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The Changing Role of the CIO

The role of the Chief Information Officer, or CIO is often overlooked in media when a big name company or organization makes headlines. You’ll see the name of the CEO, the COO, and even the CFO thrown out more commonly than the CIO; so what does the CIO do?

For recruiters and account developers in the IT industry, the CIO is the Chief we’re looking to get in touch with. Technologies, systems, and enterprise goals are all supported and managed by these members of corporate leadership.

In recent years, this role has become one of the most difficult occupations to take on. One of the most stressful moments for a CIO as of late, has been ransomware, data theft, and hackers entering and stealing on the systems that they’ve vetted and approved. In 2014, Target’s CIO was forced to resign after details and data from over 40 million credit cards was compromised by hackers.

With new technologies emerging and a shift in how data is managed and stored, CIO’s are now facing a new challenge – comfort or innovation. All methods of storing data pose risk. Existing systems have proven that although established and working, the weak spots are becoming easy targets for attack. On the other hand, resolutions such as cloud migrations and blockchain solutions remain foreign and raise concerns. At the recent HIMSS18 conference in Las Vegas, surveyed CIOs collectively explained worries in cloud services as far as HIPAA compliance, security, and privacy is concerned. Not one CIO thus far expressed initiative in being a guinea pig in their organization’s transition to a new concept of data storage.

However, these individuals are not just sitting until someone else does a trial. According to the survey posted by, “A majority of respondents said that they are not hosting primary EHR systems on the cloud, but a significant minority said they are using their EHR vendor’s hosted offering or a third-party hosting solution.”

This means that while change is coming, CIOs are working towards a smooth transition. This is a change in what their role defined them as five or six years back. It looks like taking on the job as CIO now is not limited to imposing the proven systems, glitches and all. While they are not making big moves towards the new coming trends, they are taking note of it and trying them out in smaller capacities. This use of their capability means that the leaderships in IT communities are centralizing in justifying and staying within their budgets (down-times and events such as hacking and ransomwares have cost the IT industry billions in one year alone). While company goals are a big part of a CIO’s main purpose, business continuity, and building meaningful vendor-partnerships have become priorities for the IT heads.

Aside from executive decisions, CIO’s have slowly taken the role of the Chief Digital Officers (or CDOs), making them nearly obsolete. According to CIO Dive, “Companies are starting to realize that the separation of the CIO and the CDO doesn’t scale well. Whether businesses call digital leaders a CIO, CDO or CTO, organizations need to bring digital and IT operations together…” This acknowledges the fact that a CIO is so much more involved in all roles of leadership than originally believed. Naufal Khan, Sr. Partner at McKinsey & Company went on to state, “How many CIOs end up becoming CEOs? That’s where the future could be.”

For more information on AI, cloud solutions, and/or Blockchain (an emerging concept in healthcare), or virtual training, please contact Michael Williams, CEO at Global Healthcare IT for more information. Michael can be reached at

To arrange for a Speaker to talk at your next HIT event, please contact Bettsy Farias on

Additional resources on CIO’s and IT executives and what they do for the healthcare industry can be found here.

NY Times – Cloud Security, HIPAA Compliance Deter Hospitals from Cloud
CSO Online – How to Prove the Value of Business Continuity
Becker’s Hospital Review
CIO Dive