Healthcare CIOs Braced For Regulatory, Infrastructure Challenges

As we all know, CIOs of US healthcare systems are facing a convergence of challenges more difficult than many faced by their predecessors, including Meaningful Use, Affordable Care Act pilot programs, adapting to mobile health trends, and hiring enough IT pros to make all this happen.

To get a sense of how CIOs are managing these difficult problems, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions conducted interviews with 12 CIOs, representing four academic medical centers, seven regional not-for-profit health and hospital systems, and a Catholic hospital system.

To cope with the onslaught, they learned, CIOs are focusing on complying with regulations, building out their IT infrastructure to meet coming demands, and preparing for an accountable care–centered business environment, Deloitte found.

When it comes to regulatory preparation, the CIOs interviewed by Deloitte seem to have their act together. In fact, 11 of 12 CIOs interviewed rated their organization’s preparedness for meeting Meaningful Use requirements is “very prepared” or “prepared.”

However, this preparedness is coming at a high price. CIOs are investing major amounts of time and energy in complete updates to their current systems, including EMRs, practice management systems, billing systems and more. This work is made more difficult by the need for hospitals and health systems to implement ICD–10.

Other key activities cited by the CIOs including using new systems effectively and efficiently, updating and enhancing management capabilities, and strengthening oversight and governance. The CIOs are also upgrading the protections against fraud and abuse and securing PHI more aggressively, Deloitte reports.

Yet another challenging initiative undertaken by the CIOs – one which should eat up perhaps the most money and time long-term – is preparing for an accountable care environment which will require providers to demonstrate the quality and value of the care their institutions provide.

To meet these needs, CIOs are acquiring applications which can support clinical integration, population health management, disease management and care coordination across all of the institutions’ services, Deloitte notes.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

1 Comment

  • A need that many CIOs, especially of smaller organizations, will have to address is getting Business Associate Agreements in place with web hosting and cloud hosting providers for data storage of Protected Health Information (PHI). The HIPAA Omnibus goes into effect September 23, 2013 and many organizations are unaware that “data storage” is explicitly addressed in the Omnibus’ preamble: “For example, a data storage company that has access to protected health information (whether digital or hard copy) qualifies as a business associate, even if the entity does not view the information or only does so on a
    random or infrequent basis.”

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