What to Consider Searching for a Healthcare CIO

5 Things to Consider Before Launching Your Search for a CIO

The Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) role has grown in both scope and complexity over the last several years, evolving especially fast in the healthcare industry. The CIO is expected to thoroughly understand technology development, clinician needs, healthcare consumer trends, applicable federal regulations, as well as business strategy application.

There are several factors contributing to the evolution of the CIO:

  • Focus towards healthcare cost and quality
  • Pay-for-performance
  • IT adoption and lack of clarity in interoperability
  • Competitive pressures among providers
  • Complexity in developing IT systems that integrate internal business needs with disperse hospital customers

Before launching a healthcare CIO candidate search, consider these five points.

1. Recognize It Is a High Profile Role.

Today’s CIO is a critical member of a company’s senior executive team, responsible for providing vision and leadership in developing and implementing information technology initiatives, as well as providing critical insight to a company’s strategy, growth, quality and operations. It is imperative that other members of the executive team view the CIO role as more than a technologist, but as a critical contributor among the executive team members.

2. Identify the Need.

A company must determine specific business and IT needs and desired outcomes prior to launching a CIO search process. There are multiple varieties of Chief Information Officers:

  • A CIO to direct the day-to-day IT function in developing appropriate organizational structures, processes and human capital to position IT as a strategic differentiator.
  • A CIO who is capable of maintaining an IT infrastructure while also understanding the overall business.
  • A CIO with strong business acumen and strategy experience capable of collaborating with the CEO and senior business executives in shaping and executing IT-enabled, competitive decisions.

3. Determine the Reporting Structure.

Who the CIO reports to says a lot about the CEO’s view of IT. This also determines the caliber of CIO candidates who will be attracted to the position.

  • A CIO whose responsibilities include company transformation and growth typically reports to the CEO.
  • A CIO whose responsibilities are internally focused on projects and costs typically reports to the CFO.

4. Balance Technology.

While it is important for a CIO candidate to offer demonstrated experience and expertise in integrating newly acquired technologies, an ideal candidate is an astute judge of the potential of new technologies. Additionally, a proven CIO will work with a pre-determined technology infrastructure and avoid being caught up in the frequent hype surrounding new hardware and software development. As IT initiatives in healthcare continue to grow, the CIO role will need to evolve to one that learns or knows how to successfully manage IT initiatives that are much larger and affect more pieces of the organization than previously undertaken.

5. Find a Search Partner.

Enlisting the help of an experienced healthcare executive search firm can help guide your company through all aspects of the CIO search process, and can improve and increase access to high-quality executive candidates while ensuring a structured and continuous search process.

If you’d like to connect with someone at Focus Search Partners to discuss how we can assist your organization in the CIO candidate search process, contact us now.