Do hospitals need a chief mHealth leader?

Healthcare organizations aiming to capitalize and be progressive with mobile technology should consider establishing a new leadership role, the chief mobile healthcare officer, who can ensure the organization leverages the tools, according to Anne Zieger.

Right now, no healthcare entity is using mHealth in its everyday care efforts, she writes in a blog post.

"Creating a 'chief mobile healthcare officer' slot is as important to the future of healthcare delivery as chief medical information officers are to today's digital healthcare," she says. "In fact, I'd argue that healthcare organizations that don't do this may lose the battle to transform, disrupt and right-size care over the next five to 10 years."

A compelling reason to develop such a role is the arrival of innovative tools and systems, such as Apple's HealthKit platform and the increasing number of wearable devices. A C-level leader is necessary to work with mHealth vendors and players and keeping a close eye on emerging tools and solutions, she adds.

The call for a CMHO arrives as new research claims the advent of true mobile health technology holds big promise to "reengineer" care. Wearables are gaining ground and about two-thirds of Americans are enthusiastic about tapping digital tools for managing personal health.

"Managing the transition to a mobile-driven healthcare enterprise require will require more patient-facing development than virtually any IT job in the house--after all, in no other aspect of HIT is the patient controlling and carrying around the device healthcare providers want to access," Zieger says. "Empowering a top leader to make these decisions makes it far more likely that this aspect of the mobile healthcare transformation doesn't get neglected."

If hospitals and health systems do invest in a mobile health officer, it won't be the only new position in the industry. Chief data officers also are popping up as the need as new systems and tools cause a surge in health information collected by organizations. 

For more information:
- read the blog post