Being a CIO at any organization comes with a lot of stress and responsibility. When it comes to digital health organizations, that stress and responsibility compounds. Not only are CIOs responsible for delivering top-of-the-line innovation at an industry-leading clip, but they must also have a holistic understanding of their organization’s functions to ensure that they align with product development.
Knowing a business inside-out, meeting the market where it is, all while showing the market where it could go — that’s what it takes to be a good CIO. Here’s a look at a few of the many (many) questions digital health CIOs must ask when laying out a successful product roadmap for their organizations.
To deliver rapid-growth technology, CIOs increasingly must think beyond the technical, making decisions based on core business objectives and communicating those decisions to leadership counterparts in a way that highlights the business value of each decision. After all, technical decisions in a technology company impact overall business strategy, and it’s the CIO’s job to make sure everyone is on the same page. To do so, digital health CIOs must ask themselves the following questions about their company’s solutions.
1. Does it increase revenue?
Business is business, and bottom line, digital health products need to sell and generate revenue. For that to happen, digital health products must be designed for the market, requiring digital health CIOs to have a keen understanding of market challenges, competing solutions, and target personas. In a sense, these technical experts must also be business experts in order to deliver a solution that sells.
Unfortunately, this information can’t be accessed by simply opening an encyclopedia or punching a few queries into google. CIOs and their teams must continually conduct market research to develop a product that sells, pacing product development with evolving market needs rather than an assumption of what the market needs.
2. Does it decrease expenses or replace a more expensive alternative?
Beyond market challenges and the competitive landscape, digital health CIOs must also lead their teams in creating products that add value to the marketplace — without breaking the bank. Building technology is expensive, and money doesn’t grow on trees (unless you have some intel that we don’t — in that case make sure you contact us ASAP), which means that CIOs must manage budgets and prioritize projects with surgeon-like precision. These professionals must maximize every dollar spent so that when the product hits the market, its value is undeniable.
Part of finding this sweet spot is deciding which technologies to build and which to buy. What are your team’s core competencies, and how is their time best spent? Expanding core product functionalities, designing new solutions, or augmenting existing products? It’s a lot to think about.
For instance, Higi deploys a network of top-of-the-line Smart Health Stations that reach millions of patients weekly. Higi attempted to maintain each custom integration in-house to make integrations actionable for their customers, which in the past took time away from focusing on their team’s core competencies. To solve this problem, Higi partnered with Bridge Connector to outsource digital health integrations, a call that allowed the team to re-center their focus on their mission: to make the pursuit of health easier and more connected.
3. Does the reward outweigh the risk?
Have you ever created something really cool only to find out that you’re the only one excited about it? Gone are the days of getting a gold star for every assignment we complete. The market is honest, and when money is at stake, there are no participation trophies.
Technology buyers have a finite amount of money to spend and are looking to make the most out of their investments. If a solution is truly to dominate the market, it has to seamlessly solve challenges faced by consumers. A product must offer — and deliver — a strong value proposition, saving consumers time, resources, or labor. Digital health CIOs are responsible for delivering solutions that increase efficiencies, creating a product that makes customers’ processes easier, faster, and better.
Especially skilled CIOs exemplify what it takes to be a good CIO by taking market understanding to the next level by identifying consumer challenges before consumers have identified the challenges themselves — creating entirely new market categories. For instance, prior to Uber, the average consumer had a need: convenient, reliable transportation. Uber showed the market a better way than traditional taxi cabs, leading to long-term market dominance. Digital health CIOs, with their intricate understanding of healthcare and technology, sit in a position to create massively successful technology that truly transforms healthcare.
4. Does it comply with applicable regulations?
One of the greatest blockers digital health technology companies face is the ability to integrate data with EHRs. Patients deserve secure transfer of their data, and businesses are accountable for making that happen by adhering to strict healthcare data security regulations. CIOs must familiarize themselves with these standards and ensure that their technology delivers on these standards without compromising the user experience.
If a CIO lacks a thorough understanding of how to pull off consistent integrations, it can make for a bumpy ride. Rather than getting data from point A to point B, it’s like starting with data at point A, hitting ten red lights, stopping for five pedestrians, and then getting it to point B — while rubbing your belly and patting your head (kidding … sort of). These roadblocks make it difficult to efficiently deliver convenient, “sticky” technology.
A high-five, a round of applause, whatever you want to call it … digital health CIOs deserve some hard-earned recognition. Even more than a pat on the back, CIOs need solutions to make their jobs easier. This includes a predictable integration solution that gives their team time to focus on its core competencies.
Predictable integrations relieve pressure from IT teams, and make product functionality consistent, creating sales and implementation efficiencies. For instance, sales teams depend on CIOs to deliver a consistently integrated product. If integrations aren’t the team’s core focus, delivering integrations can take longer than expected, causing sales cycle delays.
While the title of CIO carries a lot of weight, with the right strategy and resources, the title also carries a lot of opportunity — opportunity for a cross-functional understanding of technology, and most importantly, opportunity to make a big impact on the ground-floor of transforming healthcare. Those willing to walk the line between technology and business truly show what it takes to be a good CIO.