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The nation's healthcare system is undergoing a huge transformation, and IT is at the center of much of the change.
Thousands of hospitals, medical practices, and other healthcare organizations are struggling with a digital transition that's being forced on them by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's HITECH programs, which are providing subsidies to encourage electronic health record adoption but eventually will make it costly for them not to use EHRs. But even for those not happy about the change, it's become increasingly hard to deny that the old paper-based approach is too costly.
Many healthcare IT leaders have already made enormous strides improving healthcare through innovative and early adoption of technology. These are the people profiled in InformationWeek Healthcare's Healthcare CIO 25. Stimulus funds or not, they've moved ahead with e-health initiatives and are leading healthcare to the next stage of the IT revolution.
Several of the Healthcare CIO 25 are stepping up to help others through the transformation to health IT. John Bosco, CIO of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, is leading education forums as part of a $400 million program to get the 9,000 physicians the health system works with connected to an EHR.
EHRs aren't the only focus, however. Personalized medicine is another technology getting attention. Mayo Clinic CIO Abdul Bengali has his eye on getting a person's genome mapped in a day and fitting on a USB key by 2015. That process currently takes a week and $5,000.
Some leaders in the Healthcare CIO 25 are also physicians. Others have roots in technology, medical informatics, business, research, and public service. Some work at small hospitals or clinics, others at large research institutions. A couple don't run IT operations at all, but instead are in charge of government programs that affect many healthcare providers.
The common thread is their passion and dedication to leading their organizations to improve healthcare delivery. Their pioneering work and leadership is providing direction and hope for the transformation of the nation's healthcare system.