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Executive search firms are busy in Health IT. New roles are emerging and the requirements for existing roles are changing. Check out this discussion from the floor of HIMSS with Nick Giannas from Witt/Kieffer on some of these changes.


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Welcome to this week in Health it where we discuss the news, information and emerging thought with leaders from across the healthcare industry. This is Bill Russell recovering healthcare, c i o, and creator of this week in Health. It a set of podcasts and videos dedicated to training the next generation of health IT leaders.

This podcast is brought to you by Health Lyrics, helping you build agile, efficient, and effective health. It. Let's talk visit health to schedule your free consultation. We are recording a series of discussions with industry influencers at the Chime Hymns 2019 conference. Here's another of these great conversations.

Hope you enjoy. Yeah, my name is Nick Giannis. I'm a senior consultant in the IT practice at w Keefer, and we specialize in executive and recruitment, executive recruiting. Great. So, uh, what kind of roles are you guys filling right now? So, uh, it's a variety of roles. I mean, some of the traditional roles that you're familiar with.

Yeah. CIO C T o. Correct? Correct. And those, uh, roles are evolving. Uh, uh, there's also obviously the, the newer emerging roles, whether it's in informatics or analytics or, uh, chief security officers. And so, um, are you seeing some chief data officer or, or, uh, digital officers? Uh, uh, yes, we are seeing that as well.

And that's a, a newer role. Particularly we're seeing that in larger organizations as they go down the, the digital path, uh, to be able to, uh, really support consumerism and really, uh, focus on that consumer engagement. Well, that's one of the reasons I really wanted to have the conversation with you is 'cause, you know, as, uh, as I'm talking to these CIOs and whatnot, I'm hearing all these different roles start to pop up and it's

It's fascinating 'cause I think it's, uh, indicative of the changes that are going on with healthcare. We're starting to focus on the consumer more. Mm-hmm. , uh, obviously data is huge and continues to be huge. Um, and security has taken an elevated role. Is it, uh, what are people looking, what are systems looking for?

Let's start with security. Okay. Okay. That's gotta be a hard role to fill. I mean, those people are in high demand, right? That's why they come to you. Right? Right. 'cause they can't find somebody. Right. Um, but what are they looking for in a security officer for say, uh, let's say a mid-tier . Like a $3 billion health system.

It's still a huge company. Mm-hmm. , they need good security. What are they looking for in that candidate? Well, it, they certainly want the information security background. Right. Understanding it from, from a technology perspective. But I think they're more interested in a, from a business perspective, having that business acumen, right.

And being able to communicate technology in business terms that executives can understand. Right. Right. Yeah, that makes sense. So it needs to be somebody that can really move. It's not a traditional . Technology person anymore. It's somebody who can move throughout the organization, educate people on security.

Mm-hmm. . So they're, they're interacting with a lot of department heads and they're moving throughout the entire organization. Absolutely. So they need to be able to interact with a diverse group of constituents, and they need to be able to really educate, uh, and build the culture of security. Right. You know, a lot of the security incidents are happening because of the, uh, internal Right.

There's, there's no good way to say this, but, uh, but at, you know, the cell health system, I was . At 20, uh, 26,000 employees. And essentially, uh, that's your weakest point. Yeah. Right? So unless you can educate people and bring them forward and say, look, uh, reusing your password over and over again on the internet, even if it's not within the health system, you're using it for your banking site and whatever, that's a security risk.

And they go, really? How can that be a security risk? Right? It's my bank. It's like, well, if you use it 3, 4, 5 times, you know that that becomes, uh, different, uh, vectors as they say to pick up that information once they . To pick that up. Now they can get into the EHR data. Mm-hmm. if you're a physician or whatnot, using that.

And, and, and they're not necessarily situations where employees are malicious, it's just No, absolutely not. Well, there are cases where there are, but it's not necessarily the case all the time. Yeah. It's, it's, that security role is, uh, is a fascinating role for me. And I, I think it will continue to be in high demand, hard to fill roles.

