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Survey: Advanced Analytics Skills in High Demand for C-Suite Execs

October 20, 2015
by Heather Landi
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Technology deployment and advanced analytics skills are in high demand for healthcare C-suite executives, according to a Black Book survey of healthcare executive search firms and management recruitment.

As part of the leadership survey, executive recruiters, hospital board members and human resources experts were asked to rank in order of demand the skills cited as most needed for healthcare C-level candidates in 2015 searches.

Technological and Data/Systems Management and Advanced Analytics were ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, followed by Deployment and Execution then Strategy/Planning/Marketing. Finance and Reimbursement was ranked fifth followed by Leadership. Rounding out the rest of the top ten ranked skills were Relationships/Team Building, which was ranked No. 7, followed by Communications, Change Management and Integrity.

For the first time since the survey was conducted, healthcare industry experience fell off the top ten of most desirable executive traits, dropping to No. 11, according to the report.

“Every C-suite officer currently being recruited by hospital organizations needs to be, in part, a CIO,” Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book, said in a statement.  “Healthcare is a knowledge-based business and it runs at the speed of software in 2015. It is a clear signal about how hospital C-suite jobs are evolving. Data has so much to do with successful healthcare delivery from the top down.”

More than 1,500 respondents took part in the annual leadership survey, which found a marked increase in the desirability of technology and analytics skills across the C-suite.

“The power of data and analytics is profoundly changing the healthcare business and clinical landscape, and once again hospitals need more top-management tech muscle,” Brown said. “It's evident that without added C-suite horsepower at this crossroads of value-based payment reform, population health and accountable care opportunities, that stoking the forces of advanced technologies and data analytics will be very difficult for most hospitals.”

When survey respondents were asked about the most in-demand skills for specific C-suite candidates, Technology and Data/Systems Management was ranked as the No. 1 skill for the positions of CEO, CFO, Chief Nursing/Clinical Officer and Chief Medical Officer.

It’s interesting to note that the survey found Relationships/Team Building ranked as the No. 1 skill for Chief Information Officers and technology and data analytics skills ranked No. 5. It was the only C-suite executive that actually saw a preference on less technology skills and more interpersonal skills, the report states.

More hospitals are relying on senior level management to lead technology deployments and strategies, initiatives that were typically left to external consultants, according to the survey.

In 2014, 80 percent of hospitals over 200 beds relied on an internal, C-level executive to champion the organization's IT vendor selections and implementations, as compared to 43 percent in 2012.

“The use of consultants is not decreasing in terms of engagements or dollars spent, but the dependence on the consultant as the sole initiative leader is dwindling according to 65 percent of hospital CEOs,” the report authors wrote.

The survey also found that even the interim C-level executive staffing recruiters saw an uptick in the demand for temporary senior managers with technology skills, particularly leadership in electronic health record deployment, accountable care systems and analytics. Sixty-six percent of facilities utilizing short term CEOs, CFOs and CIOs stated they preferred candidates with strong technology experience as they continue permanent searches.

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