The unenviable job of healthcare CIOs and what we can learn

Nurse with tablet

Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published on cio.com.

CIOs are tough folks. It’s a part of the job. CIOs in the healthcare industry are especially tough. I might be biased, but these are some of the most innovative folks on the planet and I continue to learn from the war stories I hear about the immense pressure to ensure life-saving technology is available, meet federal legislative requirements and empower employees to efficiently complete administrative tasks.

Healthcare CIOs are in charge of all the technology used in a hospital, including emergency departments, administrative offices and even solutions on mobile devices. Every exam room you enter has a computer and a plethora of other tools used to help provide care and save lives.

Then there’s the technology you can’t see. The electronic medical records full of patient information like your name, address, test results, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and more. From patient registration to care delivery and billing, healthcare organizations are creating and sharing content across their enterprises.

Delivering excellence while under pressure

Healthcare CIOs need to not only ensure clinicians have the tools they need to provide the highest level of care, they must also meet complicated Meaningful Use requirements set by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. They must demonstrate that their electronic medical records are improving quality, safety, efficiency, care coordination and public health, while engaging patients and securing patient health information.

No pressure, right?

But that’s not all. Healthcare CIOs must also provide administrative departments with solutions to become more efficient, improve patient service and drive business value. In many instances, they oversee several hundred applications because many departments need solutions that are specific to their specialty.

Or do they?

Many healthcare organizations are embracing an enterprise approach to technology, relying on fewer vendors as strategic partners. CIOs are leading the charge, saving time and money by consolidating niche systems. This means their organizations pay less for software maintenance and require fewer staff to maintain these systems.

These same busy CIOs are jumping at the opportunity to use staff to advance the mission of the organization instead of being bogged down maintaining several hundred systems.

Flexible, low-code enterprise systems are helping CIOs save critical staff time and resources, enabling them to refocus on patients – the important part of healthcare.

Let’s hear it for the CIOs who are leading strategic change and working tirelessly to ensure clinicians have the tools necessary to provide the highest level of care. And once more for the enterprise applications that are flexible enough to meet the various needs of the organization, powerful enough to drive meaningful change and easily configurable to empower staff members to make adjustments as business needs evolve.

These CIOs are leading the way to better care for all of us. They have unenviable jobs, but incredibly important ones.

Susan deCathelineau

Susan deCathelineau

With more than 20 years of healthcare technology and operations leadership experience, Susan deCathelineau is a leader in providing management and consultant services for Health Information Management, Revenue Cycle and Electronic Medical Record strategies. Most notably, she was responsible for the successful enterprise-wide OnBase implementation at Allina Health, which included the integration with the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) initiative. In her current role at Hyland, deCathelineau is responsible for developing and implementing a global strategic vision, to ensure that OnBase Healthcare solutions and services earn customer loyalty and deliver operational excellence. Prior to joining Hyland in 2006, deCathelineau was director of corporate information services at Allina Health System and vice president of product management at QuadraMed. She holds a bachelor’s degree in health information management from the College of St. Scholastica, and completed her master’s degree in health services administration at the College of St. Francis. She is currently Hyland’s vice president for global healthcare sales and services.

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