paper's authors said. "While there is ample innovation, the key is determining the way in which an organization pieces it all together in a way that is manageable."

Five challenges identified by the CIOs as keys to moving toward those future endeavors: securing adequate financial resources; finding sustainable technologies; improving organizational understanding to shore up support; hiring the right people; and determining scalability.

"CIOs are realistic: they are not delusional about the urgent issues they face or the politics of asking for more when asked to do with less," the authors said. "They are concerned about their organization's lack of preparedness to make the transition to an information-driven health system--the 'new normal.'"

The whitepaper seems to echo concerns identified in a recent study published earlier this month by Level 3 Communications about CIO priorities for 2013. For that survey, 100 CIOs and other senior IT executives pointed to Meaningful Use and upgrading IT infrastructure as primary priorities.

To learn more:
- read the Deloitte whitepaper

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