Security, M&A among hospital CIO frustrations for 2014

As 2014 kicks into full gear, what topics elicit fear and frustration among health CIOs? Bonnie Siegel, a healthcare IT recruiter for Witt/Kieffer, shared some of her takeaways from discussions with CIOs at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives' CIO Forum in Orlando, Fla., in a recent post.

Mergers, acquisitions and partnerships are top of mind for some CIOs with whom Siegel spoke. For example, one CIO Siegel talked with said his health system wants to offer IT services to another organization, and various health systems are looking to work together, but legal and financial obligations stand in the way. Another CIO went so far as to tell Siegel that mergers and acquisitions are causing a "feeding frenzy," with pressure to join other systems.

Hiring for new IT positions also will be a priority for CIOs this year, according to Siegel. Some of those roles include: data scientists, analytics experts, chief information security officers (particularly in light of the recent Target data breach, as reported Tuesday), chief applications officers, heads of digital technology and social media and chief applications officers.

CIOs also talked about the challenge of getting cyber liability insurance to prepare for breaches and hacks.

The latter was a top priority for healthcare CIOs in 2013, according to an independent research study published by Level 3 Communications.

According to a HIMSS Analytics report published last month, top priorities for health IT executives in the next two years mostly are tied closely to governmental mandates, but also include project management.

"The need to develop a successful strategy to manage data is essential," the HIMSS Analytics report concluded. "An increasing number of healthcare organizations are using analytics from current data and archived data to project the needs of their patients and streamline their organizational business performance."

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