The HIMSS14 annual conference and exhibition was an enormous and exhausting event, and yet it was a wonderful way to renew acquaintances in the industry and to connect in-person with new health IT professionals. Thank you to the several folks I met at the conference who said they read and appreciate my healthsystemcio.com blog.
Since CHIME Forum is also held during the conference, our firm (a CHIME Foundation member) hosted a 90-minute CIO focus group in which 15 CIOs from a variety of health systems participated in a lively discussion of topics. Following are some of the key concerns and issues that were discussed:
Mergers, acquisitions and partnerships
One CIO in Georgia is looking to offer IT services to two hospitals not owned by his organization with an option called “Community Connect.” One or two health systems are looking to collaborate, but there are legal, financial and other obligations in system data interchange. One CIO from Southern California mentioned that his organization is being actively courted by larger IDNs in the area. A CIO from New York State said there is a “feeding frenzy,” with pressure from the state and the governor to join other systems. An academic medical center CIO asked, “How do you do governance? How can the health systems work together?” Another CIO was looking at doing a private HIE instead of joining the statewide exchange.
Big data, analytics and business intelligence
One CIO mentioned, “Everyone wants data, including the Department of Health, ACOs and population health initiatives, but we do not have the staff or resources. There could be major issues on interpretation and integrity of data.” Another said, “Doing data analysis takes a long time and people need a lot of training. IT governance of data needs to be resolved, and so does who has access to the data.” A CIO from a large academic medical center stated that we need to engage physicians to make data better by changing clinical processes to improve the quality.
New IT positions
A Midwestern CIO said that they have a Chief Innovation Officer. With the rise of big data and analytics, the need for the role of Data Scientist to help in research or operational analytics, or VP of Analytics were mentioned. After the recent news of the Target data breach and other security issues, the role of Chief Information Security Officer was mentioned as being on the upswing. With the social media surge, one CIO plans on hiring a head of Digital Technology and Social Media. Clinical informatics is growing with CMIO, CNIO and Chief Clinical Informatics Officer positions discussed. One CIO plans to hire a Chief Applications Officer.
We discussed data security at length and almost all of the CIOs have cyber liability insurance. One small hospital CIO in the group did not have insurance and most likely signed up after the focus group. It was mentioned that most organizations “are already hacked and just don’t know it.” Everyone seemed to be afraid of a major breach and believed that CIOs need to set expectations with senior executives and definitely should get cyber insurance.