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Big Data has Significant Potential in Healthcare

Rick Hopfer, CIO, Molina Healthcare
Rick Hopfer, CIO,  Molina Healthcare

Rick Hopfer, CIO, Molina Healthcare

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Technology is constantly evolving and advancing, our customers and employees have more access than ever through the Internet and mobile devices. Demands for information, anytime and anywhere, continue to pressure IT organizations to provide secure access to applications and information similar to the services provided by Google, Microsoft, Apple, Sales Force and a host of other vendors large and small. CIOs like me need strong partnerships with technology providers – whether infrastructure, applications or services providers – to rapidly evolve and securely extend to our employees and customers the technologies they need to do quality work, efficiently.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

There are many things that may keep CIOs up at night, like natural disasters or internet hacking, but having good business continuity/disaster recovery and risk management plans can help to minimize risk. The pain points are more aligned with maintaining an agile organization that can adopt and introduce new technologies in a way that meets the demands of the business and offers business value. Virtualization of the infrastructure, offering Web-based apps via browsers and mobile applications, and enterprise identity management – are all areas that are in various states of maturity and need to be advanced.

Technology Trends Impacting Enterprise Business Environment

All organizations will benefit from advancements in mobility and other tools that help us reach our customers. Another technology trend that is of particular interest is Big Data, analytics and predictive modeling. Big Data has significant potential in the healthcare industry, and could bring opportunities in the following areas: fraud detection, real-time IT system log analytics to improve risk assessment and operational efficiency, real-time call center interaction analytics to highlight trends and patterns, as well as early warning capabilities. Big Data also imposes big challenges, including the integration of data from silos, the application of effective filters, security and privacy concerns, and the lack of flexible solution architecture for Big Data. While the challenges are there, it is a trend that will ultimately bring business value and is worth pursuing.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

For starters, it has become much more important to establish a strong working relationship with business executives across the company. Having a solid business partnership is an important first step; but, just as important is having a credible IT organization that has a reputation for delivering business value. With HealthCare Reform driving significant change and opportunity, much of my own role has been to ensure that IT has the right organizational competencies, people, processes and technology to support a company that will double in size by 2015. Becoming an effective leader, coach, and mentor has increased in importance, as has creating an IT environment that supports and promotes the adoption of change and transformation.

Lessons learned as a CIO

Focus on people, listen, learn, and establish multi-year priorities with a vision and goals for the organization. Have a solid three-year plan that maps business priorities to IT initiatives that help to evolve and mature your IT organization in achieving those goals. Establish an effective leadership team. Be a good listener, talk to people both in and outside of your organization, and constantly ask questions. Encourage your leadership team to do the same. After establishing a plan, put it into action, and communicate often on progress.

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