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Data sharing among healthcare's top obstacles to business-IT alignment

Moving and sharing data is one of the major pain points for those in the health IT space, according to Wendy Cofran, CIO at Century Health Systems Inc. Cofran spoke with SearchCIO at the recent CDM Media CIO Summit in Boston and discussed business-IT alignment in healthcare.

In this video, she explains how sharing healthcare data can aid with making better healthcare choices, but obstacles remain because some physicians refuse to embrace the electronic medical records system and healthcare regulations don't keep pace with evolving technologies.

What business-IT alignment issues have you faced? How have you overcome them?

Some of the regulatory rules that we have to play under, like the HIPAA privacy rule, haven't evolved as fast as technology has.
Wendy CofranCIO, Century Health Systems Inc.

Wendy Cofran: I haven't overcome them yet. The big challenge for us in healthcare right now is how to move and share data. We make life and death decisions on that data. Because we're making clinical decisions based on it, we need to think about how fast we can capture the data and how accurate it is. We're in the post-acute space, so we're also making some of those decisions in the patients' homes. What medications are people on? Are there any drug interactions that they have?

We're good at collecting the data, we're good internally at analyzing the data, but it's still really difficult, in the healthcare space, to share that data.

We work in tandem with physicians all over the state. It's really hard for us to have every physician up on an electronic medical records system. We still have plenty of paper-based physicians, so there's a big challenge there. Some of the regulatory rules that we have to play under, like the HIPAA privacy rule, haven't evolved as fast as technology has. I think, until some of those things happen in tandem, it's going to be really hard to overcome those obstacles.

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Are you in the health IT space? Tell us about the biggest obstacles to business-IT alignment that your organization has overcome.
My biggest challenge is bridging the gap between the CFO and CIO. Their drivers are often independent of each other, not realizing the critical nature of their overall mission.