HFMA Poll: CFO and CIO Synergy is Crucial to Successful Initiatives

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By CereCore | Oct 7, 2022

2 minute read EHR/EMR| CereCore News| Blog

CereCore teamed up with HFMA to sponsor a survey uncovering collaboration disparities between the finance and IT department within healthcare organizations. The survey focused on IT decisions and the collaboration between hospital Chief Financial Officers (CFO) and Chief Information Officers (CIO) to identify opportunities where the relationship could improve.

The disparities amongst these departments are important to be aware of because it directly impacts the success of an organization’s digital health strategy.

Survey Results

The 2022 HFMA survey sponsored by CereCore featured 238 healthcare, finance, accounting and revenue cycle executives. Below are the key findings:

  • 23% of CFOs are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the lack or nonexistent collaboration amongst finance and IT.
  • 29% of CFOs need CIOs to provide more information about the expected ROI of IT initiatives.
  • 42% of CFOs say they need CIOs to provide more information about how to prioritize major initiatives, align those initiatives to corporate goals and assess the risk of IT spend.
  • Only 25% of healthcare organizations track results and measure ROI for technology investments.
  • 41% of CFOs need CIOs to provide more information about a long-term strategy and how the IT investment will improve a function, service or product.

These findings show an evident need for meaningful communication between the two roles. Luckily, there are ways to bridge these collaboration gaps and create a better relationship between CFOs and CIOs to generate more effective business initiatives.

Ways to Improve Synergy Between CFOs and CIOs

Collaborate amongst departments

The lack of communication amongst CFOs and CIOs can skew prioritization by prioritizing initiatives based on subjective evidence.

Having collaboration amongst these departments allows for a strategic four-step prioritization process consisting of:

  1. Process
  2. People
  3. Technology
  4. System

With this process in place and input from both teams, you can avoid wasting energy and money on initiatives that will not serve your organization.

Distribute Data

To keep IT in line with business goals, the IT team needs data visibility. Some use cases include IT composing emergency department (ED) analytics in preparation for seasonal increases and assisting with efficiently staffing the ED.

Additionally, sharing data is crucial if an organization is interested in joining an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). By IT having access to information, they can provide historical data and analytics to support the transition to an ACO.

Monitor ROI

IT can assist with developing and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) for areas such as revenue, improvement of quality of care, physician satisfaction, patient attraction, and retention.

Even though ROI is significant, the HFMA survey found that 48.5% of CFOs do not track it over time. Consistent measurement of ROI will provide a foundation to back up future technology investments.

Consider Zero-Based Budgets

Developing a zero-based budget is an effective strategy to bolster alignment between the business unit and IT leaders. A zero-based budget is when the entire IT budget lives within the business units. This is also an effective strategy for cutting out waste by business units only requesting what is needed to improve the company.

Explore Health IT Outsourcing

Outsourcing certain parts of your digital health strategy can better the relationship between the CIO and CFO by providing efficient and cost-effective solutions. It is critical to remain selective when outsourcing an aspect of your organization. The goal is to alleviate the strain from mundane utility IT management, even adding to the work life balance of your team, to allow for more focus on innovation.

By outsourcing just the utility aspect of a function, your organization can retain ownership over that task. Outsourcing alleviates the strain of managing certain facets of the organization’s digital health initiative enabling CIOs to allocate their time to focus on other innovative efforts to meet the organization’s strategic IT goals.

Bridging the gap between CFOs and CIOs enables your organization to have a united front when exploring different ways to improve the organization. By having both departments on the same page, you can ensure that your organization will have a financially strategic plan to remain on the cusp of new technologies.

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