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The CMIO Should Be a Doctor

A hospital’s Chief Medical Information Office (CMIO) should be a physician, says Pam Brier, president and CEO of Maimonides Medical Center, “because nobody knows a doctor’s business like a doctor.”

As a hospital’s information technology (IT) point person, a CMIO needs to be able to persuade physicians and other health care professionals that health information technology (HIT) can help them care for patients.

It is not that Brier believes that non-physician managers can’t talk to doctors. . . After all, she herself is not an M.D. Yet she runs Maimonides, a top-ranked 700- bed teaching hospital in Brooklyn, New York.

On the other hand, Brier is not an MBA either. She has a master’s in Health Administration, which means that, unlike many hospital CEOs who went to graduate school to study business, she understands that an organization that provides health care is not a “business” in any ordinary sense of the word. A hospital is a service organization: its raison d’etre is to meet the needs of a community and its patients.

It is telling that before coming to Maimonides in 1995, Brier spent fifteen years in New York City’s municipal hospital system, and  still says: “Even though I’m not working for government anymore, I still feel that I’m a public servant.”Continue reading…

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