A CMIO’s effectiveness will be dependent on the quality of their partnerships with CMOs, CEOs, CIOs and other executives, while reporting structures are of secondary importance and should be determined by the particulars of organizations and objectives for the CMIO, according to a perspective paper from the Advisory Board.
Peter M. Kilbridge, MD, senior director, research and insights, Advisory Board, wrote that the CMIO can perform a variety of vital tasks in the role of support of effective selection, implementation, use and benefits realization of clinical information systems yet the challenge is that organizational tasks differ widely among CMIOs.
“[T]hier specific job responsibilities and expectations are not always consistent either with their backgrounds, skill sets or organizational position and resources,” Kilbridge wrote. “[I]t is essential organizations examine closely the match between their specific strategic and tactical goals for the CMIO, and the type of candidate, executive relationships and resources available to them.”
The CMIO today is a jack of all clinical IT trades. As a liaison between clinicians and IT, they communicate, interpret and translate clinicians’ needs for the IT department and facilitate the clinician’s understanding of IT while managing expectations. As a harbinger of executive information, the CMIO is an intellectual leader for applied clinical informatics within the organization, contributing to organizational strategy.
“The success of the executive information, too, depends on influence with and support from fellow executives,” Kilbridge wrote. “A background that includes formal training in informatics combined with past experience as a physician leader can be invaluable in developing strong relationships with both executive peers and clinical users.”
In absence of a strong partnership with the CIO, the CMIO may become frustrated at his/her limited ability to effectively deliver clinical solutions to clinician colleagues.
According to Kilbridge, some CMIOs are active investigators and obtain grant money for research and publish research in peer-reviewed journals. He suggested setting up the CMIO for success by considering tasks and how those responsibilities will be incorporated into the governance structure, including:
- Maintain ongoing awareness of developments in the field of clinical informatics both in industry and in the academic world;
- Assign an executive clinician to clinical decision support and knowledge management functions;
- Define the relationship between clinical quality and patient safety leaders and clinical IT leadership;
- Define the relationship between management of clinical transactional systems and data warehousing/business intelligence; and
- Determine the best approach for the organization to translating clinical needs to IT tools.