Digital health and healthcare organisation strategy

First they were a sole system’s Kerberos that was refractory to any kind of innovation, with a mindset limited to solve administrative, financial tasks.

Digital health and healthcare organisation strategy

Healthcare organization

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Healthcare CIO’s role have been changing in last years.

First they were a sole system’s Kerberos that was refractory to any kind of innovation, with a mindset limited to solve administrative, financial tasks.

Now, they have a more global mindset, watching over the whole organisation, as a CEO’s right arm. They are switching IT systems and services from a cost center to a benefit center. They are conscious that their work could impact in the way they deliver care and how our patients / customers perceived the service’s quality they have been received.  

But the challenge for them are increasing: the next step is fitting IT-related activities to the healthcare organisation strategy. These activities must be fully aligned with the strategy top execs are designing for.


How could they do it?

Aligning IT with the organisation strategy

Let me introduce you to the balanced scorecard concept. The balanced scorecard is a way to align the entire organisation to the strategy and measuring their performance. First described by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton in this article, “The balanced scorecard – Measures that drive performance”, Harvard Business Review January-February 1992 issue. In that time, it was a revolution, because they were the first to say “what you measure is what you get”.

The balanced scorecard is defined as a set of measurements that give top managers a fast, but comprehensive view of the business. And Kaplan and Norton point out that the operational measures drive financial performance.

Let me adapt it for a classical healthcare CIO role.

CIO role


Courtesy of Costaisa Group®

For them, a balanced scorecard does a performance view from four different perspectives: Production & Innovation, People, Customers & Patients and Financial. Then, a healthcare CIO has to focus to get the best performance in each one of this perspectives.

Let me talk as a healthcare CIO.


Production & Innovation

In this perspective we could find EPRs, telemedicine and tele-monitoring systems fully integrated, to avoid islands of information due to isolation of these systems. And we should be focused not only to record the right data, even how to squeeze knowledge from this data, too.

Initiatives like programs to improve e-patients, communities of practice to empower GPs, and data mining systems that could have making deep diving in our data repositories, or big data, or explore the behavioral of citizens of our communities in social networks fit in that area.

Also, all the activities related to innovation and the different ways to do it, even searching “put-to-market” scenarios are considered on it.



Our healthcare professionals. Our most valuable asset. We should empower them improving a collaboration culture, across departments, to share knowledge. We should unlock the incredible power of corporate social networks.

We should improve the visibility of our healthcare professionals helping them to build strong digital identities, through professional networks like LinkedIn, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, even helping and supporting them for the creation of a strong professional blog ecosystem.

It’s the best way to involve the healthcare professionals in this kind of perspective. Without them, only we can get failure.


Customers & patients

We should improve the communication channels between patients and the healthcare organisation. That is, every channel. Social networks It’s a crucial part of this communication scheme.

A strategy of conversation in social networks it’s a necessary first step. Every citizen could ask us from every communication channel and needs to be answered in a very short time. Apps, mobile devices, and even the possibility to make to our professional’s anonymous questions should be considered.



Who pays the party? Because It’s necessary knowing how to finance it. Donations? Corporate responsibility? Government funds? Advertising?

The only limit is our imagination.



CIOs should play a determinant role in their healthcare organizations. They have got a well-trained mind. They are able to deploy paperless scenarios (and not only at clinical level, trust me). They have got the entire healthcare processes in their brain. And the consequences of it should be a better delivering of care, together to a better and collaborative way to deliver it.

Having CIO’s unique view of the whole healthcare organization is the necessary key for success.

This is one of topics to be discussed at the new HIMSS Europe World of Health IT (WoHIT) Conference & Exhibition which will be taking place on 21–22 November 2016 in Barcelona, Spain (


By Rafael Pardo