David Chou

Tips for CIOs in the digital age

Jul 11, 2022
Digital Transformation Healthcare Industry

Here are the 4 steps to altering your approach as a CIO for healthcare digital transformation.

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Altering your approach as a CIO is critical in leading digital transformation within healthcare organizations. The goal of healthcare digital transformation is to achieve clinical, financial, and operational strategic goals, but this journey is complex and requires the mobilization of technology, resources, processes, and talent.

Every aspect of what healthcare organizations do is affected by digital transformation – from enhancing the patient experience to making data-driven decisions and automating processes. With so much at stake, the CIO cannot go it alone.

Here are four steps for CIOs to focus on when they are leading digital transformation in healthcare:

Focus on the true meaning of a digital transformation journey for your healthcare organization

Too often, healthcare executives are seduced by cutting-edge technologies. Blockchain, virtual reality, and wearable gadgets may be popular now, but they aren’t the same as digitalization.

Instead, leaders must ensure their organizations avoid shiny objects. CIO must build consensus around a shared definition of digital transformation, focusing on the company’s ability to enhance clinical, financial, and operational performance.

Technology can revolutionize healthcare only if healthcare organizations take a thoughtful, patient-centered approach. This method emphasizes using technology to advance long-term strategic objectives such as providing services, entering new markets, and forming partnerships with other companies to create alliances and strengthen connections between patients.

Become the chief “impact” officer as the new CIO brand

Shift your attention away from “information” or “technology,” as these aren’t prerequisites for joining the digital revolution. While the CIO, CTO, CSO, CNIO, and CMIO are all likely to play essential roles in the digital transformation process, it affects every level and department of an organization.

Transformational progress necessitates the buy-in and engagement of executives across the company hierarchy. The new buzzword is impact; be the chief impact officer.

Create sustainable vs. quick wins

This isn’t a one-and-done project. It’s a complex, all-encompassing corporate plan that must be implemented as part of an overall business strategy and attitude.

Consider the impact of your strategy, sustainability, alignment, and other topics as the company goes through its plan. Consider these themes in each area while executing your strategy.

Sustainability – The transformation program aims to deliver stated business and clinical outcomes over the next one to three years to maintain them for seven years.

Alignment – Make sure your transformation initiative aligns with your company’s primary objectives and has measurable clinical, operational, and financial effects.

Enterprise-wide mentality shift

Culture can make or break your digital strategy. Here are two crucial foundational qualities needed for success:

Doing things differently – As a leader, encourage alternative solutions to problems by challenging the status quo. Every opportunity should be looked at in terms of how it may be improved, even if things are going well. Your teams will be able to copy your behavior when they see you driving change.

Make a decision – It’s a disadvantage to linger on making a final decision until you have all the information. Because transformation is new, and there may not be enough data elements to back up a decision. CIOs must be comfortable making an informed selection even if complete facts aren’t available. Remember: not making a decision is a decision.

Transformation in healthcare is a journey, not a destination. And it requires a new way of thinking for CIOs. You must focus on the meaning of digital transformation, become the chief impact officer, make sustainable wins vs. quick ones, and shift the enterprise-wide mentality. With these steps, digital transformation can be a success. 

David Chou

David Chou is a senior healthcare technology executive with experience working in the healthcare space throughout the world. David is a dynamic keynote speaker and industry commentator working with organizations to transform their business models using technology. He has spoken around the world at healthcare tech-related conference including keynotes for leading industry events and intimate executive settings. Chou is also one of the most mentioned CIOs in the media and well quoted in outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Modern Healthcare, HIMSS Media, ZDNet,, Huffington Post, and Becker's Healthcare. David is an active member of both ACHE and HIMSS while serving on the board for CHIME.

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