3 hurdles hospital CIOs face in transitioning to accountable care

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As patient care models continue to shift with an emphasis on increased provider accountability, hospital CIOs must evolve to keep pace, says Jorge Grillo, CIO at Canton-Potsdam Hospital in Potsdam, N.Y.

Grillo, in a post for healthsystemCIO.com, outlines several hurdles that lie ahead for CIOs in making such a transition. Among them:

  • Clinician interaction: Committee approaches to patient care likely will be more prevalent, Grillo says. To that end, CIOs will need to communicate with providers "more than ever before."
  • Logistics knowledge: In order to provide advice with regard to identifying inexpensive and "effective supply chain components," CIOs must understand all of the ins and outs associated with their projects, Grillo says.
  • Business savvy: CIOs will have to work more with competitors and non-healthcare partners, Grillo says. To that end, they'll need to have "broader business relationships," as well as a better appreciation of business process.

"For many CIOs, this is new ground and results in a continuous learning experience--not just for them and their team, but for the whole organization," Grillo says. "Many organizations are exploring, not just a single model, but several at the same time, looking to see which program or model best fits their organization, customers and service areas. … Under these new care models, the traditional delivery of IT services and solutions has evolved into a minimum expectation of basic skills that is no longer seen as having true value."

FierceHealthIT Editorial Advisory Board member Indranil Ganguly, vice president and CIO at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, N.J., talked about the evolution of hospital CIOs on a webinar conducted by FierceHealthIT in April. Ganguly pointed to the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the release of the Institute of Medicine's "To Err is Human" patient safety report in 1999 as milestones marking a shift in the responsibilities for CIOs.

"In the 1970s, '80s and even in the early '90s, CIOs typically reported to the chief financial officer," he said. "HIPAA was the IT area's first real foray into heavyweight involvement on a regulatory issue. … The report, meanwhile, really put patient safety on every hospital's radar screen, and by default, every hospital CIO's radar screen."

Meanwhile, Russell Branzell, in an interview with FierceHealthIT prior to officially taking over as CEO for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, echoed Grillo's points that hospital CIOs need to be more involved in business processes.

"Core competencies have changed—so little of it is technology orientation," Branzell said. "It really is about providing a vision and a strategy, not just for technology, but for the adoption and the outcomes of the technology."

To learn more:
- read Grillo's post at healthsystemCIO.com

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