Essential skill sets for today's CMIOs: 5 insights

As more opportunities surrounding EHRs and health IT emerge within the clinical space, hospital and health system chief medical information officers will continue to develop advanced leadership skills.

During Becker's Hospital Review's 5th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle event in Chicago on Oct. 11, panelists discussed the evolution of the CMIO role and the most important skills associated with the position today. Emily Rappleye, managing editor at Becker's Healthcare, moderated the panel session, which also featured the following participants:

· Brian Clay, MD, CMIO at University of California San Diego Health System.
· Luis Saldana, MD, CMIO at LogicStream Health.

Here are five takeaways from the session:

1. Most CMIOs started off in the role as the physician who helped shepherd in an EHR implementation at their hospital or health system. Whether this was in the late 2000s or early 2010s, the physician's responsibilities revolved mainly around the project or implementation. Consequently, as organizations have grown in size and scope, the role took on more weight and formality as the CMIO, expanding the position's involvement beyond the EHR and as part of various other health IT and digital health initiatives.

2. After a hospital implements an EHR, the new system becomes the nerve center of operations, whether the organization intended it to or not. Every staff member takes on some kind of touch point to the EHR, whether clinical, back-end operations or revenue cycle, etc. This has grown the scope of the CMIO role.

3. Interpersonal and communication skills are key to a CMIO's position. The EHR is a sore point for many end users. While there are many people who may think the system is just fine and remain relatively silent, there will always be more vocal individuals who express their frustrations and concerns. A large part of the CMIO role is communicating with staff and end users to make sure everyone is getting attention and their concerns are being addressed.

4. CMIOs also must exhibit strong change management skills. When projects to accommodate changes such as state regulatory requirements, new federal laws and cybersecurity necessities are introduced, it is up to the CMIO to get staff and end users on board with the changes and push the organization forward.

5. One of the CMIO's most important responsibilities is staying connected to clinicians. The CMIO serves as the spokesperson for project outcomes on the clinical side. Individuals who fill the role must be cognizant of how new projects will impact the organization's frontline providers and channel that insight as a voice for clinicians.

Don't miss the Becker's 3rd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership + Pharmacy event in Chicago, May 19-21, 2020. Click here to learn more and register.

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