The 2 most anticipated challenges for the next 2 years

A CIO goes over upcoming issues and opportunities for improvement.

Jennifer Wesson Greenman serves as the chief information officer of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Cancer Treatment Centers of America Global.

Ms. Wesson Greenman will serve on the panel "Effective Leadership in a Changing Healthcare Landscape" at Becker's 7th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference. 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. 

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Question: What are you most excited about right now? 

Jennifer Wesson Greenman: Broadly speaking, I'm excited to realize the benefits of intelligent automation and cognitive technology solutions in meaningfully impacting outcomes in care delivery. We have laid the foundation for these applications by implementing core transactional systems for years. We are beginning to observe early adopters' accomplishments and lessons learned. For example, we have leveraged robotic process automation to remove low-value manual work while improving quality and freeing stakeholders to do more cognitively intensive tasks. We've also been able to apply machine learning techniques to enhance performance and prediction of key market intelligence and business operations initiatives. 

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

JWG: Workforce retention and asset security continue to be major challenges. I don't foresee this becoming any easier over the next two years. With technology skills in constant demand and increased work flexibility, we are encountering unprecedented attrition. Through conversations with colleagues within and outside of healthcare, I understand this is a nearly universal experience and impacts operational continuity and growth. On the security front, we continue to make real progress. However, we are fighting an uphill battle with new threats surfacing almost daily, combined with legacy technologies that demand significant resources to protect. 

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

JWG: We must collectively determine how to reduce the cognitive burden placed on our workforce, from care providers to administrative staff. I am constantly reminded of how overwhelming the operating environment can be for our care teams. In particular, advanced oncology care requires synthesizing information from multiple provider organizations, the patient and family experience, and a rapidly evolving scientific body of knowledge. To empower our workforce to make informed decisions efficiently and compassionately, we must continue to deliver innovative solutions that minimize burden while maximizing understanding. While there are various tools by which we can make this happen, all require a multidisciplinary approach and platforms from which data are securely accessible in a low-friction manner. Our IT and informatics teams play an instrumental role in championing and facilitating these strategies. 

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

JWG: I've always viewed the role of CIO as, first and foremost, a business leader rather than a technology leader, and I am thrilled to see the market as a whole embracing this philosophy. Given the dynamic and unpredictable business environment that we are operating within, CIOs must advocate for a culture that embraces near-constant change.  In this climate, the concept of a five-year plan (frankly, even an annual plan) is insufficient given the velocity of the business environment. So, our teams and we must consider adapting our operating model and engagement strategies. In our organization, this means embracing a product delivery approach supported by lightweight governance driven by business leaders.

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