Healthcare CIOs facing major challenges

Being a CIO in any industry is difficult right now, as a number of emerging technological movements are combining to create a period of rapid change. But the shifting IT landscape is especially clear in the healthcare industry, where EHR implementation, strict regulatory guidelines, political wrangling for reform, severe spending limitations and a general mistrust of IT systems among clinical staff all create major hurdles that IT leaders must overcome, CIO magazine reported.

Dealing with the complexity created by emerging trends in the healthcare industry can be extremely challenging, especially since many care facilities are struggling to just analyze and manage the large quantities of data they deal with on a day-to-day basis. As a result, business process management software for healthcare can help CIOs not only deal with data-related challenges, but also align data systems with operational needs, enabling productivity gains.

Meaningful Use requirements are among the most pressing and problematic issues that CIOs have to deal with, the news source said. The standards, which have been put in place as the primary engine for reform in the sector, are pushing hospitals and other care facilities to make a number of strategic, technical and operational upgrades between now and 2014 or be punished by a reduction in Medicare reimbursements. While there are some programs in place to help hospitals reach these new standards, such as stimulus funding for attesting meaningful use prior to the deadline, many experts believe that the requirements are too extensive and expensive for hospitals to reasonably achieve.

The report also identified health information exchanges as another key challenge that CIOs have to deal with. HIEs work to integrate data from the thousands of EHR systems in use and gather state, regional and even national medical data to identify health trends and improve care. However, this climate is incredibly complex and includes state providers put in place by the HITECH Act and vendors who began creating HIEs before the act and have their own systems and geographic setups. This is creating a legal and technical challenge that CIOs have to deal with before entering into an agreement with an HIE.

BPM software solutions can help CIOs address both of these issues by allowing IT to better align data management and technological systems with operational and regulatory requirements. This not only leads to operational gains, but also makes it easier to comply to regulatory standards and engage in HIE partnership.