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Predicting the role of the healthcare CIO role in 2020

Brian Eastwood | Nov. 4, 2014
In a market as tumultuous as healthcare, there's little doubt that the role of the CIO will be dramatically different in just a few short years. Embracing partnership and collaboration will help today's healthcare CIOs continue to succeed tomorrow.

A Vision of Healthcare in 2020
That collaborative approach will matter to the healthcare CIOs of 2020, as it will parallel the collaborative approach to patient care that many foresee -- and that, in fact, the Affordable Care Act encourages.

What's more, technology will play a part in this new order. Schooler envisions "healthcare on demand," available to patients through telehealth and mobile health on their terms, when they need it. In fact, he adds, the "planets [are] lining up" so that patients will actually stat to think of themselves as consumers.

When health systems think of patients as consumers, they can begin what Dr. Glenn Steele, president and CEO of Geisinger Health System, describes as a "straightforward attack on the total cost of care."

This attack, as it were, began when Steele took the CEO job at Geisinger in 2001, a time of both financial and clinical quality uncertainty for the system. Spurred, Steele says, by a 2003 Rand report suggesting that less than 55 percent of adults receive "recommended care," Geisinger set out to establish evidence-based best practices for treating common conditions.

Steele describes that as a feat of "clinical reengineering," one that required baking best practices into Geisinger's EHR system so they could be accessed at the point of care. The program, known as ProvenCare, is served to up in a variety of high-frequency care episodes, including perinatal care, COPD, hysterectomies, and hip and knee replacements.

Add to that Geisinger's ProvenHealth Navigator, an advanced version of the patient centered medical home, and its participation in OpenNotes, which opens clinical progress notes to patients, Steele says, and you see how Geisinger developed a "fundamentally different" and "active" relationship between patients and providers -- one that couldn't have happened without "electronic enabling."

With the evolving healthcare business model set to reduce the number of acute care beds by as much as 25 percent, in Steele's estimation, and with healthcare providers and payers aligning without fully understanding each other, it's important for healthcare CIOs to identify the outcomes they want and work with vendors to deliver the technology to get them there.

Put another way: Hospitals should invest in a tailored suit, not an ill-fitting one pulled off the rack.


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