As the Chief Medical Information Officer role has grown in popularity and in workload, there’s a new role shifting and growing in the background of health care organizations everywhere. What role is that?
The role of associate CMIO.
The role of associate CMIO is kind of like a CMIO, but without a lot of the drawbacks of CMIO. Is it the best job in health IT? We think it just may be.
1. You Get Much of the Same Experience as a CMIO Without the C-Suite Pressure
As you may expect, the role of associate CMIO is similar to the role of CMIO. Both are focused on the effect health care IT has on the business and clinical sides. Both are focused on engaging physicians in the systems that affect their every day workflows. Both are focused on creating a better and safer environment for patients through technology.
So if they have so much in common, then where do they differ?
- The associate CMIO may focus more on managing projects rather than managing strategy
- The associate CMIO practices medicine more frequently than the CMIO, who may not practice at all anymore
- The associate CMIO may be a physician champion looking for more leadership experience before jumping into the c-suite
Because of their different focuses and their different utilization of clinical vs. non-clinical time, the CMIO and associate CMIO have different priorities and responsibilities when tackling health IT challenges.
2. You Don’t Have to Give Up Clinical Work
Because the associate CMIO is “in the trenches” more than CMIO, they’re able to hear and understand the common gripes and issues physicians and providers are struggling with on a daily basis.
While a CMIO may know that their network’s speed in their satellite clinics needs to be improved, an associate CMIO knows what experiencing that slow network is like when there is a patient in the exam room with them. Sure, the CMIO knows this is a problem that needs to be fixed, but answering a few complaint emails is less real than having someone tell them the look of frustration on a patient’s face as the provider has to say it will only be a minute more, our network is acting slow today.
In addition to being “in the trenches”, an associate CMIO’s responsibilities may include:
- Managing physician champions and obtaining feedback from physicians and providers
- Communicating difficulties or complaints physicians are experiencing with the clinical information systems
- Managing implementation and sustainment of new and existing clinical information systems
- Managing projects of interest to the CMIO or CIO that require clinical expertise
- Documenting, analyzing, and re-engineering clinical workflows
- Serving as an advisor to other project managers with non-clinical experience
The associate CMIO helps individuals gain the skills they need to become CMIO but with less pressure to create efficiencies and perform small miracles to improve the satisfaction of overworked and overwhelmed physicians.
3. You Get Valuable Experience in Clinical Informatics
The associate CMIO is a pretty good gig for those looking for experience in clinical informatics. For those looking to apply for the clinical informatics certification having associate CMIO on your resume can give you a huge step above your competition. You will have managed projects, shown leadership and management skills, fixed your share of technical issues, and gotten your feet wet before diving in headfirst.
The good news is that becoming an associate CMIO isn’t as tough as you think it is. Any CIO, CMO, or CMIO will tell you that they don’t have enough time to get around to all of the projects they want to complete.
As someone looking to become an associate CMIO, this is how you’ll get your foot in the door. While you may have to volunteer to manage a small project and juggle your schedule a bit because of it, should you do well management will recognize that your clinical background and interest in IT is a advantageous skill combination for them. One that they would pay a lot of money to find.
But don’t step too much on the toes of the CIO, CMO, or CMIO too fast. Just a warning. Finish your project when you say you will and show some passion, but taking on responsibilities that belong to someone else without permission will make you feel not very welcome very fast.
Once you’ve managed a couple of small projects and have built relationships with key players, go and ask for a title promotion. It should be a small ask in exchange for all of the value you’ve provided.