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CEO and CIO Priorities for Tech-Enabled Healthcare

June 21, 2018
by Jason Fortin, Impact Advisors
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Key takeaways from a Scottsdale Institute roundtable discussion of CIOs

Executive Summary

During the recent 2018 Scottsdale Institute Annual Conference, a group of 22 CIOs from leading health-delivery organizations across the country gathered to discuss their CEOs’ top IT-related priorities. Although a wide range of issues were featured, five key themes emerged. At the top of the list was “digital health and the patient experience,” cited by 17 of the 22 CIOs as a top priority, followed by IT “cost containment and IT value realization” (cited by 13 CIOs), “innovation” (12 CIOs), “support for growth” (12 CIOs), and “cybersecurity” (11 CIOs). Although the top priorities discussed by the panel are not necessarily representative of every provider nationwide, the session provided great insight and important perspective into how a group of leading CIOs from advanced organizations are responding to the rapidly evolving health-delivery landscape.


Mary Alice Annecharico, R.N., senior vice president and CIO (retired), Henry Ford Health System; Bobbie Byrne, M.D., senior vice president and CIO, Advocate Aurora Health; George Conklin, senior vice president and CIO, CHRISTUS Health; Darby Dennis, R.N., vice president, clinical information technology, Houston Methodist; Darren Dworkin, senior vice president, enterprise information services and CIO, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Gene Fernandez, vice president and CTO, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare; Jason Joseph, senior vice president, information services, Spectrum Health; Eric Leader, chief technology and information officer, Verity Health System; Ken Lee, senior vice president and CIO, Centura Health; Brennan Lehman, CIO, Mosaic Life Care; Heather Nelson, vice president and CIO, University of Chicago Medicine; Patrick O’Hare, vice president, facilities and CIO, Spectrum Health; Mark Pasquale, CIO, INTEGRIS Health System; Michael Pfeffer, M.D., CIO, UCLA Health; Andrew Rosenberg, M.D., CIO, Michigan Medicine; Jon Russell, senior vice president  and CIO, John Muir Health; Chuck Scully, senior vice president and CIO, HonorHealth; Marcus Shipley, senior vice president and CIO, Trinity Health; Brent Snyder, CIO,  Adventist Health System; Subra Sripada, executive vice president and CIO, Beaumont Health; Tim Thompson, senior vice president and CIO, BayCare Health System; Jim Veline, vice president and CIO, Avera Health

Moderator: Ralph Wakerly, president, C-Suite Resources

Written by Jason Fortin, Impact Advisors


The topic for the Scottsdale Institute’s 2018 Annual Conference was “Pushing Past the Payment Barrier: From Innovation to Transformation of Healthcare.” During the conference, a CIO roundtable discussion among 22 CIOs from leading health-delivery organizations across the country focused on the issues keeping them up at night. Specifically, each CIO was asked to share their CEO’s top strategic priorities. Some CIOs focused on the top one or two priorities, while others mentioned as many as five or six.

Key Themes

Although a wide range of priorities was discussed by the CIOs, five key themes emerged. In many ways, these five themes reflect not only the rapidly evolving health-delivery landscape, but also key competitive differentiators for provider organizations in the coming years.

Digital Health and the Patient Experience. The most frequently mentioned priority—by far—pertained to patient engagement, cited by more than 80 percent of CIOs. That there is so much attention on digital health and the patient experience right now is telling on a number of fronts. First, it underscores a growing recognition—especially among industry leaders—about the critical need to be able to compete on convenience, access to care and value (as defined by patients). Technology can obviously play a critical role in transforming the consumer experience in healthcare, just as it has in other service industries. “Digital health” tools cited by the CIOs ranged from patient-facing engagement solutions (e.g., wearables, mobile apps, self-service tools) to a number of provider-facing solutions that can help streamline transitions of care and overall patient flow. However, as CIOs on the panel repeatedly pointed out, digital-health technologies—regardless of how promising—cannot succeed without the right level of leadership, governance, clinician engagement and overall organizational commitment.

Examples Of “Digital Health” Solutions


Virtual care apps & tools (mobile-based virtual visits, e-triage, patient-provider communication tools, secure messaging, etc.)

The focus by participating CIOs on digital health, virtual care and the overall patient experience is also notable because health-delivery organizations are no longer just competing with other hospitals, health systems and physician practices. New, non-traditional players have also emerged, such as retail clinics from major pharmacy chains and onsite workplace clinics increasingly being offered by large employers.


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