How CIOs are evolving and how IT teams are changing

A healthcare leader talks about the role of the CIO and what IT teams are now focusing on.

Zafar Chaudry, MD, serves as the senior vice president, chief digital officer and chief information officer at Seattle Children's. 

Dr. Chaudry will serve on the panel "The Role of IT in Driving Healthcare Innovation" at Becker's 7th Annual Health IT + Digital Health + RCM Annual Meeting: The Future of Business and Clinical Technologies. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place Oct. 4-7 in Chicago. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Question: What are you most excited about right now?

Dr. Zafar Chaudry: Certainly, analytics is an exponentially growing, exciting area, but the pivot to prescriptive versus predictive versus retrospective is key; there will be a paradigm shift to analytics as a service. Other exciting areas include better data interoperability, expanded AI use, reduced repetitive tasks with robotic process automation, and a laser focus on healthcare IT security.

Q: What challenges do you anticipate over the next two years?  

ZC: We will continue to see cost improvement programs as organizations recover from COVID-19 and deal with inflation and spiraling staff costs. I believe the expansion of virtual care initiatives will continue, focusing on digital patient equity initiatives, mental health and a paradigm shift to prescriptive analytics. Staff retention and recruitment will remain a challenge.

Q: Where are the best opportunities for disruption in healthcare today?

ZC: I believe the opportunity lies in equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. We have to use the data to look at the social determinants of health and ensure that our patient population outcomes are equitable and inclusive.

Q: How is your role as a CIO evolving? How are IT teams changing?

ZC: The CIO's role has evolved into a true business leader and clinical partner. IT teams will spend time influencing and being laser-focused on their stakeholder communications skills. Also, they'll spend more time in the trenches with stakeholders on the front line and navigating the politics within a healthcare system.

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