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The CIO role is changing. How is it changing and what does it mean to you?


Today in health, it we're going to talk about the bifurcation. And elevation of the CIO role in 2024. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system. And create, or this week health, a set of channels and events dedicated to transform healthcare. One connection at a time. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders.

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They can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. All right, let's get to it. Friday's rambling day. And today, what I want to talk about is the bifurcation of the CIO role. And the elevation of the CIO role. Both happening at the same time. For the 2 29 events, one of the things I get to do is to talk to each CIO who is attending. For a half hour. And so I ended up having a lot of conversations and it was really interesting. Over the last couple of weeks to talk to the group of CEOs that are coming to our February events. And to hear a theme that is starting to emerge, as you all know, there's been a significant financial challenges within healthcare.

And so there's a search for cost savings. And efficiencies and yeah, anything that can move the health system forward without expending a lot of cash. And so one of the things that is happening. As you are seeing the CIO role become the super operator. So it's the person who understands the operation at such a deep level that they can do more than just the technology piece. And because they know how to do contracts and they do them all the time because they know how to do process because they know how to do governance because they know how to do project management because they know all those things. And they can make things happen.

They're now being looked at to do other things. And this the reason I'm talking about it now is it's w this happened before, but it is happening more rapidly now. So BJ Moore is over real estate. And I laugh every time I interview him, because I have to say, and. Commander of real estate for Providence or whatever.

And he got that role because he had some experience in it. But also because, Hey, we negotiate. Multimillion dollar contracts all the time as CIO is we work with legal, we have processes in place. We, negotiate contract. We know how to do these things, so that's how he got that. Chad Bresson, Dean. Up at St.

Luke's was another one I've talked about. In the past who actually picked up a service line. So he was over. Radiology and it's now for radiology and cardiology. So it was actually overseeing a service line. Which can make sense if you think about it. It's we operate a, multimillion dollar cost center, and now you're operating a multi-million dollar service line and it, while different and dealing with different people. We have relationships with doctors.

We have relationships with the institution. We understand workflow. We understand the systems. We understand how to drive efficiencies into those systems. And so there's a, probably a fair amount of benefit. And, I guess the proof is in the pudding. He was given radiology like a year and a half ago, two years ago.

And this year he was given cardiology. So it's expanding. As we move forward. And William Walters was another one I talked about. And I haven't talked to William in a little bit, but he was interviewed this past week by a sushi. At his at his new role. And William picked up a whole bunch of operations, as well as the CIO role.

Now it's starting to happen in other places. I'm not at Liberty to talk about some of these. Others, because I haven't asked permission to talk about it, but you're seeing things like supply chain. Hey, can you handle supply chain? And it's interesting because you think about the challenges we have within supply chain, which is we need to drive efficiencies.

We have too many. Goods that we're trying to utilize. For instance, knee replacements, hip replacements, and whatnot, we're using too many. Variations on that and we know how to standardize things. We know those discussions, we know those conversations. We know how to frame them up.

We know how to tell the story. And the value of doing that. In addition, one of the things that happened during the pandemic was supply chain was hit pretty hard, and we need to look at redundancies. We need to look at continuity. These do all these terms, sound familiar to you because these are very common terms within the it world. And now they're looking at it going, Hey, you've sought resiliency redundancy over there. You can handle the contracts.

You can handle the discussions. Around simplifying our infrastructure and Infor. Infrastructure simplifying our inventory and those kinds of things. You understand governance and how to stand up. Governance is one of the things that supply chain needs is doing that. So supply chain is one of the ones. That was thrown out there.

One of the more odd ones that was thrown out there was transportation. The CIO was given transportation. And one of the things I, so by I said, bifurcation. The super operator is one direction that this is going by the way, the bifurcation is in that direction. And then the innovator. So you have the super operator and you have the innovator. And the innovator sometimes. Is outside of it, right?

