Healthcare CIOs started off 2020 with a roadmap for overall health IT jobs that then took a sharp transform simply because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Chou, CIO at Harris Wellness Program in Houston, Texas, and previous principal analyst at Constellation Investigate Inc., claimed healthcare CIOs have adjusted their emphasis away from lengthier-time period jobs and toward working day-to-working day technologies and priorities that empower functions to keep on. The pandemic could also be a catalyst for transforming the function of the CIO, making a robust case for healthcare IT leaders to force out of the again workplace and become executive partners, Chou claimed.

In this Q&A, Chou, who started off as CIO at Harris Wellness Program in May possibly, discusses what equipment CIOs are searching at ideal now as perfectly as how the pandemic will have a lasting effect on overall health IT and the function of CIO.

What trends or technologies are healthcare CIOs paying out consideration to ideal now?

David Chou

David Chou: Digital treatment, I consider that is definitely here to keep. The market has been ready for it. Adoption has been gradual with perhaps some resistance, but I would say now folks are heading to go full velocity ahead and there is a good deal of emphasis there. Distant affected individual monitoring, anything at all that is heading to enhance the wellness of people without the need of getting to see a health practitioner, those forms of initiatives will definitely be there.

I consider a good deal of CIOs could also figure out [spots] exactly where they never have the proper basis in position to guidance these virtual initiatives. … So there are a good deal of investments in the vital basis to seriously scale, for case in point, a remote workforce from 3,000 to 18,000. You’ve got bought to have the ideal basis to be in a position to scale that appropriately in an expeditious fashion. Foundational technologies is prime-of-thoughts ideal now compared to any new shiny object.

What are some of those foundational technologies CIOs are searching at?

Chou: The infrastructure networks — you have to be thinking about using software. You hear about software-defined networks exactly where you can roll out a new web site and regulate the movement of traffic using software. Truly scale up or scale down your web site conveniently. Which is heading to be massive, and what folks ought to be thinking about in phrases of following-technology infrastructure.

Foundational technologies is prime-of-thoughts ideal now compared to any new shiny object.
David ChouCIO, Harris Wellness Program

Are CIOs doubling down on equipment they have compared to bringing in new technologies?

Chou: Absolutely [doubling down] for the later component of this yr and perhaps Q1, Q2 of following yr. I consider you can find plenty of get the job done in phrases of deploying and optimizing what you by now have in-household somewhat than heading out and acquiring the new shiny point folks could be thinking about.

What will CIOs be searching at to support healthcare programs reopen for schedule, in-human being treatment?

Chou: Some companies are heading to have to experienced their information platforms, no matter if it is really business intelligence or just business analytics simply because that is heading to support push selection-making. … There will be a good deal of emphasis on making information readily available so buyers can consider motion. Which is heading to be important as things are starting to open up up.

Businesses have to reevaluate their business types way too. Coming into the begin of this yr pre-COVID, there was a good deal of emphasis on modernizing their again workplace. [For case in point,] going toward ERP is possibly on everyone’s agenda in the healthcare company globe inside the following two to 3 yrs. That could be on pause, but this could also be a fantastic time to replicate on that. Which is not just updating a system, it is really about reevaluating your source chain that has possibly not changed in the past fifteen yrs. You have to redesign the course of action to be far more efficient in today’s new globe. You can only do that with the ideal information in position to make those decisions, but also to transform the organization’s course of action. Which is the challenging component.

How do you consider this pandemic will impression the function of the CIO?

Chou: I would say you can find possibly heading to be a modify in expectation for IT and CIO leaders. The classic philosophy and classic administration of just maintaining the lights on is possibly not heading to fare perfectly in the new period exactly where [companies] are searching at technologies to be a competitive benefit and a differentiator. The CIO that can seriously do that can support companies optimize their financial investment and are heading to be crucial motorists and partners for the CEO and the executive staff. The types who are not in a position to do that and are centered on managing technologies without the need of knowing the true impression, I would say they could not be close to their seats substantially lengthier.