Although use of electronic medical-record systems in ambulatory care remains low, in acute care, where most CMIOs work, their institutions have passed the tipping point for IT system adoption, particularly for patient record systems and imaging archival systems, Shaffer said.

In that light, Shaffer said, "The delightful news for job security is we're leaving the era of the hard stuff (selection of clinical IT systems and their implementation) and entering the era for the really hard stuff," (leveraging clinical data to reduce variance in care processes and quality, and achieving "process agility" to be able to react quickly to incorporate new medicines, techniques and research-driven ideas to improve care.)

"Being a chief medical information officer is different than being a physician," one CMIO had said.
Most of the 150 or so physician informaticists at last week's meeting of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems in Ojai, Calif., sympathized with the understatement.

Modern Healthcare Online


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