The healthcare world is advancing at a rapid pace, but not in the way you may think. Sure, hospitals are leveraging powerful new clinical technologies to better diagnose and treat patients for their ailments, but I'm talking about a more subtle shift going on behind the scenes. A movement toward patient engagement and a more intuitive user experience for critical applications is going to be the real change we see in coming years, and CIOs with a keen eye for behavioral and emotional intelligence will be the ones who implement the tech solutions to make this possible.
A New Type of CIO
Executive-level roles in healthcare organizations have for the most part mirrored their corporate and public sector counterparts, but recent developments in the IT world have made the CIO position more crucial than ever. These leaders now must branch beyond their traditional comfort zones and break down boardroom silos to leverage more effective solutions. Unsurprisingly, few CIOs are actually living up to these expectations, leaving many healthcare tech departments lagging behind where they should be. Improvements need to be holistic, with IT enabling better patient and staff experiences.
What I believe is missing from the typical healthcare CIO's arsenal isn't any particular piece of industry expertise or tech skill set, but rather a lack of emotional intelligence necessary to gauge their patient and employee needs. FierceHealthIT recently asserted that empathy and other intuitive qualities are going to be key attributes for successful CIOs as the future of healthcare shifts toward patient-centric frameworks. The source noted research from David Miller, CIO at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, which urged leaders to become more sensitive to their environments.
Miller defined self-awareness as the "ability to recognize, understand, and accept how you are personally wired to react or respond to stimuli that you encounter" - this is exactly the type of mindset needed to make positive, forward-thinking change in today's competitive healthcare arena.
Emotional intelligence and self-awareness aren't just key to building a fine-tuned healthcare system, but will also be pivotal in navigating the obstacles that are sure to face CIOs in years to come. Budget cuts, stakeholder disagreements and the widespread implications of the ACA will influence every aspect of the healthcare environment. CIOs need to be right there with the rest of the board to provide IT consulting
and build an infrastructure that lasts.