Physician and nursing informatics leaders on the top trend of 2022

Chief medical informatics officers and chief nursing informatics officers are gaining new powers and prestige in the health IT sector. Becker's reached out to nine CNIOs and CMIOs to learn what the top trend in health informatics was in 2022.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity. 

Benjamin Hohmuth, MD. Chief Medical Informatics Officer of Geisinger (Danville, Pa.): The top trend was aligning with clinical operations to deliver tangible value in the setting of unprecedented financial pressures.

Beth Kushner, DO. Chief Medical Informatics Officer of St. Joseph's Health (Paterson, N.J.): The top trend in 2022, I would say, is interoperability. There has been such a focus on different information systems, not just EHR but also revenue cycle, care management, etc., [that] need to be able to access exchange and cooperatively use information in an organized fashion to help propel positive health outcomes for individuals in a community and throughout the world.

Gregg Nicandri, MD. Chief Medical Information Officer of University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center: For us at URMC and for other systems, I think the top trend in health informatics in 2022 was supporting the digital transformation. We were working hard to modernize our technology offerings and workflows so that patients could have the omnichannel access to services that they have grown accustomed to and appreciate in industries outside of healthcare. Facing this challenge led to improvement in culture and process as well as technology, which will continue to benefit us going forward. Our organization learned to be more agile in the production and roll out of technology solutions, we learned how to optimize provider engagement and uptake of new technology, and we deepened the partnership between IT, informatics, and operations.

James Blum, MD. Chief Medical Information Officer of University of Iowa (Iowa City): The top trend in informatics was robotic process automation for revenue cycle and prior authorization.

Mark Perkins-Carrillo, MSN, RN. Chief Nursing Informatics Officer of Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa, Fla.): The continued expansion of resources for virtual care dominated 2022. The pandemic forced a cosmic shift in how we provided patient care to limit exposure to the virus, properly utilize extremely limited supplies, and free up space for the overwhelming influx of hospitalized patients. The acceptance of virtual care from patients forced the healthcare industry to accelerate the expansion of telehealth services. Informatics played an integral role in ensuring workflows and technology support providers in delivering high-quality and appropriate care.

Neal Chawla, MD. Chief Medical Informatics Officer of WakeMed (Raleigh, N.C.): A more acute trend is toward establishing or consolidating near-real-time communications. Many communications applications have been used over time, and now folks are trying to consolidate and formalize these pathways toward a more integrated communications platform as opposed to using multiple point solutions. There is a trend toward maturing data/analytics systems as many of us realize how much work and effort it takes to become a data-driven system and drive toward a data culture.

Philip Styne, MD. Associate Chief Medical Informatics Officer of AdventHealth Altamonte Springs (Fla.): Interoperability will be what everyone says, but the reality is return on investment. They won't say it but it is what is real. How can I spend crazy money and get any evidence of return. The more healthcare gets squeezed for value, which is quality divided by cost, the more the cost of EHR will be scrutinized. 

Scott MacDonald, MD. Chief Medical Information Officer of UC Davis Health (Sacramento, Calif.): From my perspective, I think one of the biggest trends is the recognition of the change in dynamics around patient-provider communications via patient portals. I think we thought that the volume would decline as the pandemic-related demand declined. Now I think we're seeing a persistent change in how patients expect to access their physicians, and realizing the impacts on providers, their wellness and their families. In response, we're starting to see health systems react to this by charging for messages, hiring staff to help with the workload, or perhaps finding other responses. Honestly, I think payers and health systems need to recognize that this is a new, legitimate way of providing healthcare, and it needs to be routinely paid for, and physician schedules need to accommodate this asynchronous work.

Teresa Niblett, DNP, RN. Chief Nursing Informatics Officer of TidalHealth (Salisbury, Md.) :

  • Digital health strategies
  • Automating manual work to reduce administrative burdens and empowering patients/caregivers to do more using websites or patient portals
  • Virtual care, including remote patient monitoring in the home as well as virtual monitoring, virtual nursing, and virtual medicine in the inpatient settings
  • Strengthening cybersecurity
  • Enhancing analytics, creating "actionable insights" for leaders to respond to needs wisely

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