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Reflections on the Healthcare Informatics 100

May 24, 2010
by Tim Tolan
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As a CIO, there are valuable lessons that can be learned about your role from the HCI 100
Tim Tolan
Tim Tolan

As I review the rankings of this year's Healthcare Informatics 100, I am amazed at the massive changes that have taken place in our industry. This is our perfect storm.

While there are a few multi-national, publicly traded $1B+ organizations on the list, there are also early stage, mid-stage and new exciting start-ups with unique niche products or services. The HCI 100 list constantly changes year after year. I always look forward to the June HCI issue to see how the rankings have changed from previous years. As a CIO, each year, you have a significant role in shaping the HCI 100 list by the products you purchase or license. You are the economic engine that fuels and drives our industry. Period.

A few thoughts about how your role as CIO and the HCI 100 rankings stand out for me.

While I have not actually done the math, it appears the Pareto's Principle probably applies to the HCI 100. In other words, 20 percent of the companies on this year's list probably drive 80 percent (or more) of the healthcare IT spend in our industry. So how does this apply to your role as CIO? As the executive IT leader in your organization, you have to make critical decisions every day that have an impact on your budget, human capital, on-going IT projects, quality, service and many other facets of leading the organization. You must constantly remind yourself to keep your eye on the ball and focus on the 20 percent that matters. In the end, 20 percent of what you accomplish each day really does matter. While 20 percent may not seem high on the productivity scale, it produces 80 percent of your results. By staying focused on the things that drive organizational excellence, you will constantly move the needle on your own performance. Focus on the items that will have the greatest impact, and you'll be successful.

The other interesting fact for me about the list is how rapidly the revenue declines once you get past the top 20 companies on the list. This is true each year, though many rapidly growing companies are experiencing exponential growth. The same could be said for how you are measured as CIO. If you want to stay at the top of your game and remain a highly sought after, you need to have a plan to ensure you keep “making the list.” If not, well, you get the point. The landscape is changing in HCIT, and so are the roles in IT leadership. Make a commitment to step up your game and you will increase your value equation. Constantly evaluate your personal and professional goals and make sure they are SMART goals.

The landscape is changing in healthcare information technology, and so are the roles in IT leadership. Make a commitment to step up your game and you will increase your value equation.

S = Specific. Make your goals as specific as possible.

M = Measurable. Make your goals measurable so you can tell if you are moving toward your goal or away from it.

A = Aligned with Values. Your goals will be meaningless and temporary unless they are aligned with your values and the value of your organization.

R = Realistic. Set stretch goals, but set goals that are realistically attainable.

T = Time-Bounded. Always set a deadline for goal accomplishment

I can't think of a better place to be than in healthcare IT. This is our time - right now. Make sure you know how you are measured and how you rank. Once you understand that, you will always remain at the top of your game.

Healthcare Informatics 2010 June;27(6):80