By Dr. Nathan Gause – Assistant Professor of Medicine/Orthopedic Surgeon at Univ. of Missouri Healthcare (Former CMIO at Great River Medical Center)
Change brings challenges. Currently, one of the biggest ongoing changes in healthcare at all levels is the influx of data and the growth of interest in predictive analytics. Yet, the arduous task of understanding how these factors can and should affect the way we approach clinical decision-making is slowing adoption and implementation.
Change brings more than just challenges—it brings opportunities. If an organization can find a way to turn raw data accurately and efficiently into actionable insight that drives effective clinical-decision making, the sky is the limit.
Enter the Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO). Now, the chances are good that for a lot of people reading this, it’s the first time they’ve ever heard of the role. Or their view of the CMIO may be tied to how the position has historically been utilized—a sort-of jack-of-all-trades, boots on the ground, firefighter, curbside IT consultant with more of a reactive posture than a clearly defined seat at the table.
However, as the abundant opportunities of properly leveraging healthcare analytics across all departments become clearer, more and more organizations are realizing that the CMIO position is an opportunity for healthcare organizations to better position for forward mobility. The quicker that an organization understands and adopts the evolving role of the CMIO, the better positioned it’ll be.
In a recent webinar entitled, The Modern Healthcare CMIO: Best Practices for Implementing Digital Innovations, I spoke with several other thought leaders about the evolving role of the CMIO into what I have dubbed CMIO 2.0.
The Champion of Change in Heathcare Organizations
It’s no secret that even when presented with a lengthy list of benefits, people are hesitant to change. Nonetheless, the power of predictive analytics and more data-driven tools are coming! This creates an opportunity for the CMIO to step in and champion the change. The CMIO can be at the forefront of helping their colleagues adapt by doing things like educating on how, when, and where to use data, addressing resistance concerns, and by capturing the buy-in needed from all levels and all departments.
Additionally, the CMIO can drive the implementation of new technologies and resources as they become available. Things like using vertical health records, leveraging the EHR to deliver more precision medicine to patients, or trusting complex algorithms to predict patient treatment times or suggest treatment interventions all can fall under this umbrella.
Interoperability Between Departments
One of the chief roadblocks to getting the most out of data is being able to use it accurately throughout different departments. The challenges can be as simple as something like how data points are defined from department to department, or it can be as complex as determining how the EHR systems integrate with the analytics solution. Regardless of the scope of the issues, the CMIO can be the bridge between all departments and levels of the healthcare organizations’ data exchange. The interoperability of data can have a dramatic effect on efficiency, patient experience, and the overall bottom line.
The Next Stage of Evolution – A Permanent Seat at the Table
The biggest change in the role of the CMIO that I foresee in the future is that the position will become a permanent staple of the healthcare C-suite organizational structure. As the importance of the role is better understood and more clearly defined, the support and resources will begin shifting as well.
This can happen in one of two ways in a healthcare organization. It can happen proactively through good foresight into the future of what data and predictive analytics are bringing to the equation. And if not, it’s going to happen reactively as organizations play catch-up to the industry. It’s a critical decision that needs to be discussed sooner rather than later.
If You’d Like to Hear More
If you’re interested in hearing more about the future of the CMIO role or the future of predictive analytics and data-driven clinical decision-making, I’d encourage you to check out the recent webinar entitled The Modern Healthcare CMIO: Best Practices for Implementing Digital Innovations.
The Modern Healthcare CMIO
Best Practices for Implementing Digital Innovations