The expectations and accountabilities facing today’s healthcare CIO are, well, beyond significant. Unprecedented change occurring throughout the industry is now reshaping organization goals and priorities, which, in turn, are redefining the plans and objectives for CIOs and their teams.

The industry’s move toward value-based care, in particular, is introducing new and different organization, information and technology challenges. And this radical change is all occurring in parallel with the demands of taking care of what currently exists.

Now faced with meeting the requirements of multiple strategic and game-changing imperatives, CIOs must more than ever be effective executive partners and on-the-field leaders while, at the same time, providing technology innovation and guidance.

At its foundation, the essence of a value-based model of care is to engage providers and patients at a level that drives proper and cost-effective utilization of healthcare services while maintaining an individual’s optimum level of health. When done well, those paying for as well as receiving healthcare services experience higher value, driven by an emphasis on wellness and disease prevention, efficacious management of chronic and acute health conditions, and an overall increased level of engagement of the provider and patient. Simply stated, the cost and quality equation of care results in more value to those funding it.

A value-based model of care introduces new and increased challenges for CIOs. Enabling clinically integrated, real-time (interventional) health management along with meaningful patient/provider engagement will be no small task. Ensuring timely measurement of care quality, cost and overall provider effectiveness will also be key priorities.

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Who really knows how long the industry will remain with one foot in the boat (value-based care) and one on the dock (volume-based care)?

To achieve this tall order, CIOs must pursue the following leadership strategies and tactics, which will position their organizations for success.

  • Build a solid understanding of value-based care and how it differs from traditional volume-based care. In other words, know the business, and the technologies to enable and support it. Effective CIOs understand what (and why) goes on within and outside their organization, what industry trends are in play and where things are headed. Healthcare CIOs must be conversant in many topics now, including point of care, access, billing and reimbursement, finance, insurance, outpatient, inpatient, surgery, and more.
  • Connect and integrate with others who are leading the transition. CIOs must be an integral part of the organization’s developing strategy, and operational plans and priorities. Significant change is required in shifting to a value mindset. Executive, clinical and other colleagues (including consultants) must have confidence in the CIO’s knowledge base and ability to contribute as a trusted partner for the future. CIOs truly must be seen and heard.
  • Pursue and select the right technologies. The choices made regarding technology solutions and their supporting vendors will be long-lasting and critical to future success. Imperatives to selecting the right vendor partners will not only include their proven technology track record, but also their knowledge of healthcare delivery and management, health plans and insurance. The CIO should ensure pursuit of a formal and thorough selection process.
  • Spend time at the working level. The importance of the CIO’s presence at multiple levels within the organization cannot be overstated. Those using the technologies offer great insight and perspective on how things are really going. Whether at the point of care or the back office, getting to “ground zero” offers an incredible learning experience, while also conveying the knowledge that the CIO is fully engaged.

The new age of healthcare is upon us, and the transition has begun. Who really knows how long the industry will remain with “one foot in the boat (value-based care) and one on the dock (volume-based care).” During this transition, smart CIOs who wants to succeed will be educated on what the future looks like and will make the necessary and appropriate effort to ensure that their organizations get there.

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Rick Schooler

Rick Schooler

Schooler joined Orlando Health in October 2001 as Vice President\/Chief Information Officer. His current areas of responsibility include Information Technology, Telecommunications, Clinical Informatics, BioMedical Engineering, Supply Chain, Retail Pharmacy and a Group Purchasing Organization.