Eric Dickerson, Kaye/Bassman’s Managing Director, Featured in Healthcare Informatics

Kaye/Bassman Academic Medicine‘s Managing Director, Eric Dickerson, Featured in Healthcare Informatics, In the HIT C-Suite, Priorities are Changing—And Titles, Too

Experts attest that traditional CIO and CMIO responsibilities have shifted as new informatics roles take form.

Eric Dickerson
Eric Dickerson

To this end, this shift in focus in the healthcare C-suite has also led to shifts in salaries. A recent survey from Cejka Executive Search in partnership with the American Association for Physician Leadership found that the greatest increase in C-suite compensation since 2013 was 18 percent for physicians in the chief information officer or chief medical information officer roles. The double-digit increase for CMIOs/CIOs is likely due to the roles’ shift in focus—from EHR implementation to ensuring the usability of data to support preventative care at the individual provider level and risk-based accountable care at the enterprise-level, according to the report’s authors. 

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But now, the focus inside healthcare organizational leadership is again shifting, this time to areas around optimization, transformation and innovation. And with that shift is the evolution of the chief informatics officer position, or sometimes called the chief health informatics officer (CHIO), says Hillary Ross, a principal with the Oak Brook, Ill.-based executive search firm Witt/Kieffer. Ross, who specializes in the recruitment of senior-level physicians and other clinicians, and who conducts searches for CMIOs and CHIOs, reiterates Erskine’s thoughts that first generation CMIOs were liaisons and translators between the clinical and technical staff. They were seen as the bridge between the IT department and the clinical community. They facilitated implementation of EHRs, and trained the clinicians on those systems, she says.

To this end, while the technical and clinical expertise is obviously a must for these positions, the “softer skillsets” to bring those diverse groups together that have separate interests are also critical, says Eric Dickerson, managing director and senior practice leader at Kaye/Bassman International, a Plano, Texas-based search firm that acquired Sanford Rose three years ago, now together representing one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. “You need to be able to say that we’re creating something that will be bigger than the sum of its parts. So that means being able to collaborate and work well, and not having the CIO with infrastructure in these key areas and the CMIO in these clinical areas. Instead, you need to bring it all together and cross-pollinate. It can’t happen in siloes,” Dickerson says. 

Eric Dickerson further says that there is not a huge pool of these candidates that have the depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise. As such, when an organization is looking to hire, it will have to assess people and move them through the hiring process much faster than before. “The market is changing; these candidates are in heavy demand,” Tolan says. “If you do a four or five month search, you’ll lose candidates every two to three weeks. You have to set boundaries and keep the search moving.”

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