Thursday, March 24, 2005

Now, doctors DO things with computers

In my writing I've long called for substantive leadership roles and titles for medical informaticists in healthcare, where the attitudes are slowly evolving from the "doctors don't DO things with computers" attitudes (meaning they should be advisors or internal consultants, not leaders) I observed in entering medical informatics. At long ago as 1998 I wrote in a piece called "Ten critical rules about job structure and reporting for applied informatics positions" that:
"Informaticists should aim for positions at the Assistant V.P. level or higher. Director-level (or worse, manager-level) positions often lack real authority and executive presence. Such characteristics are often essential for success in a cross-disciplinary, cross-territorial area such as applied medical informatics. If a position being considered is at the director or manager level, an inquiry as to why it is rated at such a low level may be helpful in understanding the true feelings of the senior executive team about medical informatics leadership."

Today, March 24, 2005, for the very first time (in my personal experience) I've seen a healthcare organization actually offer an informaticist an advanced title: VPMIO.

Position Title: Vice President, Medical Information Officer (M.D.)
Organization Name: (witheld)
Location: (the South)

Job Description: Multi-specialty medical center located on the Gulf of Mexico, in one of the fastest growing areas in the South, seeks an experienced Vice President – Medical Information Officer. This modern facility, with over 400 beds, is in the forefront of modern healthcare delivery with a medical staff comprised of nearly 300 physicians representing more than 40 medical specialties. This hospital offers some of the most advanced information technology and medical services available in the country. The Vice President – Medical Information Officer (VPMIO) is a member of senior management and is responsible for IT strategic planning, medical informatics, and clinical implementation of data, information and knowledge.

This position reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer and frequently works in coordination with the Director of Information Systems. The VPMIO serves as a liaison between the administrative and information technology planning groups. This position is responsible for leading the IT initiatives of the hospital while optimizing use of operating resources and capital financial resources to ensure efficient operation and proper support of clinical and administrative functions. The VPMIO facilitates the overall information management processes of the hospital, as well as the promotion and implementation of these processes, as they relate to the medical staff. The VPMIO must be a visionary and maintain a “hands on” understanding of information technologies.

Required Education: Medical Degree. Board certification in chosen medical field. Preferred Education: Master’s Degree in Medical Informatics, Management and Information Systems, Information Technology, or related field. Required Experience: Five years healthcare experience in an executive leadership role. Preferred Experience: Previous experience in executive IT role—CIO, Director
of Medical Informatics
, etc.

Now here is an organization that knows what it's doing in clinical IT.

-- SS

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