What’s the correlation between strong physician leadership and successful EHR implementations? According to research conducted by HIMSS Analytics over the last few years, the two go hand in hand.
“The role of the clinician or physician seems to be elevated in terms of there being recognition in the marketplace, the leadership,” Lorren Pettit, MS, MBA, Vice President of Market Research for HIMSS Analytics told EHRIntelligence.com at HIMSS14.
Evidence of this increased recognition is emerging in the rising number of CMIOs appearing in the annual HIMSS Leadership Survey from one year to the next. “That’s what the results showed, too. It was around 21 or 22 percent last year indicated that they had a CMIO. It’s 40 percent this year,” Pettit reveals.
The CMIOs are playing an important role in reducing the barriers to EHR and health IT implementation, representing the needs of the clinical staff and allaying any concerns their peers may have around changes to their workflows.
“Physicians are so busy that they want to have their voice heard but don’t have the time to come to meetings and stuff like that,” Pettit explains. “But if they know that one of their peers is there representing them, then they feel much better. They’re ready to relinquish that sort of hold and say, ‘Okay, you’re representing my interests. Go forward.’”
Furthermore, the CMIO plays an integral role in marrying medicine and technology, having the power to change the culture of a healthcare organization in a positive way. “When you think about the physicians and CMIOs coming on, they bring in this culture connectivity and analytics. They are willing to take technology and be analytical and willing to use devices and platforms that connect them to others and help you them with their decision processes,” says Pettit.
As Pettit observes, the healthcare industry is unique in its approach to leadership. “There is no other industry that has these dual lines of authority,” he argues. “You have the traditional hierarchy of the organizational structure and then you have physicians and their line of authority. No other industry has that.”
And how a healthcare organization addresses this has a direct impact on how well physicians will work with administrators toward a common goal. “When you have an organization that really blends the two or says that of this tradition of hierarchy we have a culture that recognizes the value and the importance of physicians,” continue Pettit, “your physicians aren’t going to be coyotes. They’re actually going to join the herd.”
According to Pettit, those health systems, hospitals, and physician practices with self-developed health IT tools and applications provide ample evidence that physician input and satisfaction are closely linked.
“Those hospitals that have self-developed tools tend to have a higher degree of physician satisfaction and their physicians had a more positive view of administration,” he notes. “Compared to the other vendors that hospitals represented, the self-developed applications were sort of the rockstars on those two metrics.
While self-developed tools and applications aren’t possible for all healthcare organizations, how they are approached is illustrative. “What it said to me is that they’re doing something different. What I know about self-developed tools is that they’re engaging physicians early and often and a lot of times there is a whole array of physicians — those that are leading as well as those that are lagging. They’re bringing the whole herd along,” says Pettit.