The past couple days, I’ve been at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum in Palm Springs. This is my first time attending the event and it’s been an eye opening experience to say the least. It’s an amazing experience to have casual conversations with many in the healthcare IT industry and particularly with hospital CIOs.
While chatting with a former hospital CIO who now is on the vendor side, he made this fascinating observation:
I travel around and talk to a handful of CIOs every week as part of my job. When I meet with these hospital CIOs and hear about the challenges they face in their institution, I don’t get the feeling “That’s a really swell place to work. I want that job.”
In this current economic climate, it’s hard for anyone to feel really bad for a well paid hospital CIO (Yes, some are better paid than others). I acknowledge that many around the country would argue that a hospital CIO should be glad to have a job, and one that pays above the national average salary.
This general economic argument aside, I think it’s worth noting the challenging situation that many hospital CIOs face. Regardless of how much someone is paid, that doesn’t change the enormous challenge that most hospital CIOs confront every day.
Yes, we could start with the list of alphabet soup including: meaningful use, EHR, ACOs, 5010, HIE, and ICD-10 to name just a few. However, that’s just the beginning of what they’re dealing with in their jobs. Another major one worth mentioning is managing the budgets. It’s a complex, high pressure job whenever money is involved. Add in all the various maintenance, people management, process management, etc etc etc and the hospital CIO has a tough job.
This has never been more clear to me than at CHIME where the hospital CIOs all come and commiserate. I don’t think we should feel bad for these hospital CIOs and I don’t think they’re asking us to do that either. Although, it’s worth acknowledging that hospital CIOs face a tough and challenging job and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I appreciate those that are willing to take up the challenge and that perform so well in the face of such a changing environment.