Matt Owen

Posted on: April 12, 2018

Do more with less, they say. And do it without interrupting operational efficiency, they say. And do it quickly and with these specific measures and regulations, they say. But don’t spend a lot of money! Phew. Being a hospital chief information officer (CIO) is no easy feat these days. They are a master of multitasking charged with sometimes nearly superhero-like efforts.

So where do you start to prioritize? Grab your superhero cape. You’ll need it. We recently brought together a group of about 30 high-level healthcare executives from hospitals across the U.S. to find out what data-related issues were on their mind and what heroic efforts they were attempting to achieve their goals. While the mood was one of optimism and the goal was steady improvement, three areas of concern stood out as possible kryptonite to your efforts:

  1. Interoperability

Surprised? I bet not. When interoperability is at its finest, systems and devices connect and communicate with one another easily.

Interoperability leads to better outcomes, since medical professionals have access to all the information needed to make the best decisions regarding treatment. Unfortunately, disparate computer and software systems often can’t exchange and share data which is why achieving better interoperability remains a priority for CIOs in 2018.

  1. Security

With all the talk about data breaches and hacking in the news, it’s not surprising that CIOs in healthcare organizations are extremely concerned about the security of their computer systems and data. They feel particularly vulnerable because their systems contain sensitive data regarding a patient’s health and payment information, both of which are lucrative targets for hackers.

Recent ransomware attacks were also causing them angst. CIOs say in 2018 they want to improve precautionary measures to better protect their systems, educate their staff about vulnerabilities, and frequently back up their data.

  1. Identity authentication

As healthcare goes increasingly digital, CIOs know identity management is critical to keeping patient data secure and preventing fraud. A patient’s identity must be verified upon visits to doctors and hospitals prior to receiving services. Is the patient who he says he is (identification), and how can he prove it (authentication)?

The problem, however, is if authentication requirements are too onerous, patients won’t use the portals. Finding the delicate balance between security and simplicity is an ongoing objective for 2018.

So keep fighting the good fight! And stay tuned for part two of our superhero CIO blog series next week…we’ll examine three more concerns keeping healthcare CIOs awake at night.

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Want to know more? Request our latest Point-of-View paper, “The top six priorities of hospital CIOs in 2018.”

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