Leaders across the healthcare community gathered at ViVE in Miami earlier this month to discuss the latest technology and business strategies. The event was an excellent opportunity for leaders to come together and share their insights on the industry’s most pressing issues. This year’s conference was especially important, as healthcare providers face increasing financial burdens and patient expectations continue to evolve. Here are the top three themes that healthcare CIOs are thinking about.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Here are just a few examples:
- Oracle acquiring Cerner
- Microsoft acquiring Nuance
- Harris Computer Corporation acquiring parts of Allscripts
- Baxter acquiring Hillrom
- Stryker acquiring Vocera
The recent round of announcements listed above will likely cause CIOs to reevaluate their portfolio of products to align better strategically and establish new or deeper partnerships. We will continue to see vendor consolidation in the healthcare technology space, and many CIOs are keeping that theme in the back of their mind as they make purchasing decisions. The main question is will decision-makers gamble on an early-stage solution knowing that it is an acquisition target.
According to a recent study from Rock Health, US digital health companies secured $29.1 billion in funding in 2021, nearly double the amount invested the previous year. Everyone is looking for unicorns in digital health. Aaron Miri, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, said, “SPACs and investors that promised limited upside for start-up valuation are hitting the target. Everyone is looking for the next unicorn, but the reality is that we are driving a well-equipped Ford instead of the Bentley the world thinks we drive.”
William Walders, CIO and SVP of Operations Support at Health First, is excited about the start-up culture. Walders said, “lots of folks are nibbling at the edges of big healthcare and will be successful in ways we can’t.” Examples include the announcement of Amazon digging into retail pharmacy by teaming up with Blue Plans in five 5 states to roll out prescription discount savings card.
We saw many start-ups and investors at ViVE22, but the first requirement is to get client logos to use the products to achieve unicorn status.
Workforce burnout is a primary focus as the clinical teams were working extremely hard during the pandemic. Behind the scenes, healthcare organizations are also supported by IT teams, who also experience burnout. Kevin Shimamoto, CIO at Valley Children’s Hospital, is focused on retaining talent while fighting exhaustion among workers. This is particularly difficult, as Valley Children’s competes with Silicon Valley big tech companies, which can poach top talent.
Dr. Zafar Chaudry, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Seattle Children’s, spends a lot of time meeting with frontline remote staff to ensure that they are engaged and feel inclusive while working remotely. Health systems have traditionally not embraced this type of work environment, and CIOs are adjusting their management style in supporting a remote setting.
There you have it; those are the top three themes from ViVE22. What healthcare CIOs are thinking about as they approach the remainder of 2022. These themes will continue to shape the healthcare landscape in the coming months, from vendor consolidation to workforce burnout.
This piece was written by David Chou, who serves as CIO for an academic health system. Previously, he has held roles with the Cleveland Clinic, Children’s Mercy Hospital, and University of Mississippi Medical Center, among others. To view his blog, click here.