Healthcare News & Insights

The key to successful health IT projects? Put a doctor in charge

Having a well-run IT team is critical to the success of EHR adoption and other health IT projects. But it’s also important to have strong physician leadership guiding those initiatives, according to a recent study. 

Not only do IT professionals need knowledge of healthcare, but doctors and other clinicians need to know about technology to help their organizations implement and get the most out of new tech systems. In many organizations, that means physicians have stepped into the role of a chief medical information officer (CIMO), according to a recent survey from executive search firm SSi-SEARCH.

Among the 280 healthcare leaders surveyed, 94% agreed that a CIMO is critical to the successful deployment of an electronic health record (EHR) system. And those respondents were equally divided between CIMOs and CIOs, so leaders from both the clinical side and the technical side agree.

Organizations are also backing that talk up with action, as 89% of respondents said they have engaged or will engage a CIMO or other physician IT leader to assist in an EHR deployment.

What are the benefits of having doctors in that position? According to SSi-SEARCH, they help get buy-in for projects from other clinicians in the organization. That will get those folks to understand the benefits of a new system and accept a potentially difficult transition.

One thing survey respondents couldn’t agree on, though, was who should actually be in charge. When asked to whom the CIMO should report, 39% said to the CMO, while 33% said to the CIO, and 27% answered to the CEO.

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