The role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) in healthcare has become one of the main lifelines in the industry. The CIO is the most important person within an organization in regards to the collecting, organization, monitoring and securing of data. The CIO is a critical member of the executive leadership team. Charged with developing the organization’s strategy, he or she is responsible for leading the IT staff and ensuring overall compliance with all regulatory requirements. The CIO is also responsible for keeping up-to-date with the latest technology trends as well as threats and being able to adapt the organization’s strategy to mitigate those threats. The CIO also facilities and drives change within the organization (Glaser & Williams, 2010).
The CIO is responsible for establishing and maintaining many key relationships within an organization’s leadership team. They work to provide valuable input that helps shape the entire organization’s vision and path to success. The CIO reports consistently on the progress and development of all information technology (IT) projects, issues, and tasks. “They are the brain of the business-body, monitoring and regulating all the data that passes through. Without CIOs, a healthcare company would collapse under the weight of unprocessed information.” (Becoming a Healthcare CIO (Chief Information Officer), 2012)
The CIO focuses on updating and optimizing existing systems while utilizing new systems effectively and efficiently. They are also responsible for updating and maintaining capabilities, strengthening policies and reworking procedures on a daily basis. The CIO is the front line of defense for protecting the organization against fraud and abuse, as well as securing all electronic patient health information (ePHI). The role of the CIO has evolved as the health care industry has faced changes with the dependency on information technology.
Figure 1. Chief Information Officer’s responsibilities within a health care organization. As shown in Figure 1, a health care CIO faces many challenges on a day-to-day basis. These challenges are in the form of maintaining existing systems, optimizing new systems, and protecting PHI. The role of the CIO will continue to evolve as the health care system changes and the dependency and regulations surrounding the role of information technology increase.
Becoming a Healthcare CIO (Chief Information Officer). (2012). Retrieved from HealthcareAdministration.com: http://www.healthcareadministration.com/becoming-a-healthcare-cio-chief-information-officer/ Glaser, J. P., & Williams, R. B. (2010). The Definitive Evolution of the Role of the CIO. Journal of Healthcare Information management, 21(1), 9-11. Retrieved from http://www.himss.org/files/HIMSSorg/content/files/03_column_Leadership.pdf