Healthcare CIO jobs are becoming more defined by how successful IT leaders are in leading their organizations into digital transformation. Geisinger Health System CIO, John Kravitz, and Judy Kirby, President of Kirby Partners Executive search advised IT leaders on how to best achieve this at the 2019 CHIME Fall CIO Forum.
Both John and Judy emphasized the need for healthcare CIOs to follow a digital transformation checklist first before they can successfully lead their IT departments and change how healthcare operates and delivers care.
“It’s important that there is a solid IT infrastructure in place and for CIOs to think outside the box” John said. “It is difficult when organizations want digital transformation to happen, but their CIOs don’t know how to get there.”
Here are 5 things CIOs should focus on first:
- Focus on the fundamentals – CIOs should use key performance indicators to set expectations for IT employees and to provide transparent metrics on what they should deliver on.
- Build up health IT leaders – Healthcare CIOs will need strong leaders within their organization so they need to lead by example in building relationships and providing good service. Judy spoke about a CIO who “insists on rounding,” or going out into the healthcare organization to assess employee needs and to foster relationships between IT and the clinical staff. “When he sends his CTO out there to round, they don’t go by themselves,” she said, “They go with one of their technicians who has a cartful of goodies — monitors, cables — so that when [they encounter] an issue, they try to fix it right there.”
- Keep the IT team engaged – It’s important to help the team meet realistic goals and then celebrate their successes to help keep them engaged.
- Communicate – CIOs need to be effective communicators that meet with their team frequently.
- Create a governance committee – This committee of executives and IT leaders can keep the organization on the same page and work to develop a “digital narrative” that will be used to not only explain the project but sell it to employees, John said.
Making sure the IT and executive leadership are in sync on goals lands on the shoulders of the healthcare CIO, according to John who has firsthand experience in leading digital transformation with his own team at Geisinger Health System. John advises starting by identifying three to five processes critical to the organization and then finding ways to make them simpler, cleaner, and faster through digitization.