Right. Um, and you're seeing it elevated to the, to the VP level. Right. So you're seeing that, that that position evolve. Or from director to chief, information security officer. Yeah. And one of the things we did at our health system was we, uh, we broke it out from underneath it. So the implementation of security was under the c i o mm-hmm.

But we, uh, hired a chief security officer and they were over not only digital security, but also physical security, which is a little different model, but, and a little different skillset. It was, it's very interesting to have that person. Absolutely. So the other thing is, is where it's reporting to, so to speak, it could be reporting up through compliance.

Or have a dual reporting relationship or, or report to the c I O. So it really depends on, uh, a number of factors like the culture of the organization and how they've structured it, but it also how mature that information security program is. So security's been elevated within the organization. Analytics we all know is continues.

Huge data is king. Uh, what kind of roles within analytics? 'cause there's a lot of different titles and roles. Well, you see the chief data officer, you see the, uh, VP of, uh, analytics. You see the chief . Analytics officer, but it's really building out that strategy, that governance. Are they all the same, just different titles?

Yes, for the most part. But it, it, it just really depends on how the organization structures it. So it's a strategy position and a, and, and an implementation position. I assume strategy because we we're swimming in data. Right. And so I would assume when you have that conversation around an analytics officer, they're saying, we need somebody who can lead us, somebody that can help us to, um,

You know, collaborate with the physicians, collaborate with the research researchers and whatnot. But help us to guide us in terms of not only the, uh, the framework, uh, the infrastructure and the framework to get things done, but also where's it going? And, and sort of visionary. Absolutely. Moving to, um, a more centralized model, moving to a single source of truth where you can get access to, uh, actionable data where you could support business and clinical transformation.

Right? So getting that data . Into the hands of, uh, clinicians to make informed decisions. Right. And, uh, being able to build the competence, uh, uh, and to be insightful, right. To the organization. Yeah. It's interesting. So somebody's, uh, I'll, I'll ask the question my, my, my listeners want to hear. So, yeah. Um, people are wondering, I, I think I'm ready for the next opportunity, right?

Or, I think I'm ready to be a chief, you know, chief whatever, uh, chief Techno . Chief Information, chief Security Officer, um, how do they elevate themselves? Or do you, do you just encourage them, uh, to get their name out there? I mean, they have their, they have their, uh, masters in something. They've been, they've been in it for maybe 10 years, and now they're saying, I think I'm ready for the next thing.

What, what, what should they be doing? Well, yeah, you gotta look at it. What, what do you wanna do? I think, I think you have to be, just as you are strategic in your role, I've always said this, you should be strategic . Uh, in your career. In your career, right? Right. So if your end goal is to be a c i O is your next opportunity, um, what, what does your next opportunity look like?

'cause you wanna make sure that it's on the right career path to get to your ultimate goal, right? So always, if you're looking at a transition to your homework, right, really take a, take a step back and think out. Think about what do you really want to do, what do you wanna do next? And not only look at, do your homework from a career perspective, but if you see an opportunity.

Yes. If it's your dream job, obviously you wanna act on it pretty quickly, right? But don't rush into it. Make sure you take your time to do your homework, understand the, the role that you're looking at and the, and, uh, and the organization to make sure this is the right fit for you, both personally and professionally.

One of the things I, I talk to people about when they're say, well, you know, I think I wanna be a C I O someday. I'm like, well, talk to some CIOs. Make sure that's what you wanna be. Yeah. And by the way, being a C I O of a $500 million company and a 3 billion and a 10 billion, and. $30 billion company. Those are different things.

I mean, I talked to, yesterday, I talked to a C I o a former c i o for Southwest Airlines. Mm-hmm. and uh, and we were just talking about how different it is to, to run something maybe that's 6 billion and, and something that's Sure. 30 billion. Uh, it's a very, you know, and, and we were sort of joking. It's like, I, I don't think I've touched a keyboard to do anything other than email for almost a decade now.

