by Ross McCristal

How CIOs will define the future of healthcare

Sep 25, 2015
AnalyticsCIOHealth and Fitness Software

The commercial CIO is at the center of the healthcare revolution, utilizing new technology to deliver end-to-end healthcare benefits. Healthcare primed for disruption, digitization and automation.

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Credit: Thinkstock

I operate agnostically across industry, market, sector and geography and I have been rewarded detailed insight into how CIOs are responding to new opportunities to expand their professional footprint and organizational reach. It is clear that the role of the CIO has never evolved as quickly as it is now.

The CIO market is introducing new gears and flavors of CIO, built on either industry or the professional competency of the individual. From multiple interviews, I have come to understand CIO’s operating within the health sector have been granted an incredible opportunity to define the future of an industry for all who have access to leading edge medical facilities.

Admittedly, however, a number of organizations and CIOs are at different points of the healthcare revolution. There are diverse routes and objectives to healthcare transformation despite ultimately the end goal remaining the same; technology being used to leverage significant value added to the health industry’s effectiveness.

The patient (consumer) impact will depend on the reach of the specific healthcare organization and the national framework within which organizations operate. It is worth highlighting that change in healthcare, approach, methodology and deployment of new technology is notoriously slow, shrouded in governance and health and safety as well as the emotive element that in itself can be a road block to change. The consequence is a landscape of change with unpredictable timeframes; despite the unpredictability of timeframes, the changes no longer need to be predicted, but accepted as they are hard written into technology strategies.

Digital patient

The first step has been delivered; that of the arrival of the common or single platform. Historically, patient data has been spread across a myriad of platforms with no single point of access. The single platform effectively acts as the foundation in which many new technology advances can be built, in particular the digital patient. The digital patient is the digital reflection of oneself from birth until the unfortunate but inevitable conclusion.  The exciting opportunities that are being actioned and realised allow the true benefits of the digital patient to be harnessed, from predictive analytics leveraged in part by the emergence of wearable technology.

Preventive medicine

The future patient will be able to undertake much more effective preventive courses of action tailored to their particular life style choices or needs. Real time data will provide real time analysis and consequently mapping trends and the unfortunate risks associated. The follow on from preventive medicine is personalised treatment through the realisation of digital technologies. Greater data allows for greater insight and consequently a more intelligent response. So begins a rapid acceleration of the move from general healthcare to personal healthcare, with personal solutions for the individual patient delivered by IoT.

Wearable technology

The IoT transformation from the wearable technology, to smart beds and IoT in facilities, places the CIO at the centre of the innovation around the digital patient, from the digital heartbeat through to the physical world and operation of the medical facility.  The wearable devices identify changes to KPI indicators of the patient, the preventive diagnosis begins, followed by the preventive treatment. The smart bed provides data from heart rate to patient position changes, giving medical professionals real time data from any location, the medical control centre has evolved.

Competency centres

The collective point or control centre creates a community of experts rather than localised siloed specialists. Medical knowledge transfer just accelerated, the right knowledge at the right time, experts on hand operating across broader geography. Outsourcing is often a term that raises concern amongst healthcare professionals and patients alike. Specialised outsourcing, however, has already arrived, for instance radiology productivity and cost per patient has fallen dramatically with outsourcing. Technology will provide the opportunity for greater collective expertise to be operating across broader geography creating a deepening knowledge lake within the medical industry.

Naturally, technology is not the sole custodian of medical and healthcare transformation. Amazing innovations are happening as we speak i.e. human genome therapy, the development of new drugs and general cultivation of new techniques remains mission critical to a patient’s treatment. However, greater utilization of new technology can deliver medical transformation at a speed not seen since the deployment of penicillin. The technology will provide a cultural shift in healthcare, individual knowledge of one’s health, personal accountability for prevention, and medical professional led personalisation of treatment.

The interesting point is that it is the CIO that draws these technologies together and realizes the vision of the futurists within the medical profession. The healthcare CIO is a fantastic example of the evolution of the CIO, a CIO that cuts deep into not just the operating tier but disrupts the industry from within for significant patient benefit. The CIO whose reach is from the virtual to the physical, from the digital patient to the digital hospital.