So it's a chief digital officer potentially, but it can be the CIO. Who's also doing the the innovation side, but the truly the truly innovative people who are really focusing in on that side, typically on the innovation side, the. Digital side. And what not because there's just too many things on the plate.

That's something I'm going to get to in a minute. There's just too many things on the plate, right? If you're the super operator and you're trying to be the super innovator, I will be the first tell you. I would love to have both because I believe I could do both, but it will. It will tax you, it will tax your family.

It will tax your health. It will tax you. There's too many things to be the super operator who's taking on other lines of business and be the super innovator. I think that's, what's lost when you try to have the CIO be both. And I'm willing to be argued with on that. However with that being said, I think that's the conversation that we need to have. You might be asked to be the super innovator you might be asked to be the super operator you might be being asked to do both. And I think you have to have realistic. Discussions going into it.

You have to set the right expectations. I have a friend and I use this phrase all the time. Expectations are the mother of all disappointments. So if you don't get the expectations out on the table and everyone understands the expectations and what can and cannot be done. That's the mother of all disappointments. Six months from now a year from now, somebody's going to be saying, Hey, you didn't live up to our expectations. I didn't know.

Those were the expectations. That's your job is to understand those expectations going into this. And so I think it's important when they say, Hey, we want you to be a super operator and take over real estate. And we want you to take over a supply chain and we want you to take over. Transportation. That you sit back and you say, what's it going to take? For me to be effective in doing these roles. Is it going to require more staff?

Is it going to require a chief of staff? Is it going to require different aspects? What's it going to require in those departments that you're taking over? Do you need the flexibility to move people in and out? Do you need a department leader that you are simpatico with, that you can work with?

Like you have within it. You feel like you have the flexibility today because you have great people in it. What happens if you take on a department that you don't have great people in, that's going to take a lot of work. I think the other thing is I it's fair. I think to ask. For the ability to do an assessment before you take it over. Like when you're interviewing for a job, it goes both ways.

You're interviewing them. They're interviewing you. You're identifying, is this a health system I want to work for? You should do that. Same thing with the department. I understand that desire to help out, I understand the need to be a team player. I understand all that stuff, but I think it's fair to say, look, I would like to evaluate the state of that department before I say yes to this.

And I think there's value in potentially getting a third party. And laying it all out so we can have a discussion. An open discussion and sit there with, whoever's asking you to do it, to say, look, these are the things that third party has identified as potential problems in that department. I need the flexibility to fix these things. And from my vantage point, what's going to be required to fix these things is potentially new systems. Potentially new people.

Definitely new processes. Definitely. Some support in championing your activities into the organization. So I think there is a bifurcation going on. I think it's a great opportunity, by the way. We do understand more of the operation, the data workflow technology, obviously. Then anybody else in the healthcare system, or you should. I don't want to shoot on you, you should understand more of that than anybody else in the health system, because you're dealing with so many aspects of it.

Most people are just siloed in one area. And because of that, you are great super operators. And you might be given those opportunities where those opportunities be the team player. If you can, and evaluate what you need to be successful and make people aware of. What you need to be successful and above all else, identify the expectations. What do you expect me to do with supply chain that you just gave me? Do you want status quo out of it?

Do you want to make sure that it just doesn't bubble over and become a problem? Do you want it to be. Do you want it to be optimized? Do you want it to be, best in class in our industry? What is your expectation? And then evaluate, can you do that? Do you have the skills and ability to do that? All right.

I think it's an exciting time and it, if you want to go in the super innovative direction, which is also fraught with risks and challenges in and of itself, I think you have those opportunities in a lot of health systems. If you want to go to the super operator direction, I think he could do that as well.

And by the way, If they are not replacing several VPs and giving you those roles. There's money to be had. I'm just saying. All right. That's all for today. Don't forget to share this podcast with a friend or colleague. Keep the conversations going. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in a mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

Short test artist, site parlance, certified health, notable and 📍 service now. I check them out on our website this week. Slash today. Also check them out at Vive and hymns. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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