I mean, you, you get to that role and it's a leadership role. It's a. It's a, uh, it's ara a strategy, vision, leadership, uh, people development role. And they don't expect you to be in the data center looking at no for, for those size organizations. But if you're at a $500 million startup, they expect you to understand a w Ss and architecture.

Mm-hmm. , project management and those kind of things. You certainly have to roll up your sleeves in those positions compared to the, you know, uh, positions that are in much larger health systems or much larger organizations where a lot of your work. Work is at the strategic level. Do you find when people come to you and they say, Hey, I, I think I want that role, and you explain the role to them, they're like, well, it's not what I thought it was gonna be.

Or does that, does that happen? No. 'cause I, I think what happens, it's the evolution of somebody's career, right? Uh, they enjoy being able to work at the operational level. Uh, but once you start to continue on and become more experienced in your career, uh, really leading that corporate strategy for it and aligning it with the strategic priorities is, uh,

Something that people aspire to, to be involved in and being at the table. Right? I mean, that's what CIOs, uh, have worked through for all these years. I mean, you know this, right? Yeah. I mean, it was not thought of that as a strategic, strategic program. Yeah. It was a tactical thing. Right. Just make sure that clinical workstations work, make sure the data center doesn't go down.

Yeah. Um, but yeah, that, that changed pretty, that changed pretty dramatically, I would say. I don't know. Maybe, maybe, well, with me if we used one, I mean, maybe about a decade ago. Right. Well, and you're still seeing . Organizations that are, you know, elevating their, uh, c I O position or their, or their traditional positions like a C T O going from, uh, more of a, a director of technical services to a VP C T O or going from a C I O to a vice president or an executive vice president.

So how does somebody, and being part of the senior leadership team, so somebody's in between roles now we've seen this, we've a c i role has been a little fluid lately in some, some health systems. Uh, but, and we're seeing people come in, but it seems to be the same. People, they're just like changing chairs at different health systems.

How do people get into the, into the stream, into the mix for consideration into, into some of these roles that they're looking at saying, Hey, that, that looks interesting to me. Are you saying from somebody coming from outside the industry, or are you saying No outside the industry? Yeah. Wow, that's interesting.

No, let's start with inside the industry because that's who's gonna be listening, but then we'll, we'll go to outside 'cause I'm, I'm curious on that too. Okay. So in terms of inside the industry, how, how are they looking at ? How do they get, how do they get into the mix? There's a lot of roles available. I mean, obviously Well, they should come talk to us to start.

Yeah, right. Well mean they can go to your website and look at it and say, oh, there's some roles, but there's, there's a bunch of you, there's a bunch of firms like yours. Right. Well, I think, uh, building a relationship with a, an executive, uh, search consultant is a good idea. You know, and having that initial conversation, and it might not necessarily be about a role, it may be just about, Hey, what are you seeing in the market?

Right. You know, uh, what are some skills, uh, set and, uh, that, you know, what . The skillset, what is the experience that organizations are looking for? You know, how can I position myself better? Right? So just having that initial conversation I think is great. And we we're always open to that. Yeah. To have a conversation.

And I, I think that's just one of the things people need to hear is even if you have a job today, you should be building that network today. No doubt. Uh, having the conversations and, and, and just, uh, meeting people. And they'll, and you guys are great in terms of networking, networking, networking, right?

Yeah. And you guys are great in terms of just sitting down and saying, Hey, this is what I'm thinking of for my career. And you go . Alright. Hey, you don't have your master's. You might want to get, do that. Absolutely. Hey, you might want to develop this skill set 'cause this is what we're seeing in the marketplace.

Absolutely. And then every conference just swing by again to say, has anything changed? Yeah. Or pick up the phone. You know, you don't have to wait really Only once a year. Yeah. , I'm sure you love working the booth. And, uh, appreciate you guys being here. Thanks for, thanks for being on the show. Thank you very much.

Thank you for your time. Take care. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. This show is a production of this week in health. It. For more great content, you can check out our website at www dot this weekend, health or the YouTube channel at this weekend, health Thanks for listening.

That's all for now.


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