The CIO conundrum

CIO, leadership

Public healthcare services have been in the firing line since the economic crisis took hold, and CIOs in the sector have stoically borne the brunt of cost-cutting while seizing every little opportunity to innovate. Conversations with battle-hardened healthcare IT decision makers reveal the resilience and imagination required to do a good job after almost a decade of austerity.

When the initial cracks that led to the global financial meltdown of 2008 started to appear nearly 10 years ago, public services were the first to feel the impact. So by now, particularly in European countries which felt the greatest economic trauma, hospital CIOs have accumulated almost a decade’s worth of experience in the multiple challenges of sustaining a viable, forward-looking IT strategy amid shrinking budgets and recruitment freezes.

Doing a proper job of this scale and scope in a prolonged age of austerity is certainly an uphill task but, despite the pressures and frustrations, many IT decision makers on the European healthcare landscape have found successful coping mechanisms. In doing so, some of them have even turned financial adversity into an opportunity for innovation – and shifted expectations of IT performance among both clinicians and hospital administrators.

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