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Taking Holistic View of the Business

Timothy Stettheimer, Regional CIO East Region, Ascension Health Information Services
Timothy Stettheimer, Regional CIO East Region, Ascension Health Information Services

Timothy Stettheimer, Regional CIO East Region, Ascension Health Information Services

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

The healthcare sector is undergoing dramatic and rapid change. Federal funding for Medicare and state Medicaid programs are undergoing reductions that are negatively impacting the bottom line of healthcare providers. The number of patients without insurance also continues to rise and providers are writing off as bad debt significant and increasing number of accounts. The cost of care – both in human resources and technology increases every year – outpacing both revenue and other sector growth. These micro economic factors are driving healthcare organizations to new technology needs. Specifically, enterprise interest in the following solutions is gaining greater energy: analytics tools, integration tools, architecture transformation. The theme found among these solutions is an intense attention to cost reduction complimented with an urgent need for business transformation.

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

In healthcare, high reliability care is the delivery requirement. Every patient, all the time must receive the care they need at the time and place needed. Our technology systems simply don’t have the inherent ability to support this delivery need. Even technology that used to be always-on such as “dial-tone” now experience challenges as complexities in computing environments exponentially increase the unpredictability of risks across the solution delivery chain. Solutions must be always-on and always- responsive at the point of care; very few technologies in healthcare can meet that requirement today.

Technology Trends Impacting Enterprise Business Environment

The consumerization of end user points of access as seen in mobilization and personalization of clients continues to be a massive change agent for healthcare technology. Securing client points-of access – when those points can be anywhere, anytime on any platform is a true challenge for authentication, validation and service delivery. The requirement is to increasingly be agnostic in regards to platform while still delivering an optimized customer experience. This trend has been emerging for years, but has truly accelerated as smart-devices, including tablets and phones, has provided improved platforms for solution deployment and access.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

Over the past few years, I have seen significant change in my role as CIO. Specifically, organization strategy and operations have moved to a place where there are no efforts that do not require technology leadership. I have had executives and board members alike express the fundamental and critical need for IT to be successful in order for the organization to be successful. This has required increasing focus on the talents of both technology senior management and middle management.

Lessons learned as a CIO

Over the years, several key lessons have been foremost in my approach and belief about the CIO role. First of all, the CIO role is primarily about relationships, not technology. While a CIO needs to understand technology, to be successful, the CIO must have other leadership focused on technology operations. In order to be seen as a contributor, the CIO has to stay engaged and informed on their sector, public policy matters, consumer trends, economics and other areas of significance to the business. By bringing a holistic view of the business environment to the table, the CIO can then help identify enabling technologies that fit that view.

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