Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

Health IT Know-How Essential to More Than Healthcare CIOs

By Sara Heath

The growth of health IT adoption and use continues to raise the importance of technological know-how among hospital leadership. According to a recent Black Book survey, knowledge of health IT systems such as EHR technology and data analytics is a very desirable trait for the entire C-suite, not just CIOs.

Technology and data systems management knowledge are important skills for hospital executives

The survey provides insights from a data set of 1515 industry stakeholders who ranked the top most desirable skills for various different C-level positions, including CEOs, CFOs, CCOs, CMOs, and CIOs. Amongst nearly all of the various positions surveyed, technology and data systems management knowledge was the most important trait -- not surprising considering the a vital part played by health IT in healthcare. But now, all executives of a healthcare organization need to have have some sort of knowledge of health IT systems.

“It’s evident that without added C-suite horsepower at this crossroads of value-based payment reform, population health and accountable care opportunities, that stoking the forces of advanced technologies and data analytics will be very difficult for most hospitals,” Black Book Managing Partner Doug Brown said in a public statement.

The survey also breaks down the most important skills based on position. For all of the positions besides the CIO, technological and data systems management skills were the most important. However, technological and data systems management skills weren’t even included in the top three most desirable traits for the CIO position. Instead, respondents wanted to see CIOs with relationships and team building skills, communications skills, and deployment and execution skills. Technology and data systems management skills were ranked fifth for CIOs, showing that increased interpersonal skills were becoming more important for this position.

“Every C-suite officer currently being recruited by hospital organizations needs to be, in part, a CIO,” said Brown. “Healthcare is a knowledge-based business and it runs at the speed of software in 2015.”

Following technology and data systems management skills, respondents reported leadership and team building skills as the most desirable qualities in C-level executives. Black Book suggests that this is because executives are expected to lead the charge in leading technology innovations within a hospital, showing that a combination of interpersonal and technological skills as critical for a well-functioning facility.

“80% of hospitals over 200 beds relied on an internal, c-level executive to champion the organization’s IT vendor selections and implementations,” Black Book reports. “The use of consultants is not decreasing in terms of engagements or dollars spent, but the dependence on the consultant as the sole initiative leader is dwindling according to 65% of hospital CEOs.”

Furthermore, the study showed that technological skills were trumping finance management skills, as compared to survey results in 2013. The study found that in 2013 nearly 42 percent of hospital boards were looking for executives with finance backgrounds, while in Q1-Q3 of 2015, hospital boards have been looking for executives with technology backgrounds to keep pace with the growing technology in facilities.

“It is a clear signal about how hospital C-suite jobs are evolving”, said Brown. “Data has so much to do with successful healthcare delivery from the top down.”

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