University of Mississippi Medical Center's David Chou: Next-gen CIO must focus on innovation, influence

The healthcare chief information officer must add two more "I's" to his or her title in today's digital world: innovation and Influence, says David Chou, CIO of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, in a post on

"We are evolving to a world where technology is a commodity, and the only way for CIOs or technology executives to survive is to understand the business world and the digital world," he writes.

While innovation might not come wholly from technology, it likely will involve technology in some way, he says.

Influence requires taking a seat at the executive table, and upping your game in digital communication with top decision-makers. Forget PowerPoint; try using a video demonstration or infographics to make your points, he suggests.

It's essential to understand what he calls the four pillars: social, cloud, mobile and big data. 

Information technology leaders must "move away from managing infrastructure and applications; instead we should focus on being a business partner that is working to solve problems utilizing technology," he writes in a LinkedIn piece on those pillars.

He warns that if CIOs don't embrace these new "I" roles, others within the organization others will--consider the rise of the Chief Digital Officer.

A recent Gartner survey found that CIOs are thought of as the title most responsible for driving digital innovation and change at companies, an indication that CIOs are "evolving away from a reputation for just managing back-office technologies." It is becoming more of a "team game," however, according to the survey of CEOs.

Just 12 percent of hospitals and ambulatory care centers responding to the 2013 Healthcare Provider Innovation Survey from HIMSS and innovation accelerator AVIA reported having a chief innovation officer, though that grew to 64 percent of organizations with annual revenues of more than $5 billion. The majority cited cost reduction as the focal point of their innovation initiatives.

Be proactive and stay ahead of the game were among the pieces of advice executives would give healthcare CIOs to navigate a "perfect storm" of technological, regulatory and cultural changes in a Forbes article.

To learn more:
- read the article
- here's the LinkedIn piece