Dr. Saif Abed describes five reasons why digital health startups should consider adding a Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) to their company’s team.
1. New Product Development Telecom providers, pharma, IT vendors, medical device manufacturers, investors and plenty of other groups are all looking at opportunities to differentiate themselves through the use of digital technology platforms and systems. There’s no limit to the number of tremendously skilled developers and engineers who can create sophisticated systems, but there is a lack of clinicians who have the commercial eye to spot opportunities. That’s a skill you simply can’t replicate without an intimate knowledge of the inner processes of healthcare systems. You want to create a positive user experience? You need someone who’s been on the inside working with you.
2. Stakeholder Mapping There’s more to healthcare than the doctor – there’s the patient relationship. There are also nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, community workers, management and many others for that matter. They all influence the patient journey in different ways and have different issues that bother them. They can also be key decision makers when it comes to technology adoption and ultimately procurement. Having someone who understands the key stakeholders can be the difference between a great product sinking, while it’s still on the drawing board, and one that experiences mass adoption and crosses the chasm.
3. Speaking the Language This one’s pretty straightforward. You want to speak the same language as the people investing in and buying your services. If you’re using techspeak, then you’re probably not going to have much success. A CMIO can make sure your message is clear, powerful and effective for the people who need to hear it.
4. Regional Differences So far the US organizations that have approached me about providing CMIO-type services, in most cases, already have a CMIO. What they’ve been looking for is someone who can provide the benefits I’ve been describing, but in a manner that targets the UK and Europe. Now that is a shrewd move. When you start going global, the range of healthcare systems you have to manage is going to gradually grow and your dealings with stakeholders and regulators will grow more complex. Having a regional CMIO will help you translate your successful services so that they fit the needs of global markets.
5. Trust Whether you’re looking for the next round of investments or are a global organization, you know that people invest in people. Trust is critical and if you’re in healthcare without a clinician on the team, then something’s amiss. You shouldn’t just go ahead and employ any healthcare professional; you want one who’s going to support your strategic development and execution, and who has an eye for commercial success. Select the right person and they’ll help you build the type of trust you need to acquire and retain customers, and ultimately have the positive clinical impact we’re all in this for. These are my reasons why you should be looking for a CMIO to add to your team if you don’t have one already. Whether now is the right time to make that call will vary on a case-by-case basis, but I expect that in the next 18 – 24 months we’ll see more CMIO appointments…and I hope it will have a positive impact for patients. Have a comment?
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