ViVE 2023: Leading Technology in the New Omnichannel Healthcare Environment

By Shelly Carolan and Nick Giannas

With the evolution of hybrid or “omnichannel” care in healthcare – in which care is delivered across a spectrum from hospitals to retail clinics to digital tools and technologies facilitating home care – chief information officers, chief digital officers and their teams must serve as catalysts for change within their organizations. Acute care is not going away, but how do hospitals and health systems stay relevant and offer new models of care and patient communication that improves patient outcomes while simultaneously reducing costs? How will the roles of the CIO and CDO change?

The jury is still out on these questions but we know the positions are evolving. At the recent ViVE event in Nashville (a collaboration between CHIME and HLTH), we had the honor of hosting a focus group of CIOs and healthcare technology leaders on what the trend toward omnichannel care means to their organizations – and their roles . While the names of our participants will remain confidential, we are happy to share some of the key takeaways they relayed to us. A few things became very clear from the executives we spoke with:

  • All organizations are being impacted by the trend toward omnichannel care. They are seeking to expand their care options and capabilities as well as communication and engagement with patients and families, to improve care quality and broaden access. Technology leaders are feeling this shift as they are being charged with championing strategies for expanding care platforms. They are expected to be much more proactive and visionary than in the past, which has corresponded with greater responsibility and visibility within their organizations.
  • Health systems are at very different points in their transformation journey towards new care delivery models. Some providers are well along on their commitment to providing extensive hospital-at-home care and other non-acute-care services which will provide higher-quality, personalized care while competing for market share with external disruptors (including, for example, retail clinics which have proliferated nationwide). One initiative we heard about was one provider’s joint venture with an independent partner to provide extensive behavioral health services in their coverage area.

    The upshot for healthcare technology leaders is that they will have a key role in supporting the transformation of their organizations now and into the future. Technology executives at organizations that are lagging behind in the ability to diversify care models and modes of patient interaction are feeling pressure to move the needle (and quickly), while executives at leading-edge providers are expected to deliver still more change.

  • Cooperative partnerships with healthcare technology companies such as telehealth organizations are vitally important to improving care and access while reducing costs. Leveraging automation and emerging technologies to expand new care options for patients fosters convenience and value. More than ever, technology executives are in the partnering business, working with vendors and affiliated providers to develop solutions that will benefit all parties involved.
  • The talent shortage in the evolving digital workforce continues to be a serious concern. Members of our focus group admitted that they are looking to upskill staff and tap into remote teams to reach out more broadly for talent. The ability to build out their teams directly impacts their ability to help their organizations evolve. Some organizations’ initiatives are being hampered by talent shortages.

We appreciated and benefited greatly from hearing the challenges and opportunities facing our focus group members. They recognize that they are key players in shaping the future of the entire healthcare industry.