The Chief Innovation Officer Role in Healthcare

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Medical facilities that have a Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) have been shown to have a higher profit margin, compared to healthcare organizations that do not have one on staff. An easy explanation of what this role entails can be given in one sentence.

The CIO is responsible to redesign how healthcare is delivered, guiding the staff on the shift to innovative technologies, changing markets, and the new regulations that are created by policymakers.

That being said, the position is not as easy as it seems. Each area of operation has smaller sections tied to them. Every manager knows that the root cause is what actually runs the decision-making processes. A study conducted by the European Center for Strategic Innovation has found that there are several key tasks that the CIO must be proficient with.

  1. Best PracticesThe CIO will need to look through market research reports and ideas. New ideas and innovations from the staff will need to be encouraged. Plans need to be evaluated and if they have any chance of succeeding, they need to be pushed to the next level.
  2. Skills Need Developing– Every member of the team will bring their own sets of knowledge and experience. The CIO will need the ability to evaluate each person, and then help them develop the skills that they have, and the skills that they need. Training and development are key to innovations and moving forward with them. Pushing professionals to continue their education, with an emphasis on management, will help all your team members obtain higher skill levels.
  3. Support New Initiatives– Supporting all staff members with any new ideas and innovative concepts falls in the lap of the CIO. Thinking outside the box must be encouraged. They must be able to nurture new initiatives, and push people to speak up with their thoughts, even if they think that they are nonsense. The smallest thought could turn into the next million-dollar idea.
  4. MarketsThe Chief Innovations Officer will need to be scanning the markets every day. Searching for new ones to break into, or old ones that need to be put out to pasture. The success of the health care location relies on staying ahead of the competition. If a new pandemic arises, a new market will be produced. The location with the fastest response to the crisis will be the one on top.
  5. Funding– Assisting in the development of the yearly budget is one area of management that the CIO will be responsible to help with. It must have money allocated for the latest ideas and innovations that can carry the location into the future. Many managers will not feel that this direction, for their limited funds, should be considered a priority. That is where the Innovation Officer steps in and forces the issue. Just imagine if a hospital refused to give covid-19 treatments to people that were sick, simply because it was not in the budget. Money set aside for new markets, innovative ideas, and emergency situations, must be within the budget to ensure that the hospital still has a positive profit margin.
  6. Pushing ForwardAny innovation that is promising will need to have someone push it forward. The CIO will be the person that will decide to push an idea ahead or to throw it out. That is why the Chief position is at a high-ranking management level. They must be in a position of power to do their jobs effectively.


Pushing new thoughts forward can be a challenging task, depending upon the other members of the management team. Open thinkers will jump at the chance to be at the forefront of innovative technology, and ways to serve the community. Old school managers will want to stick with what they know works. The CIO must be able to convince all the management team that the innovative idea is a promising idea. Reports and research will need to be presented, and in the end, the project will need to be pushed forward and set into motion.


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