Five trendy healthcare tech titles to watch

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Is your CIO or CTO title enough to impress in the scorching hot healthcare technology industry ? Probably so, but the dynamic nature of the sector has spawned a totally new set of leadership titles that are more relevant to laser-focused industry subsets.

I’m always suspicious of what the half-life is of these new titles and whether they’re more a professional liability than an upgrade. For example, I think of the mixed blessing of being appointed a Chief Digital Officer over the past 5 years.  Yes, it sounded really cool. But rarely were the parameters of the job clearly defined so as avoid arrows from every direction pointing at them. In many cases it became the equivalent of the IRS auditors coming in to check everyone’s digital transformation files. This is also true for Chief Integration Officers, where the unenviable goal of getting everyone to play nice together with their technology platforms is often also an unreachable goal.

Healthcare is not immune to fluffy titles, but my observation is that the newer titles are a reflection of the evaluative KPIs that most healthcare payers and providers have been forced to prioritize.

Here’s a sampling of my favorites:

Director of Denials Management

In the 6 years I’ve spent in healthcare tech, one of the titles that is gathering increasing significance is Denials Management.  Given the complexities of the reimbursement system both at the governmental and the insurance company level, a tremendous number of treatments are denied. We’ve all received these notices in the mail from a provider and know the pain and anguish of trying to rectify the invoices. Denials Management Directors are responsible for “minimizing the refusal” of payers to cover the treatment so that the providers are happy getting paid, and the patients are happy not shelling out money.

Chief Population Health Officer

While population health has become a major focal point in healthcare, the development of C-Level titles for this function has been evolving slowly. Part of the reason is that population health has many definitional subtleties and the professional path to get there varies wildly. In some cases, the title refers to disease or wellness across large populations. More recently the term population health has become synonymous with assuring the value and positive outcomes of care across large populations. Regardless of the definition, the population health leader’s role has gained strength as the emphasis moves from quantity of care to quality of care.

Chief Patient Engagement/Satisfaction Officer

To many outside the healthcare industry there is little understanding of just how competitive the “business” is. There is the stereotypical notion that these professionals are all one big happy Florence Nightingale community with the shared purpose of making people well regardless of where it happens. While part of that is true, the competition for patients and certain procedures is no different than the fierce competition in the automotive or computer business. In this case, the “buying decision” is made based on patient engagement and satisfaction ratings with hospitals and specialized clinics. A C-level executive who can effect change in these ratings can earn millions of incremental dollars in reimbursements for treatments, not to mention grant monies, for the organization.

Informatics Nurses

Nurses have of course always assumed a critical role in healthcare, but as technology has become critical in patient care, a new breed of nurses who not only embrace the technology but evangelize it among their peers has become pivotal to the success of the modern healthcare organization. This is especially important as it relates to the increased prevalence of burnout in the nursing profession. The combination of facing very sick patients over long hours every day and dealing with unstable technology has forced many nurses to leave their profession for a better quality of life. Informatics Nurses have become peer counselors at the patient-facing level to assure their peers that the technology adds value. They also become the CIO’s grassroots ears on the street about minefields in deploying technology at the clinical level.

Chief Experience Officer (CXO)

No longer is the customer experience limited to Disney and shopping malls. Any visit to a modern healthcare facility will tell you that engagement with technology is part of every aspect of the visit starting with admissions and including eating in the dining area and sitting in waiting rooms.  The chief experience officer is responsible for this overall experience of a healthcare organization’s products and services. The CXO is charged with bringing a holistic experience design to the boardroom, and making it an intrinsic part of the organization’s strategy and culture.

RELATED LINKS

Is healthcare IT causing a clinician burnout epidemic?

Clinical and IT collaboration drive value-based care

Technology and the aging of medical practices

Comments

  1. These are interesting developments, thanks for sharing!

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