Life of a healthcare CIO: University of Mississippi Medical Center's David Chou

In collaboration with CHIME, Becker's Hospital Review's "Life of a Healthcare CIO" series features leading hospital and health system CIOs from across the country who are sharing their experiences, best practices and challenges.

To recommend a CIO to be featured in this series, please contact Akanksha Jayanthi (

An interview with David Chou, CIO of University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. (Note: Interview has been edited for length and clarity).

Question: You've been CIO at Univ. of Mississippi for a little over a year, previously serving Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi as senior director of IT Operations and CIO of AHMC Healthcare. How have you seen the field of health IT change over these years?

David Chou: Health IT used to be really transactional. Think back to the history of technology in a hospital environment, and you start out in a department called data processing. Now it's more strategic, and the CIO role is still evolving. Every company in the world is considered a software company because there is some sort of major software that is driving the business, and that is where the CIO must be a strategic driver. If you're in healthcare you probably have an EMR being used as a main enterprise system for the business.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment as CIO of University of Mississippi Medical Center?

DC: For us, the organization has gone through a major change, going live electronically almost three years ago. Optimizing the workflow from a manual process to electronic was a major change. The biggest accomplishment to date has been working closely with our business revenue leaders on optimizing the system and workflow to increase our net revenue. The past year has been a huge success where we were able to grow our revenue by about 15 percent.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment over the course of your career?

DC: I think it has been working internationally, being in a startup and having that exposure and being part of a world-class organization [Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi]. Coming to an academic medical institution that allowed me to consolidate and bring together the synergy of the health system, higher education and research has been great.

Q: What do you see as your biggest misstep or mistake?

DC: I would say I was able to rise in my career at a pretty early age, so being overly ambitious or not really understanding organizational culture early on in my career caused me to make a few mistakes when I reflect back.

Q: In the past month or so, what project has taken up the majority of your time?

DC: The majority of my time has been working on the planning of institutional strategy for technology. My focus is now on how we can utilize digital technology to provide the best experience for our customers, which includes patients, students and researchers.

What is your favorite part of the health IT industry?

DC: The fact that we touch people's lives with technology. Health IT is traditionally one of the slowest adopters of technology, and now that technology is the cornerstone of the business, it is a great time to be involved in the healthcare sector.

More CIO profiles:

CIO Michael Smith: A leader who drives change
The life of a healthcare CIO: Sparrow Health System's Thomas Bres
CIO Marc Chasin: Pursuing interoperability for quality care



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