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HCI's October Lineup is Here: CIOs Wanted

July 21, 2008
by aguerra
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At HCI, we rely on our readers to help make our stories deeply useful and effective. Please take a close look at the lineup below. If you are a C-suite technology leader, consultant or analyst interested in participating, please send me an e-mail. Inquiries regarding these stories are welcome until Aug. 13.

And, as always, if you’ve got other story suggestions for us, let me know.


Anthony Guerra, Editor-in-Chief

Cover Story: The Politics of Healthcare IT (in three parts)


IT seems to be the one non-partisan area around healthcare that everyone can agree on. Though most politicians are “for it,” what does that really mean? In this section, we discuss the landscape of new mandates for legislative and regulatory change that will most likely occur no matter what the outcome of federal and state elections.

Section 1: Federal

John McCain and Barack Obama have different views on the precise role of healthcare IT. We talk to their representatives to learn exactly how each would promote its adoption. In this section, we also look at the upcoming Congressional elections with regard to potential action on healthcare IT. This story is rounded out by interviewing lobbyists and analysts from such organizations as the AHA, HIMSS and CCHIT.

Section 2: States

While the federal government plays a vital role in transforming health IT, much of the policy development actually takes place at the state level. In this section, we will provide an overview of developments in state legislatures, accompanied by a chart to visually summarize each initiative’s state, sponsor, requirements and status. The story will consist of interviews with experts discussing what is most likely to take place in state legislatures in the next two years.

Section 3: What’s a CIO to Do?

With the 2008 Presidential Election looming, the worlds of health IT and politics are colliding with increasing frequency. Topics like EMR adoption are bleeding into the mainstream as various bills are pitched promoting incentives for health IT adopters, standards for health data exchange and the creation of health IT advisory committees. As the nation moves closer to electing a new commander-in-chief, and these key topics are pushed further into the limelight. HCI looks to examine this issue from the perspective of CIOs — particularly those who are active in legislative matters, whether that entails testifying before congress, lobbying, or simply going on record to support or oppose a bill. In this section, we will explore how the outcome of the election will impact CIOs, how CIOs can prepare for a new administration, and what CIOs need to know before casting a vote.


Your organization is switching to a new enterprise EMR. The vendor’s been selected, the money’s been committed, but now you actually have to migrate to the new system. Where do you start? CIOs today may not be doing the nitty-gritty of the migration themselves, but unsuccessful, they still surely take the blame. We’ll talk to CIOs who are already involved in a large scale migration between major vendors and ask the strategic questions you really want to know, such as: ‘How far out did they start their planning? What about budget, redundancy and contingency plans? How do CIOs use their IT team to manage the migration? How much does the vendor do—or not do? And are consultants really necessary?’ We’ll also find out if ‘no downtime during the conversion’ is a reality or a pipe dream.


IT budgets are changing: they no longer sit in the three-ring binder on a shelf. Instead, they are viewed by many as a continuous strategic initiative. We’ll talk to CIOs who share their budget strategies about one, three and five year plans, and ask questions about what goes into a good budget — and how they can sell it to the Board or CFO. We’ll also talk about budget items that have been moved under the purview of the CIO, like biomed. Are CIOs getting the budget they need to support these new responsibilities? We also look at risky IT investment, rolling over capital to the next year and strategies for success.


Self-service kiosks are becoming a more common site in the hospital waiting room, and as more companies enter the market, the trend will likely continue to gain momentum. With these applications, patients can check in, view and confirm insurance information, electronically sign consent forms and make co-payments, while hospital staffs can benefit from a more efficient registration process, shortened wait times and lower administrative costs. But while some present this technology as a strategic move toward patient-centric care that can result in win-win situations for hospitals, others argue that removing the human element from the check-in process is a step in the wrong direction. This article will examine both sides of this issue and will also explore what types of health systems are utilizing self-service kiosks, how these applications integrate with the hospitals’ information systems, who is driving the implementation, and what is the CIO’s role in the entire process.


JAMA recently published findings from a study indicating that RFID can induce potentially hazardous incidents in medical devices. The issue of interference is a hot button, and the release of this data only further stirred the pot, undoubtedly prompting a number of executives to second-guess decisions regarding RFID and to ponder questions like, how do we really know when to move forward with technology implementations? If a technology that is already being implemented or has gone live at a facility is deemed “dangerous,” what action should CIOs take? Do reports such as that featured in JAMA provide enough motivation to pull the plug on a project, or should CIOs wait until regulations are established? In this article, we aim to closely examine this controversial issue and establish best practices for the CIO in terms of dealing with “dangerous” technologies; specifically, what is the tipping point in halting an IT initiative due to these types of concerns and where does a facility go from there?


Even as imaging informatics leaders are increasingly recognizing the need to think enterprise-wide, one specialty is moving ahead fast in getting its imaging needs met: cardiology. More vendors have created integrated radiology/cardiology PACS systems, and many hospital organizations are moving forward on cardiology now. What are the long-term issues involved with regard to the enterprise-wide concept? What lessons are being learned in developing cardiology PACS that will help organizations move forward on image management for the other medical specialties? And what are some best practices for the CIO in dealing with this powerful, revenue-generating area of the hospital?

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