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Optimum’s Executive Interview Series

Welcome back to Optimum Healthcare IT’s “4 Questions with…” series, where we interview top executives in the Healthcare IT space.  We search for the leaders with track records of service excellence, who are passionate about their work and make patient safety their top priority. In this installment, we have four questions for David Chou, MBA, CHIO, Global Healthcare Advisor and CHIME Board Member.

OHIT: The threats are present every day, but it appears that cybersecurity is not at the top of many healthcare CIO’s lists. As a former CIO, do you feel that healthcare organizations are not taking cybersecurity risks seriously? Why is this?

David Chou: Security is definitely top of mind for the CIO, but the challenge is that it involves the organization’s effort to take it seriously and put it on the same priority as hand washing. The CIO has to influence the organization to change behaviors along with getting the right level of investment since security, and core infrastructure has been under-invested historically in the hospitals. Frankly, organizations should be placing security above all else within the organization. One of the toughest jobs that the CIO has is to help the organization understand that security is not just avoiding data breaches, but that it is about patient safety and social responsibility. The financial ramifications of a data breach are high, but when you factor in the loss of personal health information and having a community lose faith in the organization, the costs are much higher

OHIT: From year to year, changes in the role of the healthcare CIO subtlety shift, but recently, the changes have been much more substantial and greatly publicized. What are your thoughts on how the role has changed in the last five years and where do you see it going in the next five?

David Chou: The role has shifted to be more strategic, and the great CIOs are helping new organizations create new business models utilizing the latest technology. Historically the CIO has been viewed as the technical expert in the organization working in the back office, and while that theme is still prevalent in most organizations, it takes a strong board and CEO to understand that the CIO can be a competitive advantage. The CIO’s role in the future is to be the influencer.  CIO also means ‘Chief Influence Officer.’

OHIT: Healthcare IT continues to evolve, regulations continue to change, and the patient experience is more important than ever. Can you share are your thoughts about the future of Healthcare IT? Specifically, the intersection of health and technology, social determinants of care, and AI.

David Chou: The Future of Healthcare Signals a Shift From One-Size-Fits-All to Mass Personalization at Scale

  • Healthcare-centric customer experience systems will emerge. Expect the fall of patient portals as customer relationship management (CRM) systems evolve to address experience management. Patients must have all their key information, from health records to appointment schedules, at their fingertips. Integration and orchestration must address real-time patient matching and information sharing.
  • New channels of care delivery will transform existing business models. Advancements in telemedicine, virtual care, and robotic surgery will drive down costs while improving access. Virtual care will continue its growth and eventually emerge as the preferred triage source for hospitals.  Direct-to-consumer and direct-to-employer trends will continue to grow.
  • The extreme back-office transformation will drive ERP renewal. Healthcare systems must begin an aggressive enterprise resource planning (ERP) and revenue cycle transformation process to reduce technical debt. Cloud-based ERP systems are emerging as the logical upgrade path. Teams must develop proficiency in tools such as robotic process automation, low-code/no-code platforms, and AI

OHIT: If you were hired as the CIO of a large healthcare system today, what would your first five priorities be and why?

David Chou: As I mentioned above, the role of CIO has shifted to be more strategic, and CIO needs to be an influencer. With that in mind, my first five priorities would be:

  1. Set the stage that we are going to be a digital company in the healthcare vertical.
  2. Focus on creating a data-driven organization
  3. Protect the sensitive information
  4. Build talent internally
  5. Create the application ecosystem that is easy to use by the patients and employees

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