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By Ed Simcox, Healthcare Practice Leader at Logicalis

As healthcare CIOs ponder their major priorities and challenges for the coming year, it’s important for them to spend time proactively socializing the role technology plays within their organizations—rather than reactively consuming new IT, staff, and support requests after practice expansions, acquisitions and other major changes to the business occur.

After talking to healthcare CIOs, here’s a quick rundown of some of the key challenges and priorities for CIOs in 2015:

  • Security: Security continues to be top-of-mind for all CIOs. Data breaches occur all the time, and healthcare security laws now enforce severe penalties for violations. In the face of declining IT budgets, CIOs still need to maintain the necessary security posture.
  • Changing Regulatory Environment: Regulations drive change in healthcare. Some of this change is abrupt and unexpected, causing wasted internal effort and frustration. This is the case with ICD-10, for example. Providers were poised to activate IDC-10 last year when the deadline was abruptly pushed out one year. Now, experts are predicting another delay will be announced.
  • Big Data/Analytics: CIOs are being challenged to provide actionable data to inform business decisions, cost reductions, and quality improvements. Servicing these requests from internal customers has been a largely manual process in the past. The promise of analytics is to help automate, accelerate, and scale the delivery of business intelligence. This challenge requires mature data-handling processes and thoughtful data governance. CIOs need to gain consensus from their peers in the organization on priorities for analytics before an analytics program can provide value.
  • Mobility and Data Access: As hospital clinicians go about their day, they use a wide variety of IT devices in patient care.  Their interaction with technology affects their workflow, and workflow affects both patient outcomes and hospital productivity and profitability. The ability to streamline, simplify and speed access to critical information while delivering a consistent experience across devices and workstations ensures that technology will enhance rather than hinder patient care.
  • Data Interoperability: CIOs continue to grapple with interfacing systems together; applications are aging and application counts are increasing due to new business requests and merger activities while old applications are rarely taken out of production. 2015 is shaping up to be a year when CIOs once again take a serious look are their application portfolio.
  • Imaging: Radiology and many other specialties generate increasingly-large volumes of image data due to growing image file sizes and more image slices per study. At the same time, the list of medical specialties using images in the course of providing care is growing. This is leading top CIOs to investigate a new imaging concept called “enterprise imaging strategy.” The goals of such a strategy are to rationalize image libraries and reduce unnecessary, repeat studies by presenting images in the context of patient records.

In the coming weeks, our healthcare team will blog about these issues and trends to share what we are seeing in healthcare organizations. Here’s to a successful, healthy 2015!

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