4 chief medical officers' core focuses for 2024

Integrating new technologies to reimagine care delivery and bolstering the clinical workforce are among chief medical officers' core focuses this year. 

Becker's recently connected with four CMOS to learn about progress made in these efforts over the past year and how this work will continue in 2024.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for length and clarity. 

Bharat Magu, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Yuma (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center. In 2023, we launched a partnership with Arizona Western College to establish a new educational facility, aiming to educate professionals in 60 health-related fields, enhance institutional research, and further develop our Graduate Medical Education program. Additionally, we inaugurated a new psychiatric hospital and are looking forward to starting a psychiatry residency program in 2025. The year 2024 is set to witness continued growth in our services, along with the expansion of allied health and medical education programs under the hospital's auspices.

Claudia Fegan, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Cook County Health (Chicago): We've been able to take greater advantage of technology to improve the access to care and the quality of care that we provide for our patients. And that's taken a lot of forms. Certainly, with virtual care, a lot of that came out of COVID-19. When we started standing it up in 2020, we were pretty naive about it and there was a lot to learn. A lot of the virtual visits wound up being just phone calls, because the platform didn't really support the tremendous volumes that we were dealing with. Now, we're adding more virtual care options for patients, so that's pretty exciting.

We've taken greater advantage of technology in other ways as well. We've opened our neurocritical care unit and have new equipment that is able to measure the oxygen levels in the brain at a more sophisticated level. We are now able to save patients who we weren't able to previously — stroke patients, trauma patients and those with infections. We're also doing more major cardiac procedures in a minimally invasive way — that's something that our patients may not have had access to in previous years.

F.J. Campbell, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Ardent Health Services (Nashville, Tenn.): In 2023, Ardent paid significant attention to workflows at the bedside — specifically for nurses and patient care technicians. We partnered with BioIntelliSense to automate the collection of vital signs and deployed virtual nursing and virtual technicians across several markets. Our virtual nursing program is aimed at improving load balancing of bedside nurses and enabling virtual nurses (remote RNs) to assist with tasks that do not require physical proximity. We look forward to complete multiple deployments of these initiatives in 2024, with the goal of improving clinical outcomes and workflows for clinicians at the bedside.

Mara Nitu, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Children's Health (Indianapolis): In 2023 most healthcare organizations experienced significant workforce challenges, thus underscoring the importance of talent retention and developments. We doubled down our efforts to invest in leadership development for our directors and managers, evaluated the span of control, and created individual roadmaps for professional development. Each individual member who expressed an interest to consider other career opportunities was offered 1:1 with HR teams to discuss concerns and develop a solution-focused roadmap. This approach was very fruitful.

I expect this will continue in 2024. In addition, patient experience is also coming to the forefront priority for our organization. Throughput sems to be one of the main drivers for experience and a multitude of process improvements targeting more efficient patient flow are underway.

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