Healthcare Information Technology: The Role of Chief Information Officer

For years, practicing physicians have been losing their patients who missed their scheduled appointments due to a lack of information systems to remind them about their visits. In 2000, more than 5.5 percent adopted the patients booking system to remain more productive and financially stable (Laukka, Huhtakangas, Heponiemi, & Kanste, 2020). However, the schedules put much pressure on the officers of the system, who need to balance between patient flow and flaring tempers due to long waiting times. The aggravated situation of placing the patients on the waitlist opened up a discussion on the critical role played by the chief executive officer (CEO) and the chief information officer (CIO) in healthcare information technology (Breyton, Smith, Rouquette, & Mancini, 2021). The discussion concluded that CIOs are essential in aligning the IT department with the corporate goals, responsible for strategizing, executing, and evaluating the system’s performance. Healthcare institutions should consider hiring a CIO because they are critical in achieving the goals and objectives by ensuring that information flows smoothly and securely.

A healthcare information system is an integrated network of digital platforms used to record, analyze, report, manage and share patient data in health facilities. The technology involves using data storage software, papers, electronic devices, intelligent applications, and communities that help transfer information (Laukka et al., 2020). Health Information Technology assists by making the processes easy and enhancing equity inpatient treatment. For instance, Health care IT improves the recording and sharing of patient data while reducing the patient’s or nurse’s movement from one office to another. In addition, there is a need to improve patient safety, strengthen the patient-doctor relationship, and reduce errors by using technology. Chief Information Officer is an essential member of healthcare because they ensure the implementation of the health information plans (Breyton et al., 2021). Thus, the healthcare information system is an essential tool that helps improve patients’ healthcare and safety, and organizations need to invest in it to improve the patient’s outcome.

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The CIO must provide strategic Healthcare Management Information System vision and leadership for using the IT in the healthcare service organization. In the 21st century, most healthcare services are dependent on IT to ensure quality service, enhance efficacy, improve productivity, and reduce human errors in the growing political environment (Wilkin & Chenhall, 2019). Recently, the job of the CIO has become more stressful because they need to become business-oriented and less practical because of the dynamic and ever-changing technology (Paré, Guillemette, & Raymond, 2020). For instance, CIO directs the planning and implementation of the enterprise-wide HMIS to improve the health information exchange within the hospitals. The formal education requirements for a CIO defers in the specific organization depending on their responsibilities. However, having a university degree in computer science, industrial engineering, business administration is an advantage for a good start (Criado, Sandoval-Almazan, Valle-Cruz, & Ruvalcaba-Gómez, 2020). The CIO must have a superior understanding of the organization’s goals and HMIS department objectives to align these goals seamlessly as a single responsibility upon the politics, negotiations, and management skills.

Health information is sensitive and needs protection from legal concerns for the success of an organization. Organizations protect their data by hiring a Chief Information Officer who will provide leadership and vision, assist in technical and legal elements, meet business goals, oversee the IT department, build a secure cyberinfrastructure, and analyze data (Paré et al., 2020). For instance, the CIO must possess the best technical skills and knowledge to manage healthcare systems. In addition, they must build a team and lead them to create solutions and achieve clinicians’ institutional goals and needs rather than pushing the obsolete software. CIOs must align the IT objectives with the institution’s strategic priorities by ensuring that the programs they put in place are realistic, easy to use, and capture all the relevant information (Criado et al., 2020). Thus, Chief Information Officer plays a fundamental role in providing leadership for the healthcare information department, assessing the technology needs, communicating the strategic plans, and managing the day-to-day operations of the IT department.

Besides providing leadership, CIOs have the technical responsibility to ensure that the healthcare systems meet the standards and legal requirements. It is essential to hire a well-versed CIO with IT legalities because of the present risks of cyber-attacks and breaches of patient-sensitive data. Cyber security includes designing and implementing a protected architecture with multiple encryptions and firewalls that protect malicious people from assessing unauthorized data. In addition, the CIO oversees the implementation of the software integration and considers the new technology and system enhancements by evaluating the vendors and negotiating their contracts. Also, they ensure that the arrangements meet the standard level agreements by optimizing the IT systems and improving the information flow. For instance, CIO provides real-time information sharing between the different departments in the healthcare center and ensures that data transfer is secure for patients’ autonomy. Therefore, CIOs ensure that the organization’s information systems meet the legal and regulatory standards such as data security as defined by the HIPAA.

References

Breyton, M., Smith, A., Rouquette, A., & Mancini, J. (2021). Cancer information overload: Association between a brief version of the CIO scale and multiple cancer risk management behaviors. Patient Education and Counseling, 104(5), 1246-1252.

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Criado, J., Sandoval-Almazan, R., Valle-Cruz, D., & Ruvalcaba-Gómez, E. (2020). Chief information officers’ perceptions about artificial intelligence. First Monday.

Laukka, E., Huhtakangas, M., Heponiemi, T., & Kanste, O. (2020). Identifying the roles of healthcare leaders in hit implementation: a scoping review of the quantitative and qualitative evidence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(8), 2865.

Paré, G., Guillemette, M., & Raymond, L. (2020). IT centrality, IT management model, and contribution of the IT function to organizational performance: A study in Canadian hospitals. Information & Management, 57(3), 103198.

Wilkin, C., & Chenhall, R. (2019). Information technology governance: reflections on the past and future directions. Journal of Information Systems, 34(2), 257-292.

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